King Henry IV, Part I Essay

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Source: "Falstaff in 1 Henry IV: What's in a Name?" in Shakespeare Quarterly, Vol. 27, No.2, Spring, 1976, pp. 199-200.

[Willson argues that when Shakespeare changed the character of Falstaff's name from Oldcastle to Falstaff (the Elizabethan ancestor of Oldcastle was offended by the use of his family name in this context) he rendered the spelling as he did for specific reasons. Willson goes on to show how Falstaff's name is symbolic of the character's cowardice and gluttony.]

It has been a custom of editors and critics of 1 Henry IV to account for Shakespeare's change of Oldcastle's name to Falstaff by referring to the objection of one of that family's members to the shoddy treatment of his ancestor on the stage. These editors and critics argue that Shakespeare looked back in history to unearth the title of the cowardly knight, Sir John Fastolfe, which he used as a convenient means of...

(read more from the Critical Essay #16 section)

This section contains 755 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the King Henry IV, Part I Study Guide
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