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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: August ::
The late "displeasing play"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1965  Thursday, 9 August 2001

From:           Janie Cheaney <
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Date:           Tuesday, 7 Aug 2001 14:02:34 -0500
Subject:        The late "displeasing play"

This has probably been asked, but I'm new:

At the end of 2 Henry IV, the author speaks a charming epilogue in which
he presents Part Two as compensation for a "displeasing play" that was
recently performed on their stage.  My Bevington edition states that "no
satisfactory identification has ever been made," which I take at face
value.  But what about unsatisfactory identifications?  Does anyone have
a clue, or even a wild speculation?

Shakespeare's apology is so fulsome I wonder if it was meant to cover
not only the previous play (which must have been a real stinker), but
also the present one.  Might he have been seeking to forestall any
audience disappointment over Falstaff's quick comedown?  Just a thought.

JBC

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