The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2440  Monday, 29 December 2003

From:           David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 27 Dec 2003 17:42:24 -0500
Subject: 14.2408 Upward Mobility
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2408 Upward Mobility

"looking at the play purely from a structural standpoint, Robert
Faulconbridge is the first to address the young Henry as the future
monarch.  But perhaps just as importantly, he has the final lines of the
play, which is always a significant indicator of power."

As the one who initially proposed Faulconbridge as an instance of upward
mobility, I should add as a historical footnote that in the documented
world of C13 England the real riser was the serviceable Hubert de Burgh,
from his early marriage to a daughter of the Earl of Devon a more
socially and politically significant personage than the one represented
in Shakespeare's play, but still a man who from relatively modest
beginnings went on to become the Great Justiciar, "second in power only
to the king," according to Hutchinson's Encyclopedia, immensely wealthy
and authoritative under two rulers, until one of that impulsive monarch
Henry III's impulses brought his de facto prime minister down (though
not so low as Wolsey).  A fine ride on Fortuna's wheel.  His military
and political accomplishments in the later years of John's reign -
resistance to the Papacy, defense of the kingdom against France, etc. -
get transferred to the essentially fictitious Faulconbridge in the play;
if anybody on the list knows of scholarship that investigates this
transfer I'd welcome the references.

David Evett

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