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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: November ::
Shakespeare as Falstaff
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0746  Tuesday, 6 November 2007

[1] 	From:	Sean B. Palmer <
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	Date:	Thursday, 1 Nov 2007 17:05:45 +0000
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0736 Shakespeare as Falstaff

[2] 	From:	Jack Heller <
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	Date:	Saturday, 3 Nov 2007 15:37:52 -0400 (EDT)
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0736 Shakespeare as Falstaff


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Sean B. Palmer <
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Date:		Thursday, 1 Nov 2007 17:05:45 +0000
Subject: 18.0736 Shakespeare as Falstaff
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0736 Shakespeare as Falstaff

John Briggs <
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 >wrote:

 >Thoughts, anyone?

Given that the part was originally Oldcastle, it would be strange to 
base your claim at all on evidence from the name Falstaff.  Furthermore, 
it's a leading role which most have presumed would call for the leading 
clown, Kemp, though Malone said it was Heminges.

Of course, Falstaff was alive in Henry IV, dead in Henry V, and alive 
"again" as Fastolf in Henry VI which was actually the earliest to be 
written. It may be that Shakespeare played the relatively minor part of 
Fastolf in 1 Henry VI, then.

The combined role in the two parts of Henry IV, however, give Falstaff 
more lines than any other character besides Hamlet, and yet we hear from 
Rowe that "tho' I have inquir'd, I could never meet with any further 
Account of him this way, than that the top of his Performance was the 
Ghost in his own /Hamlet/." The marginalia in the Glasgow first folio 
quite plausibly supports this. Documentary evidence, then, does weigh 
against Shakespeare taking on such a major part himself.

If Kemp were the player, I refer you to James Shaprio's elucidation (in 
his _1599_) of the Kemp <->company dynamic and his theory that 
Shakespeare wanted to segue away from the bawdy characters into the 
melancholy of Jaques and Hamlet, and that only Kemp really prevented him 
from doing this earlier or at least provided the impetus.

Lukewarm is what you got before, and I'd be very surprised if you get 
anything different this time I'm afraid!

-- Sean B. Palmer, http://inamidst.com/sbp/

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Jack Heller <
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Date:		Saturday, 3 Nov 2007 15:37:52 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 18.0736 Shakespeare as Falstaff
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0736 Shakespeare as Falstaff

John Briggs did mean to say John Oldcastle, didn't he?

Is there any early textual evidence for suggestion that Shakespeare 
played Falstaff? We do have evidence some roles, such as when the folio 
of MUCH ADO starts using actors' names for speech designations where we 
would put characters' names. Another problem particularly for this idea 
about Falstaff is that he appears in three plays, once as the lead 
character. Do we ever hear of Shakespeare taking a lead role?

Jack Heller

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