People question most of all his courage.
I'm here to say that Falstaff had great courage. It's not on display or bandied about in a threatening manner as often occurs with other males. It's held in great reserve.
However, whenever a man would try to assault me Falstaff was right there defending me. He had the man by his arm and was ready to tear him apart.
This part of King Henry IV leaves a lot of people upset.
"He cares not
what mischief he does, if his weapon be out. He will foin [thrust] like any
devil, he will spare neither man, woman, nor child."
[ King Henry IV Part II Act II Scene I ]
You don't think I would ever approve of and promote a bisexual man who attacked women and molested children, do you? People have written lots of pages and articles about Falstaff but not about his unbridled lust! And what upsets me is that doesn't bother anyone. What is everybody thinking? Is everyone insane or do they think that my endorsement of this obvious madman is offset by the value of my plays?
What makes me more upset is that people often praise Falstaff in the hundreds of pages that have been written about him and they always ignore this key information. No wonder people often get away with molesting children.
I have to fault those people who have praise for Falstaff on other things the characters say. Many well meaning persons make him sound as if he was a great person. He was good but he was never great and there was no way all the praise in the world could have made him great and besides all that written praise could never have changed Falstaff from a dog into a man.
Falstaff was really affectionate. And sure he would try to hump just about anyone's leg when he got excited but isn't that pretty typical of any overly friendly male dog? In Falstaff's case it wasn't exactly the leg that he was attempting to hump.
Falstaff was a giant dog and so a warning had to be given to every person that saw the plays. Whenever people saw Falstaff in the plays they liked him and they would often want to play with him afterwards. So it was very important to warn them beforehand of this aspect of his overly affectionate nature. If they pet him too much he might get too affectionate and be all over them with more affection of the kind they would never want.
It's pretty obvious that it could end up with someone getting injured. Of special concern were small children so the warning was not a joke, it was a necessity. I couldn't get him to stop trying either if there was a bitch in heat nearby. By the way Falstaff was nearly four feet tall at the shoulder and he never weighed much less than 250 pounds and it was all solid muscle.
He was a pure bred battle dog. Actually there were many dogs even bigger than Falstaff.
Like this giant in a 15th century painting. This was not an exaggeration of the size of the dogs that were raised. As you can see there are normal size dogs in this picture so you know that the painter was a typical painter of realism and not a person who exaggerated characters in his paintings like some later painters did.
You might think that for their roles in battle that these dogs were mean but they were breed to be exactly the opposite. Meaning they were overly affectionate. What people don't understand or have forgotten is this. Forget meanness in a dog meant for battle. The more affectionate and friendly a dog is, the more protective that dog is of his owners. The more protective a dog is, the more he is willing to obey, to protect and to fight to the end for his owners. Just like most guys.
These war dogs did most of the actual fighting in the 1300-1400's though you have not been told this as it detracts from the fantasy of the all powerful knight. These dogs were often responsible for up to two thirds of the actual kills in battles. One of them could bring down a horse by himself simply by locking on to it's neck. If the dog did not bring the horse to the ground he would choke it to death. They were also famous for leaping high and knocking knights right off their horses leaving them helplessly flat on the ground weighed down by their heavy armor. So much for the myth of the all powerful knight.
The large dogs were so big that they didn't live very long and most like Falstaff suffered from arthritis.
When he died we gave Falstaff a eulogy in King Henry V Act II Scene III but not for his greatness. He had become such a fixture in every single play so it was necessary to explain his absence upon his demise.
He was a regular. He would come out in his Spanish hat with a feather in it looking like the Don Juan of dogs he was and stand patiently while someone read his lines.
It all started when dogs would wander on stage as they are want to do on any open stage. Probably half the people in the audience wanted to actually kill those dogs so the actors started ad-libbing new lines like, 'There is my very faithful hunting dog' when it was an old mother dog with her teats hanging almost to the ground, with four little pups following along behind her.
Then the stage hands would chase the dogs off and the show would go on. It was a humorous interlude that everybody enjoyed and it saved many a dog's life. Then my dog, Falstaff, took the role of the stage hands because he was friends with all dogs everywhere, except two. After awhile he would just walk across the stage and the dogs would follow him off. The people liked that even better. Then we got him the hat so he would officially be one of us actors. Then after awhile we got gates at the theater so the dogs couldn't get on the stage anymore but people missed the 'dog interlude' so Falstaff took over all the dog roles and I wrote him into the plays as that irascible character that many people have grown to love.
V: ACT II, SCENE III.
[THIS WAS FALSTAFF'S EULOGY]
London. Before a tavern.Enter PISTOL, Hostess, NYM, BARDOLPH, and Boy
Hostess Prithee, honey-sweet husband, let me bring thee to Staines.
PISTOL No; for my manly heart doth yearn.
BARDOLPH Would I were with him, wheresome'er
he is, either in
Hostess Nay, sure, he's not in hell: he's in Arthur's bosom, if ever man went to Arthur's bosom. A' made a finer end and went away an it had been any christom child; a' parted even just between twelve and one, even at the turning o' the tide: for after saw him fumble with the sheets and play with flowers and smile upon his fingers' ends, I knew there was but one way; for his nose was as sharp as a pen, and a' babbled of green fields. 'How now, sir John!' quoth I 'what, man! be o' good cheer.' So a' cried out 'God, God, God!' three or four times. Now I, to comfort him, bid him a' should not think of God; I hoped there was no need to trouble himself with any such thoughts yet. So a' bade me lay more clothes on his feet: I put my hand into the bed and felt them, and they were as cold as any stone; then I felt to his knees, and they were as cold as any stone, and so upward and upward, and all was as cold as any stone.
NYM They say he cried out of sack.
Hostess Ay, that a' did.
BARDOLPH And of women.
Hostess Nay, that a' did not.
Boy Yes, that a' did; and said they were devils
Hostess A' could never abide carnation; 'twas a colour he never liked.
Hostess A' did in some sort, indeed, handle women; but then he was rheumatic, and talked of the whore of Babylon.
Boy Do you not remember, a' saw a flea stick upon Bardolph's nose, and a' said it was a black soul burning in hell-fire?
BARDOLPH Well, the fuel is gone that maintained that fire:that's all the riches I got in his service.
The real play I guess actually begins here.
NYM Shall we shog? the king will be gone from Southampton.
PISTOL Come, let's away. My love, give me thy lips. Look to my chattels and my movables: Let senses rule; the word is 'Pitch and Pay:' Trust none; For oaths are straws, men's faiths are wafer-cakes, And hold-fast is the only dog, my duck: Therefore, Caveto be thy counsellor. Go, clear thy crystals. Yoke-fellows in arms, Let us to France; like horse-leeches, my boys, To suck, to suck, the very blood to suck!
BOY And that's but unwholesome food they say.
PISTOL Touch her soft mouth, and march.
BARDOLPH Farewell, hostess.
NYM I cannot kiss, that is the humour of it; but, adieu.
PISTOL Let housewifery appear: keep close, I thee command.
Hostess Farewell; adieu.
When Falstaff died he took those parts with him and we removed his character from the plays but the audience missed him a lot and they would yell out for him in the middle of the performances. Then we would have to stop in the middle of the scene and explain to that one person in an audience of 3,000 that he had died. Then another person might want to know how he died and by the time we explained it and answered all their questions about his demise the performance had also died. Then everybody would think about him being dead for the rest of the performance and we would get really bad reviews.
Then people would ask the same questions all over again at the next performance.
Wonderful sweet dead Falstaff was holding our entire company hostage so we had to do something and that 'we' meant 'me'.
Since those who expected Falstaff to show up had seen all the other plays, they were usually the first people to see the new plays. So in the next play I wrote, which was King Henry V, I put in a eulogy for Falstaff (it was for the dog and not the character) so the audience would stop holding us hostage.
Read the eulogy on the right. It's a very strange one isn't it? Since it is for a dog it has got to be the strangest eulogy that has ever been written for a play or in fact the most unusual anywhere at any time. It sets at least two world records.
You can read how it appears in the context of the play King Henry V
as one easily removable page in the middle of the play. I made the eulogy exactly one page long so it could be removed after a few shows. You will also notice that the Eulogy stands by itself and has no bearing at all on the play itself. But most of all notice that all the actors are different than those in the rest of the play. This one page is absolutely pointless, useless and adds nothing to the play itself or the plot except sadness. It's separate from the play and in fact the play does far better with it removed. For these reasons you can surmise that it had to be a real eulogy about a real individual.
Well at least this shows that you got one of the first copies of the play. We were missing two copies of it and we looked for those copies for days. So this is where one of them ended up.
One line was changed by a much later book publisher named Louis Theobald. In footnotes on page 1471 of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare'. It tries to explain the change thus: The text is corrupt at this point, reading "a table of green fields" and was corrected by the eighteenth-century editor Louis Theobald in a famous emendation.'
I wrote it originally and it should have remained, 'a table of green fields' I read the changed version 'a babbled of green fields' on the internet and when I got to the word 'babbled' I knew it was wrong. so I immediately stopped and actually made a special trip to the local library where I located that old book of the plays which explains that I was right, it was changed. Who dared to do that dastardly deed?
Imagine telling people in an audience that a characters best attributes were that his 'nose was as sharp as a pen' and that when he was dying he 'babbled' of green fields. Falstaff never babbled in his life!(Sticking up for him in death is the least I could do for Falstaff.)
Here is what happened. As Falstaff lay dying we hand picked and carried in arm loads of flowers and grasses. Then we moved two tables together and made those tables a green field. Then we placed old Falstaff, faithful to the end, in the middle of that green field. Because he was my dog logically I often played the part of 'Hostess'.
By the way, who the f... is Louis Theobald? And what Frenchman would be so precocious as to change my words? I know the English persons answer to my last question is that 'the French are all that precocious'. They say in the 'Complete Works' that the text was corrupt so he changed it (and now you know the play was fine just the way it before Theobald so rudely interfered).
Plays sometimes got too worn to read so an editor might try to correct the words. He may look and see what words the author used often which might work. Then he would substitute it in the hopes that he is using the right word.
Are you aware of what great logic this man 'Theobald' used?
He simply went down and stopped at the first sexual word like most men would. When he saw the word 'Whore' that was as far as he got and so he changed the noun 'Babylon' into the verb 'babbled'. Then he used 'babbled' in place of the already correct word which was 'table'. Men I swear, you can't live with them but somebody has to do the hard work.
The 'whore of Babylon' was the name I was give by no lesser than the queen herself at a ceremony which came gossip about my supposed days of whoring in the bars and screaming from tabletops..
The next thing I would like to point out is how many millions of lives could have been saved if people had listened to this part of the play which I declared as loud as I could and as often as I could. I was the first person to announce that the Plague was mainly carried by fleas when most everyone else thought it was air borne, hence the sentence in which I castigate the evilness of that specific flea.
Do you not remember, a' saw a flea stick upon Bardolph's nose, and a' said it was a black soul burning in hell-fire?
This was an attempt to get people to recognize what my dog had proved when he died. While all the other dogs around died of the plague Falstaff was left alive and well. The only difference between Falstaff and all the other dogs was the oil that I put on him every two days to repulse the fleas so that he would not scratch fleas at night and keep me awake.
Then when all other dogs died (with all the other mammals including many farm animals) the fleas were merciless hungry, oil or no oil. Added to that Falstaff's domain suddenly spread for miles so he would not come home for a days at a time. By then he had fleas. Since the hair was thinnest on his nose that is where all the fleas were and I think that is where the initial infection spread from.
Then he got the plague and died. I realized that the plague had been given to him by a flea bite.
The problem some people have with accepting that these out breaks were bubonic plague is that there are no accounts of massive rat and other animals dying.
Dr. Wood said: "There are no reports of dead rats in the streets in the 1300s of the sort common in more recent epidemics when we know bubonic plague was the causative agent."Here
Strangely it ties in with burning of witches. People
don't recognize the fact that 99% of the witches who were burned were
thought to be causing the plague. It's as simple as looking at the
dates of the ~half million people who were burned to death in Europe. They were killed
when the plague outbreaks occurred. It's the wrong time to murder
large numbers of your country's population when it has already been
three times decimated (10% loss= decimate and since 30% died from the
plague...) unless they caused the death of those 30%. Witches curses
were thought to have caused the plague. Many cities would suspect the
plague was caused by all the witches in a neighboring city (always a
richer neighbor) and then go kill them all for harboring witches. Then they would take their riches. A few
cities of over 10,000 were razed. The entire population and
the cities may have disappeared off the map.
How do witch hunts tie in with accounts that state nothing about massive deaths of rats and other animals? It was thought that if you wrote or talked about rats and other animals dying then your voice created a curse (or at least contributed to the curse which others had issued) and everyone knew that the plague was caused by witches curses. Just saying out loud 'All the rats died' could likely get you burned at the stake (because the next obvious step were people). If you repeated those same words three times in front of the village priest it was called an incantation and you were as good as dead. Saying it once and crossing your eyes made death just as certain. Or say it once and walk backwards would do you in too. Without those physical add-ons three times was usually the minimum to establish your guilt at a typical witchcraft trial such as in Germany. If you wrote those same words then it was like saying it thousands of times since the written word persisted, unlike the spoken word which disappears with the wind and must be repeated to have the same effect.
Would you write down that a single rat had died if you would be burned to death for it? No, and neither did anybody else. It's as simple as that.
However, the bard knew that the plague was somehow transmitted by fleas. It was called a class disease since more poor people caught it than rich people. That caused social injustices but I saw it as proof that fleas caused the plague. The poor often lived with rats running around them while the rich hired the poor to kill the rats in their homes and dispose of the bodies which is when the fleas would jump to them. The poor sat on the floor and the rich sat up high where less fleas could get to them. The poor slept on the floor and if they had bedding they still slept on the floor but the bedding was that of wealthy people who had thrown it out when it got too many fleas in spite of it having been up high in a bed frame. There was a third reason I knew the plague was caused by fleas but I can't recall it yet.
Think of the hundreds of millions of lives that could have been saved if the scientists had heeded the information in the play.
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