hello Shakespeare readers! new play today! wahoo! i'm super stoked. i am also stoked to go visit my friend today- she had twins! who does that? then on to work for a closing shift. woot. i also just realized that there's less than a month left of Summer. i really need to kick my reading into high gear and make up for some of that lost time in June. i can do it! okay, i know i'm super scattered today, so let's just move on...
act 1, scene 1
King Henry gives a speech to his people, explaining that they would all like to have a time of peace, and that no more civil war will rip England apart. they will all work together against a common enemy- the pagans in the holy lands. Henry asks Westmorland for news regarding their upcoming voyage, but Westmorland delivers very different news: Mortimer has been captured in Wales by Glendower and Hotspur has gotten himself into a battle with the Scots. Henry acknowledges that this probably isn't the best time to leave England, and relays news he has heard of Hotspur's bravery. he also comments, half-jokingly, that he wishes Hotspur were his own son instead of Prince Hal. (see quote below.) the bad news from Hotspur is that he won't give Henry the prisoners. he is keeping them. Westmorland warns Henry that this must be the bad influence of Hotspur's uncle, Worcester. Henry will wait for an explanation From Hotspur.
act 1, scene 2
Prince Hal are hanging out in London, chatting it up. their conversation is a constant battle of wits. they tease each other incessantly, with an undercurrent of: what will happen to Falstaff when Hal becomes king? Poins comes in, asking them to join him on a little adventure. they are going to leave town for a bit to have some adventures in robbery. Hal doesn't want to go. Poins get Falstaff to leave so they can talk in private and reveals the true plan: to play a major trick on Falstaff and the other fools in the group. they will separate themselves from them after they leave town. the group will go through with the robbery, but Poins and Hal will disguise themselves and rob Falstaff and the rest of the group. when they meet up later and ask Falstaff how the robbery went, he and the rest of them will boast about the adventure. calling them on their bluff will be the jest. Prince Hal agrees to join him.
i L-O-V-E that things are going down just as Richard said they would. we have a phrase that we use that totally fits this situation: once a cheater, always a cheater. in this case it'd be, once a committer of treason... weird though how i once felt kinda bad for Richard even though he sucked at his job and now i'm kind of feeling bad for Henry. like i said, Shakespeare is SO good at making you shift your sympathies.
i don't understand a lot of what Hal and Falstaff are saying. i think it would take some great actors for me to really get it. but what i do get is their closeness and the tenuousness of it all. what WILL happen to Falstaff when Hal becomes king? can Hal really do anything to help him? would we blame him if he didn't? i love where the conversation goes around line 50. Shakespeare creates this complicated multi-layer conversation. how much are they just messing around talking about nothing? and how much is it about Falstaff actually having a place once Henry is king? and how much is it about the grim reality that thieves are hung? people like Falstaff are hung by people like Hal. sad and intriguing. must be fun for actors to play with!
predictions so far: Hotspur and Falstaff will meet ugly ends. we shall see!
quote of the day:
'yeah, there thou mak'st me sad, and mak'st me sin
in envy that my lord Northumberland
should be the father to so blest a son--
a son who is the theme of honor's tongue,
amongst a grove the very straightest plant,
who is sweet Fortune's minion and her pride,
whilst i, by looking on the praise of him,
see riot and dishonor stain the brow
of my young Harry. o, that it could be proved
that some night-tripping fairy had exchanged
in cradle clothes our children where they lay,
and called mine Percy, his Plantagenet!'
-King Henry; act 1, scene 1
for tomorrow: the rest of act 1