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TOPIC: Pistol and Henry V

Pistol and Henry V 7 years 3 months ago #1257

Why does Pistol love Henry V even after Henry is reponsible for Bardolphs death?
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Pistol and Henry V 7 years 3 months ago #1259

The short answer is because he's royalty.
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Pistol and Henry V 7 years 3 months ago #1261

re: "pistol loves henry because he is royalty" - i can see the logic in that idea, and there is a certain truth to "titles" being a general theme in pistol's world. however, there are many in henry v with exalted titles to whom pistol offers no respect at all. i am looking for a deeper more emotionally rooted answer. pistols praise of henry in scene 4.1 is so effusive...

"i kiss his dirtie shoe, and from heart-
string i love the lovely bully"

...that the short answer is not thoroughly sufficicant.

i think it is a good starting place -- but i am looking for a little more. perhaps it has something to do with henry's relationship to falstaff. when pistol sites henry as being "of parents good"
and speaks of the parents in the plural, perhaps he is refering to falstaff as one of his parents. we never meet his mother after all. all we meet are henry v's two fathers; henry iv and falstaff.

discuss unto me...
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Pistol and Henry V 7 years 3 months ago #1265

Well... Pistol is a blustering phony, and though he bridles at the execution of Bardolph he must know what the rules are about plunder in wartime. He's also had an object lesson, from Hal's treatment of Falstaff a couple of years back, that Hal is unlikely to let the old friendships get in the way of a reputation for probity and even-handedness. Perhaps he's not inclined to speak disloyally of the King on the eve of a critical battle; perhaps you could make the argument that the language hardly signals enthusiastic praise ("dirty shoe," "lovely bully"), while maintaining Pistol's name-dropping familiarity and "I-knew-him-when' pose; or, if you want to get real subtle about it, there's always the possibility that he's seeing through Hal's disguise.
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Pistol and Henry V 7 years 3 months ago #1266

while i agree that pistol is blustering, and his attempts to seem tough are phoney, i disagree that he is being dishonest in his 4.1 speech where he praises the king. i also don't think he has seen through hals disguise and i don't sse that indicated in the text. shakespeare always manages to give even his lowliest (and pistol is pretty low) their moments of humanity. chalking his 4.1 praise of the king off to being a lie is plausible but ultimately it doesn't ring true to me. if you're right and pistol is just being a phoney, than there really is not a whole lot more to say about it. that is one take. i am interested in the take that pistol both doesn't recognize hal, and is 100% sincere in this rare moment for him on the night before he very well may die. where might those feelings of affection for hal come from?
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Pistol and Henry V 7 years 3 months ago #1267

It's not so much a lie as it is ambiguous praise. It's the English camp on the eve of a battle...this "Welshman" has just come out of the darkness to meet Pistol...who knows if others are around or listening? Being accused a traitor just before a large battle could be bad for him (putting it mildly), especially since he could end up like Bardolph.

Also, parasites were a common practice in these times. If you were of lowly status (like the Falstaff clan), the best you could do in life to make something of yourself was to latch on to somebody of means in the hope they'd employ you in some fashion. Pistol's got a wife to take care of... (though God knows how he got her!)
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Pistol and Henry V 7 years 3 months ago #1268

i am acting in a production of henry v now and playing pistol. my take (and the directors take) on this moment is that pistol IS being sincere in this 4.1 dialogue between him and the disguised hal. that is what i am working with - and (corny as it sounds) i am trying to make this a multi-dimmensional moment that comes from an honest place. just as your assertion that pistol could be laying it on thick is plausible - so is the possibility that pistol might be being sincere here. that is the directors take, and frankly it feels right to me. that being my given circumstance, i would love some insight as to why pistol might feel a deep affection for hal.
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Pistol and Henry V 7 years 3 months ago #1270

It might be hard to justify the choice of "deep affection"...but an option might be the nostalgia he feels for the "gold ol' days" with Falstaff (in II, 1 they all sit around reminiscing..and it's earnest).

Another option is that Pistol is a racist. He hates the Welsh. And he especially hates Fluellen. Real rascists usually are very forgiving of acts committed "by their own kind" (e.g. the English). This shows in V, 1 (where Henry has obvious passed on Pistol's comments about leeks and pates).
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Pistol and Henry V 7 years 3 months ago #1271

that's an interesting take that pistol is a racist. hadn't thought of that one.
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Pistol and Henry V 7 years 3 months ago #1274

  • akfarrar
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Part of the answer to Pistol lies in the other plays - he is not really a 'part' of the gang - in fact, it isn't even a gang - each acts independently for his own advantage.

Even the 'Merry Wives' has insight into the atrocious looseness of bonding.

Another thing I'd think about is the Elizabethan idea of character - 'All the World's a stage' - life is just a role - there is no deep Freudian motivation (not that modern, western audiences could cope with that).

Royalty - is divine! Whatever Pistol is, he is not a traitor: he is as religious as the next man in his loyalty to his King (Crown and Church).
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