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How Shakespeare Put Politics on the StagePower and Succession in the History Plays$
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Peter Lake

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300222715

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300222715.001.0001

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Oldcastle redivivus

Oldcastle redivivus

(p.417) Chapter 17 Oldcastle redivivus
How Shakespeare Put Politics on the Stage

Peter Lake

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on Sir John Oldcastle, part I, a play that was clearly written to respond to, indeed, in some sense, to refute, Shakespeare's version of Falstaff in his original persona as Sir John Oldcastle. Written by Michael Drayton, Richard Hathaway, Anthony Munday and Robert Wilson, this play is precisely dateable to the autumn of 1599 when in October, Henslowe paid the authors over the odds for a 'new play' about Sir John Oldcastle. Both in the prologue and the text, Oldcastle or Cobham is unequivocally distinguished from Falstaff. In Shakespeare's play, Falstaff is identified with a distinctively puritan style of discourse, here the Falstaff figure is assimilated to a very different set of anticlerical stereotypes.

Keywords:   Sir John Oldcastle, Falstaff, Cobham, anticlerical stereotypes

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