When I got an Apple TV for Christmas, I demonstrated it for my wife by showing her the climax of Orson Welles’ Chimes At Midnight. I love that scene. I think I even tried to show it to my kids.
This morning in the shower, though, I thought of a question. I suppose I could find this answer with a little more study, but sometimes it’s fun to get people’s impressions. After all, that’s what I love so much about Shakespeare – the humanity he instills in his characters that make us all immediately understand what they’re going through.
So, here’s my question. Does Falstaff die a broken man, convinced that the new king Henry has abandoned him? Or does he understand that “he did what he had to do now that he’s king” speech? Welles’ performance at this moment seems to suggest both. There’s a flash of a smile, a sort of an acknowledging, “My boy has gone farther than I ever imagined he would” expression. Just for a second. After the procession continues, though, we see the broken man who still swears, albeit with a little less energy now, “I will be sent for. You’ll see. He’ll send for me in private.”
Perhaps it is a combination of the two. He’s proud and understands, but at the same time also understands that, no, he won’t be sent for. How am I doing? Close? (I have another Falstaff-related post coming later today. I’m on a Falstaff kick. :))