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Shakespeare Challenges



Challenge:

Sir John Falstaff is one of Shakespeare's greatest comedic characters. He appears in three of Shakespeare's plays. Can you name them?

 

Answer:

A simple way to discover which of Shakespeare's plays include Sir John Falstaff is to review their dramatis personae, or cast of characters.

 

You can do this by looking through copies of Shakespeare's plays in your home or library. The dramatis personae always comes at the very beginning of the play. You may want to search for this same information online. Many Web sites now include the full text of Shakespeare's plays. One good site to use is http://www.theplays.org.

 

Which of Shakespeare's plays do you think would include a character named Sir John Falstaff? The name sounds rather English.

 

If you looked at challenge #1, you know that only one of Shakespeare's comedies was set in England. However, you know from the answer to challenge #2 that all of the histories take place there. So, you may want to explore the histories first.

 

The Web site above lists all of the histories together. Choose a few histories to review. Along the left side of the page, you'll see a "Navigation" search field. Select "Characters" and the dramatis personae for the play you chose will appear. You should find two histories that contain Sir John Falstaff in their dramatis personae.

 

Now, you still need one more play. You may have noticed that Sir John Falstaff is a very funny, or comedic, character. Maybe Falstaff also appears in a comedy. Which play would you review first? You now know that Falstaff is English, so why not try The Merry Wives of Windsor ?

 

You should find that the following three plays include Sir John Falstaff as a character:
Henry IV, Part 1
Henry IV, Part 2
The Merry Wives of Windsor

 

Legend has it that Queen Elizabeth liked the character of Falstaff so much that she asked Shakespeare to write an entire comedy around him. It's a fun idea to think about, even if there is no truth to the tale.

 



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