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Image provided by Cameron Butt

Cameron Butt
Research Assistant

Affiliation with UVic English: Undergraduate Student, B.A. Hons fourth year.

Special Book: Henry IV Part One, Shakespeare

When did you first read this book: Fall 2010

Which sentence from this book has special significance for you, and what does it mean to you?

It’s hard to choose, but I think my favourite part is what follows the stage direction “Falstaff riseth up.” Having feigned death, the fat rogue waddles apprehensively toward Hotspur’s corpse, teasing the audience for suspending their disbelief (onstage, the player is only pretending to be dead): “Zounds, I am afraid of this gunpowder Percy, though he be dead. How if he should counterfeit too, and rise?” Of course, the dead Hotspur cannot rise as Falstaff does; history says so. But Falstaff is free of history, and some wrinkle in the fabric of dramatic characterization has left him privy to that fact. He somehow understands that he exists in a theatrical world, a world “given to lying,” and I really admire that self-consciousness. If all the world’s a stage, which it may very well be, I think Falstaff’s way of acknowledging his own performance is a great model for real people.