If You’re Going to Be a Rogue, at Least Be Clever

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Falstaff: I have writ me here a letter to her; and here another to Page’s wife, who even now gave me good eyes too, examined my parts with most judicious oeillades.  Sometimes the beam of her view gilded my foot, sometimes my portly belly.

Pistol: [Aside] Then did the sun on the dunghill shine (Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor I.iii.53-8).


Talk about lack of intelligence.  I mean if you are going to try to come up with a plot to get money from to married women through your “appealing” looks, you should at least be clever.  Instead, Falstaff sends the same love letter to both Mrs. Ford and Mrs. Page.  He mistakenly believes he is so irresistible that all the girls want him, while at the same time he admits he has a “portly belly.”  Pistol’s aside was rather amusing.  He viewed Mrs. Page as the sun, and Falstaff as a dunghill.  If Falstaff and his followers just had some loyalty to each other, instead of just being such rogues, Falstaff would probably not get into the trouble I am betting is ahead. 


Erica Gearhart said:

I also noticed that he sent the same love letter to Mrs. Ford and Mrs. Page. THe first thing I thought was what if they are friends and show each other the letters? He is obviously not that bright.

Jessie Farine said:

Another factor in his not being smart is that he's writing his intentions on paper. He's literally leaving a paper trail right back to him. I don't know what sort of trouble he could get into (one can only imagine), but everyone will have proof on him. And he's leaving these tasks up to other people, and we all know that people can be very unreliable. He's setting himself up for a big fall.

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