The Cobham Judgment and the Shaping of Falstaff: A Report About the Misapplication of the Proverbs in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, I


Hongyin ZHAO


Few would now deny that, as the essence of Shakespeare’s dramatic art (Bloom, 1998, p.299), the immortal Falstaff (Goddard, 1951, p.180) in Henry IV constitutes a backhanded picture of an audacious Protestant hero, the 14th-century champion of Wycliffe’s doctrines, Lord Cobham. Shakespeare in effect took the Catholic side in a sectarian dispute about the character of the nobleman burned as a heretic shortly after his friend, the prince of Wales, became Henry V. Based on the trial account of Cohbam, a historic archetypal figure of Falstaff in Henry IV, the thesis serves as an attempt for the characterization of Falstaff and his proverbial misapplication in particular.


Cohbam; Falstaff; Trial; Language Witticism; Proverb; Misapplication

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