Say Goodbye to the Tavern Life

Yesterday, we talked some about the boy in Henry the Fifth being, for Hal, the last link to the tavern-life. Just to be clear:

  • Falstaff dies, of a “heart…fracted and corroborate” (II.ii.119)
  • Bardolph is hanged “for robbing a church” (III.vi.98)
  • Nym, too, has been “hanged” (IV.iv.72)
  • The boy is killed (IV.vii.1) by the French
  • Word from England comes that Pistol’s “Doll” (V.i.77) is dead of venereal disease (“malady of France” [V.i.78])

Only Pistol is left alive, intending to turn “bawd… (and to) steal” (V.i.81, 83), but during Henry’s time in the tavern, never was Pistol one of Hal’s mates: he doesn’t appear in The First Part, and in The Second Part, the “swaggering rascal” (2HIV, II.iv.66) exits the tavern before Hal’s entrance, and he never speaks to the newly crowned king in the final scene… when the two meet–when Hal is in disguise the night before Agincourt–Hal has never met Pistol (which makes one wonder why Pistol is so fond of the King).

Pistol’s “Doll” is, by most critics, assumed to be a mistake for “Nell,” Mistress Quickly’s nickname. Doll, remember, is the whore Tearsheet from The Second Part. It would make sense for HER to die of an STD. The implication was always that Mistress Quickly (quick LAY) ran–despite her protestations–a bawdyhouse… but then why would Pistol NOW “turn” (V.i.81) bawd? What if it’s no mistake, and Pistol is referencing Tearsheet? Was he two-timing Quickly?

Is this just another reason why the entire milieu of the tavern as to be rejected by Hal?

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