Thursday, January 25, 2007

Two works by famous authors about dirty old men are "The Merry Wives of Windsor" by William Shakespeare and "Death in Venice" by Thomas Mann.

The point of "The Merry Wives of Windsor" is making Falstaff look bad, the play does the job.

The legend is that Queen Elizabeth I told Shakespeare that she wanted him to write a play about Falstaff in love. Falstaff is a lovable, sort of, character you like to watch on stage but wouldn't want to know personally in Shakespeare's plays "Henry IV, Part 1" and Henry IV Part 2"

The play shows a good way for an artist to comply with a specific request from a powerful person.

Falstaff is too self-centered to be in love. The play is about him seeing, correctly that two married women in the town of Windsor, have easy use of their husbands' comfortable amounts of money.

His plan is to make love to them both and somehow cleverly get his hands on that money.

One mistake is his thinking that they wouldn't see through his intentions. They do, immediately, and chat about him since they are friends.

His other mistake is assuming automatically that they would find him sexally attractive, the dirty old man error.

The other plays have established him as fat and not young. They think he is a repellant lard bucket and plan ways to humiliate him. Their plans work.

Shakespeare did not give his sovereign a play about Falstaff in love. He gave her a funny play about a guy who thinks he can easily dupe a couple of women just by deciding to. I wonder if Elizabeth the First ever had any contact with men who assumed a woman they were dealing with was an idiot who they could fool easily. Could be.

She wasn't in a position to foil such men with this tone of comeuppance. One of the wives invited Falstaff for sex, said her