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The Trickster’s Inflation

Dives and Lazarus in The Henriad
  • Matthew A. Fike
Chapter
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Abstract

We have observed so far that Jung’s “visionary mode” involves the conveyance of unconscious content through dream, imagination, vision, and myth; but myth is clearly not limited to classical material such as Jessica and Lorenzo’s love duet. Biblical myth functions the same way, and it is to Falstaff’s allusions to a particular Bible passage that we now turn in connection with two key concepts. Whereas, in chapter 2, a brief mention of Jungian inflation arises from an analysis of classical myth in The Merchant of Venice, the present chapter examines in detail Jung’s statements on inflation, along with those on the trickster, in order to illuminate Falstaff’s frequent allusions in The Henriad to the story of Dives and Lazarus. The assumption here—that Falstaff himself is a trickster—is argued by Edith Kern in “Falstaff—A Trickster Figure”:

Falstaff, rather than merely serving as the scapegoat upon whose back are loaded the sins of Prince Hal, acquires instead the ambivalence of the American-Indian Trickster, redeeming and redeemed, martyred and ultimately ascending into the heavens. The subtle biblical allusions [that Roy] Battenhouse discovered and uncovered within the play fit with such ease the trickster pattern in all its ramifications that it would be wrong to ignore its theatrical and carnivalesque tradition that was known to Shakespeare as well. We should not see Falstaff exclusively, therefore, in the noble light that Battenhouse sheds upon him.1

Keywords

Psychological Possession Bible Passage Classical Myth Henry Versus Christian Spirit 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Edith Kern, “Falstaff—A Trickster Figure,” Upstart Crow 5 (1984): 137. For Battenhouse, see below, note 5.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    For a similar statement, see James P. Driscoll, Identity in Shakespearean Drama (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 1983), 36: “Falstaff embodies freedom, spontaneity, and the life force in all its insuppressible reality.”Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Roy Battenhouse, “Falstaff as Parodist and Perhaps Holy Fool,” PMLA 90 (1975): 32, 40;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Harold Bloom, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human (New York: Rverhead Books, 1998), 278–318, esp. 281 and 306; Robert Hapgood, “Falstaff’s Vocation,” Shakespeare Quarterly 16 (1965): 94; and Ralph Berry, Shakespeare and Social Class (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International, 1988), 82.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    Paul Radin, The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology (New York: Philosophical Library, 1956). Jung’s essay appears on 195–211, Kerényi’s on 173–91.Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    Sitansu Maitra, Psychological Realism and Archetypes: The Trickster in Shakespeare (Calcutta: Bookland Private, 1967), 122. I like very much Maitra’s statement that “the trickster is the shadow of the collective unconscious” (95).Google Scholar
  7. 12.
    Alex Aronson, Psyche & Symbol in Shakespeare (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1972), 104–5.Google Scholar
  8. 13.
    Daryl Sharp, C. G. Jung Lexicon: A Primer of Terms & Concepts (Toronto: Inner City Books, 1991), 139.Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    H. R. Coursen, The Compensatory Psyche: A Jungian Approach to Shakespeare (New York: University Press of America, 1986), 55.Google Scholar
  10. 22.
    Leon Morris, The Gospel According to St. Luke: An Introduction and Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974), 254–55.Google Scholar
  11. 23.
    Roy Battenhouse, Shakespeare’s Christian Dimension: An Anthology of Commentary (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994), 299; and “Falstaff as Parodist,” 33.Google Scholar
  12. 24.
    Harry Morris, Last Things in Shakespeare (Tallahassee: Florida State University Press, 1985), 283–85.Google Scholar
  13. 26.
    Shirley Guthrie, Christian Doctrine, rev. ed. (Louisville, KY: Westminister/ Knox Press, 1994), 284.Google Scholar
  14. 27.
    Joel B. Green, The Gospel of Luke (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1997), 605–6;Google Scholar
  15. Joachim Jeremias, The Parables of Jesus, rev. 2nd ed. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1972), 183;Google Scholar
  16. and Eamon Duffy, “On the Brink of Oblivion,” The New York Review of Books 49.9 (2002): 42–43.Google Scholar
  17. 29.
    Geoffrey Chaucer, “The Parson’s Tale,” in The Riverside Chaucer, ed. Larry D. Benson, 3rd ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987), 254–55.Google Scholar
  18. 32.
    Jeremias, The Parables of Jesus, 185. See also Philip Francis Esler, Community and Gospel in Luke-Acts: The Social and Political Motivations of Lucan Theology (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 198;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. and J. Duncan M. Derrett, “Fresh Light on St Luke XVI,” New Testament Studies 7 (1961): 373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. For a contrasting view see David L. Mealand, Poverty and Expectation in the Gospels (London: SPCK, 1980), 48.Google Scholar
  21. 33.
    Dan De Quille, Dives and Lazarus: Their Wanderings and Adventures in the Infernal Regions, ed. Lawrence I. Berkove (Ann Arbor, MI: Ardis Publishing, 1988), 77. Berkove’s introduction suggests that De Quille worked on the novel between 1890 and 1893 (37). De Quille places Falstaff in hell along with Gulliver, Sinbad, and the Ancient Mariner (98). The implication is that Falstaff is here because he lied about killing Hotspur.Google Scholar
  22. 35.
    K. Grobel, “‘ … Whose Name Was Neves,’” New Testament Studies 10 (1964): 381. Grobel’s point is that the Egyptian word nineve combines nine (nothing) and ove (one or someone), hence Nobody.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 36.
    Howard I. Marshall, The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Exeter, UK: Paternoster Press, 1978), 634–35; Green, The Gospel of Luke, 606;Google Scholar
  24. and Raymond F. Collins, “Lazarus,” in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman et al., 6 vols. (New York: Doubleday and Company, 1992), 4:265.Google Scholar
  25. 40.
    E. Pearlman, William Shakespeare: The History Plays (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1992), 113;Google Scholar
  26. J. W. Fortescue, “The Soldier,” in Shakespeare’s England: An Account of the Life and Manners of his Age (1916), 2 vols. (Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 1962), 1:112;Google Scholar
  27. and J. Dover Wilson, The Fortunes of Falstaff (Cambridge, UK: University Press, 1943), 84–85.Google Scholar
  28. 43.
    Frederick Turner, Shakespeare’s Twenty-first-century Economics: The Morality of Love and Money (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 112. The possibility that Falstaff is in Avalon connects with the line from “Sir Launcelot du Lac” and the subsequent reference to the “Nine Worthies,” one of whom is Arthur (2 Henry IV 2.4.33, 218). In addition, John Shaw-cross suggests that “though Dame Quickly’s version of Abraham’s bosom is dismissed by critics as a part of her confusions, Shakespeare the artist knew what he was doing: Falstaff has gone where he always has been, to the medieval world, to Arthur, the epitome of the medieval vertical socio-political structure” (“Concepts of Medievalism: The Case of Falstaff,” CEA Critic 47.1–2 [1984]: 37).Google Scholar
  29. 45.
    John Martin Creed, The Gospel According to St. Luke: The Greek Text with Introduction, Notes, and Indices (London: Macmillan Publishers, 1930), 212.Google Scholar
  30. 46.
    Green, The Gospel of Luke, 607; Mchael D. Goulder, Luke: A New Paradigm, 2 vols. (Worcester, UK: Sheffield Academic Press, 1989), 2:638; and Marshall, The Gospel of Luke, 633.Google Scholar
  31. 49.
    Kathrine Koller, “Falstaff and the Art of Dying,” Modern Language Notes 60 (1945): 385–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 50.
    Christopher Baker, “The Christian Context of Falstaff’s ‘Finer End,’” Explorations in Renaissance Culture 12 (1986): 70–71, 81, and 83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 57.
    Francis G. Fike, “Visible Voids: Reading and the Art of Negative Witness,” Reformed Review 47 (1993): 39, n. 6.Google Scholar

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© Matthew A. Fike 2009

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  • Matthew A. Fike

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