Falstaff: Prophet of Covenant

  • Mary Jo Kietzman


Falstaff has recently been read through the history of Puritan politics and the Marprelate Controversy. Kietzman contributes to an understanding of Falstaff as Puritan by showing how the biblical role of prophet as social critic informs his part in the Henry plays. Falstaff’s “job,” like that of the prophets, is to educate kings by deploying the communitarian values of fellowship and love. Shakespeare plots the Lancastrian succession through the history of the first two biblical kings, Saul and David. As Henry (Saul) sickens and dies, Hal rises through the lessons in covenant ethics learned from Falstaff. The test is whether he will be a truly covenantal monarch by wrangling with his men and repenting, like David, for the sin of “killing” his friend, Falstaff.


Falstaff Prophets Marprelate Puritan Bardolph 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Jo Kietzman
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Michigan–FlintFlintUSA

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