Falstaff: "My honest lads, I will tell you what I am about."A 72" waist! Even the large (and admirable) Ambrogio Maestri above on the far right probably doesn't have that for his belt size.
Pistol: "Two yards, and more."
Falstaff: "No quips now, Pistol! Indeed, I am in the waist two yards about; but I am now about no waste; I am in thrift."
It's been a long time since I read this, which is a little odd, since Falstaff has been in my life lately. I'm not much of an opera person--I would like to be better, but it tends to put me to sleep, while the Other Reader stays awake--but I really enjoyed watching a simulcast of the Met production of Verdi's Falstaff. That's the final scene of the production I saw in the video. I actually walked out whistling "Everyone is Fooled." I hadn't really realized until I just reread the play how closely Verdi followed Shakespeare.
And not too long ago I saw Orson Welles' Chimes at Midnight, which includes a bit of Merry Wives, thought not too much, but is basically the tragedy of Falstaff. (Which Merry Wives of Windsor is not. A tragedy, that is.)
Anywho, I'm not an expert. I enjoyed rereading it. A couple of things I noticed: I was pretty surprised how much of the play was prose, especially in the early part. Once the scene changes to elves and fairies (even pretend fairies and elves) in the fifth act, there's more verse.
Also I was a little shocked how difficult the language was, especially in the first act. I mean it's Shakespeare, it's 1600, it's never easy. Still, I've read enough and seen enough plays at this point, I can generally get by. I don't know about you, but I find Shakespeare's quipping much more difficult to follow than his tragic-monologuing, and despite Falstaff's admonition above, there's plenty of quipping in the play. A good actor can make that easier, but I'm quite sure half the first act went right past me. There's a Welsh accent and a French accent, too, just to complicate things.
The Wikipedia article was pretty insistent this is one of Shakespeare's worst plays. Yowch! And the story I'd always heard, that Queen Elizabeth I commissioned the play because she thought Falstaff was such a great character, may not actually be true.
Doesn't matter. I still thought it was pretty funny.
Slender: "...for though I cannot remember what I did when you made me drunk, yet I am not altogether an ass."Oh, yes you are, Slender! But that's OK, you didn't get the girl. (Or more importantly, the girl didn't have to put up with you.)