Worried parent

Just had to correct a line in Sprog the Younger’s English essay about Hal killing Falstaff as the final step on his character journey from reprobate to kingly dignity.

“He didn’t actually kill Falstaff, you know.”

“We haven’t read the sequel play yet, but our teacher said that he did…”

“Really? Other characters talk about Falstaff’s death and claim that he died of a broken heart after Hal (as newly crowned King) rejects him, but nowhere in the text do we see Hal deliberately kill Falstaff.”


“Let’s change that word “kill” to “reject”, hm?

“Yeah, I think so.”

“Tell me the next time your teacher talks about characters in something you haven’t read yet for yourself, OK?”

Categories: arts & entertainment, education


8 replies

  1. Lucky Sprog the Younger’s mum knows so much about the text.

  2. Yes, I do happen to know these plays reasonably well, so I spotted that howler immediately. It just makes me wonder how many other howlers in other subjects are flying under the radar.

  3. Oh dear. It makes you want to start checking everything else they’re being told doesn’t it?

  4. Goodness. And it’s rather a bawdy death, too, by Quickly’s account. I’m sure that that won’t come up.
    I’m just glad that Falstaff is getting attention in school. I never had the luxury.

  5. Owww oww ouch.
    In the interests of giving the teacher the benefit of the doubt, I have had students recall ‘facts’ that were the precise opposite of what I said in the lecture. I’ve had a student write that Shakespeare’s actors read from their scripts on stage, and a tutor report back that none of her students new what absurdist theatre was, they just remembered the bit where I said “absurdism wasn’t a distinct movement like the others we’ve looked at so I’m going to give you a different kind of definition…” and nothing after that. Sometimes you talk and what comes out of the mouth just ain’t what arrives at the ears.

    • orlando, I raised the possibility that perhaps some less than perfectly careful listening and/or jumping to conclusions about what perhaps something more like “being responsible for his death” meant might have happened, and the likelihood that there might have been a six of poor teacher phrasing and a half dozen of poor pupil understanding was acknowledged.
      At this point I suggested that in general, whenever anybody tells one anything that makes one exclaim “Really!?! How extraordinary! I never would have expected that!” – well, this is a good time to remember that Google Is One’s Friend, and then pointed out that I fact-check stuff that gives me that reaction All The Time.

  6. Poor Falstaff. Always the character actor, never the lead.

  7. @TDD: Except for Harold Bloom. Projection, much.

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