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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Intro

Hot blooded

I'm Falstaff. I'm a larger-than-life kind of guy who's always looking for a good time. I'll even lie, cheat, and steal to get a pile of cash or a good drink. And you know what I think?

The Windsor bell hath struck twelve; the minute
draws on. Now, the hot-blooded gods assist me!
Remember, Jove, thou wast a bull for thy Europa; love
set on thy horns. O powerful love! that, in some
respects, makes a beast a man, in some other, a man
a beast. You were also, Jupiter, a swan for the love
of Leda. O omnipotent Love! how near the god drew
to the complexion of a goose! A fault done first in
the form of a beast. O Jove, a beastly fault! And
then another fault in the semblance of a fowl; think
on 't, Jove; a foul fault! When gods have hot
backs, what shall poor men do? For me, I am here a
Windsor stag; and the fattest, I think, i' the
forest. Send me a cool rut-time, Jove, or who can
blame me to piss my tallow? Who comes here? my
doe? (5.5.1-15)

Who Said It and Where

A disgraceful, booze-loving aristocrat runs out of cash and tries to get his swerve on with a couple of bored housewives. Here's the catch: these housewives are faithful to their husbands and they're seriously offended. But our girls also have a great sense of humor. (Hey, Shakespeare doesn't call them "merry" for nothing.) So they lead this guy on in order to play a series of humiliating practical jokes on him, all in the name of teaching him a lesson he'll never forget.

It's so much fun that our merry wives let their hubbies in on the plot. Together, the couples plan to get Falstaff to wear a silly costume complete with horns ("Herne the Hunter") and have him meet them at the old haunted oak tree. Then, a bunch of townspeople and local kids dressed up as creepy little fairies will jump out of the bushes and terrorize him.

Falstaff takes the bait because, let's face it, he wants to hook up with the wives. The clock strikes midnight as Falstaff shows up at the park dressed as "Herne the hunter" and wearing a huge set of horns on his head. (Psst. The horns are supposed to mean he's been cuckolded, or fooled by women.)

In this scene, Falstaff compares himself to Jupiter, the god who turned himself into a swan and raped Europa. Then he declares that he's a "stag" (male deer) in the middle of "rut-time" (mating season). (Translation: Falstaff really likes his kinky disguise and can't wait to have sex with Mistress Ford. Probably in disguise.) It's not exactly the classiest of speeches.

Go ahead and cover your eyes now if you're creeped out by all this because it only gets worse. Falstaff tells us he's so excited that he just might "piss [his] tallow," pee his pants or sweat away all his fat, which is what stags were thought to do during mating season). Mistress Ford shows up and Falstaff says "Who comes here? My doe! [...] My doe with the black scut!" ("Scut" meaning "tail" or "pubic hair.")

We told you it was nasty.

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