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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Intro

The world is my oyster

I'm Pistol. I'm one of Falstaff's motley crew, and I've got a really big mouth. I just love to talk to anyone who will listen. But hey, most of the things I say are pretty hilarious, if I do say so myself. And you know what I think?

FALSTAFF
I will not lend thee a penny.

PISTOL
Why, then the world's mine oyster.
Which I with sword will open.
I will retort the sum in equipage. (2.2.1-4)

Who Said It and Where

Pistol takes orders from Falstaff, a "fat," larger than life knight who eats, drinks, lies, steals, and trash-talks his way through practically any situation (including robberies and warfare in Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV Part 2).

When we catch up with Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor, he's completely broke, which has put quite a damper on his rock-star lifestyle. But Falstaff's got a plan to turn things around. He always does. He'll put the moves on a couple of rich housewives (a.k.a. the "merry wives" of Windsor) who have total access to their husbands' money.

You probably have figured out by now that Falstaff thinks he can solve all his financial troubles by luring the merry wives into bed with a couple of super-steamy (okay, super-cheesy) love notes. To complicate matters, Falstaff's crew-turned-frenemies, Pistol and Nim, have decided to rat out Falstaff to the women's husbands.

We pick up with the play over at Garter Inn, where Falstaff refuses to loan money to Pistol, who, apparently, is always asking Falstaff for spare change. Falstaff is trying to swindle other people out of money so he really doesn't have the dough to help Pistol out. Pistol draws his sword and yells "Why then, the world's mine oyster, which I with sword will open." (Translation: Pistol is penniless so he's going to use his sword to make his fortune in the world. Elsewhere.)

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