Queering Fluellen

Last night, I rewatched the Branagh Henry V, which led me to look some stuff up in the original play. And I was amused at a few items that could be interpreted from a (presumably unintended) queer perspective. [With some commentary from me in square brackets.]

First, Pistol talking with the Welsh captain, Fluellen:

Pistol: Captain, I thee beseech to do me favours: [If you know what I mean, and I think you do.]

The Duke of Exeter doth love thee well.

Fluellen: Ay, I praise God; and I have merited some love at

his hands. [Nudge nudge wink wink.]

Later, Exeter describes the Duke of York in mourning:

So did he turn and over Suffolk's neck

He threw his wounded arm and kiss'd his lips;

And so espoused to death, with blood he seal'd

A testament of noble-ending love.

[But, like, no homo!] [I think an early draft of this speech actually ended with “no homo!”, but Kit Marlowe convinced Will to replace that line.] [And by “convinced,” I mean Marlowe used his considerable charms, including his talented tongue. If you know what I mean, and I think you do.]

A little later, Fluellen gives a speech about Alexander the Great, in the midst of which he says:

I'll tell you there is good men porn at Monmouth.

[Supposedly this is because he pronounces “b” as “p.” But you and I know better.]

(I'm normally not fond of adding unintended sex jokes to Shakespeare, beyond the multitude of such that are already there. But that's for performance purposes, and my post here is for non-performance joke purposes.)

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