Justice Shallow

Definition

Theater

  • A foolish country judge in Shakespeare's plays The MerryWives of Windsor and Henry IV, Part II. According totradition, the character was based on Sir Thomas Lucy (1532 - 1600),a justice of the peace who owned Charlecote Park near Stratford-upon-Avon.Legend has it that the young Shakespeare was arrested and broughtbefore the magistrates for poaching deer in the park. In revenge,the future playwright is supposed to have written a doggerel attackon Sir Thomas:
    A Parliament member, a Justice of the Peace,
    At home a poor scarecrow, at London an asse;
    If lowsie is Lucy, as some folks miscalle it,
    Then Lucy is lowsie whatever may befall it.

    Perhaps significantly, in The Merry Wives Falstaffis caught poaching Shallow's deer; Shallow's coat of arms is alsosimilar to that of the Lucy family, containing "a dozenwhite luces" or pikes.

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