The Moralities of Falstaff and Prince Hal in King Henry IV Essay

No Works Cited
Length: 810 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Yellow      
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Throughout King Henry IV Part 1, Shakespeare consistently contrasts the opposing worldviews of Falstaff and Prince Hal. Shakespeare portrays Falstaff as the old, overweight drunk who lives only to enjoy himself in the present. In contrast, Shakespeare shows Hal to be the sometimes irresponsible, nevertheless, intelligent and heroic prince whose entire life and character is about planning and preparing not only himself, but also others for the future. Yet, while Falstaff engages in illegal activity to maintain his own pleasure, regardless of any implications, Hal retains his scruples and manages to regain the respect of his peers. Thus Hal’s more selfless and futuristic oriented worldview is more compelling than the Falstaff’s moralless view that is completely centered on the present.
Falstaff is a simple man who thinks only of himself in the present and how best he can enjoy himself. Around the middle of the play, Prince Hal gives Falstaff the position of an infantry commander. Falstaff, however, confesses or rather boasts about abusing his position, “I have misused the King’s press damnably…I pressed none but such toasts-and-butter, with hearts in their bellies no bigger than pins’ heads” (4.2.12-22). Falstaff uses the word “damnably”, to imply that he knows that what he is doing is wrong. Too, his willingness to use the word “damn”, a word vulgar in the eyes of God, shows that Falstaff is not worried about whether he goes to hell or heaven, he just wants to enjoy himself now rather than concern himself with the future. Furthermore, when Falstaff says “I pressed none but such toasts-and-butter, with hearts in their bellies no bigger than pins’ heads”, toasts-and-butter is referring to the wealth of those he is impressing and “...

... middle of paper ...

...r of [their] idleness”. Furthermore Hal says “when this loose behavior I throw off”; the word “when” implies that all that follows is concrete, absolute truth; it suggests that everything after will definitely happen in the future. INSERT CONCLUDING SENTENCE
Shortly before the battle is due to begin, Hotspur asks, “Where is…/The nimble-footed madcap Prince of Whales” (4.1.99-100). In this case “Nimble-footed” implies fleetness of foot, or cowardice, and “madcap” simply suggests craziness. But, the major issue is that Hotspur does not ask “if” Hal has all of these qualities, he assumes that he does, as per Hal’s plan. Moreover, once Vernon corrects Hotspur, Hotspur screams, “No more, no more! Worse than the sun in March / This praise doth nourish agues” (4.1.117-118). The way Hotspur screams “No more, no more!” and his use of the word “agues” tell the reader that

Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

This essay is 100% guaranteed.

Title Length Color Rating  
Honor in Prince Hal Essay - Honor in Prince Hal Prince Hal’s destiny is shaped for him by many forces: his association with the ne'er-do-well Falstaff, the expectations of his father, King Henry IV, and the constant comparison between himself and Hotspur. All three of these forces create in Hal a sense of honor that is an integral part of his education as the ideal king, and throughout the action of Henry IV, Part I, Hal is gaining a knowledge of honor that will shape him into the King that he will become. However, it seems that Hal ultimately chooses one form on honor over the other, although he must compare the honor of Falstaff and the conceptual honor of a chivalric hero before he comes to a final conclusion....   [tags: Shakespeare Prince Hal Essays] 999 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Character of Falstaff in Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part I Essay - The Character of Falstaff in Henry IV, Part I        Shakespeare's genius in character and plot development is exemplified in two of his most complex history plays, Richard II and Henry IV, Part I. With these sequential plays, Shakespeare vividly develops characters and sets up complicated plots by juxtapositioning people with others. Specifically, he first creates a binary opposition between Richard and Bolingbrook in Richard II, and then, recalls the plot and carries out an almost mirror image character contrast with Hal and Hotspur in Henry IV, Part I....   [tags: Henry IV Henry V Essays]
:: 5 Works Cited
1886 words
(5.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Falstaff's Influence on Prince Hal in I Henry IV Essay - Falstaff's Influence on Prince Hal in I Henry IV     In Shakespearean histories, there is always one individual who influences the major character and considerably advances the plot.  In I Henry IV by William Shakespeare, Falstaff is such a character.  Sir John Falstaff is perhaps the most complex comic character ever invented.  He carries a dignified presence in the mind's eye; and in him,  we recognize our internal admiration and jealousy of the rebellious dual personality that we all secretly wish for....   [tags: Henry IV Henry V Essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
1116 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Free Henry IV Essays: Falstaff and King Henry - Henry IV - Falstaff and King Henry Throughout the play Henry IV : Part I,there are many similarities between characters. Two that seem particularly alike are Falstaff and King Henry. Their common traits are demonstrated by Shakespeare in many subtle and not-so-subtle ways. While Falstaff seems to be able to accept himself for what he is, the King appears to be tied up in his image as a great ruler, and thus will never admit to being anything less than great. The characters of Falstaff and the King at first seem to be diametrically opposed opposites in terms of personality, yet they share many common traits....   [tags: Henry IV Henry V Essays] 461 words
(1.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Relationship of Hal and Falstaff in Henry V Essay - Relationship of Hal and Falstaff in Henry V The relationship between Hal and Falstaff is a very complex one. At first we think that as Falstaff is the older one of the two, that he would be the more mature and dominant one in the friendship, the one who leads Hal astray. However as the play develops we can see that Hal can actually look after himself and doesn't need Falstaff to supervise him. Later in the play we can see that Hal stops messing around and becomes more like a Prince rather than the type of character he has at the beginning....   [tags: Papers] 920 words
(2.6 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay on The Character of Falstaff in Henry IV - The Character of Falstaff in Henry IV                     None of Shakespeare's plays are read more than the first and second parts of Henry IV. Particularly in Henry IV Part I, Shakespeare writes chronologically historical and interesting to follow events. The reader follows the chain of events with devotion and content eager to find out what happens next. Even though the hero of the play is Prince Henry, or Hal as we know him, the reader may find themselves more focused on Falstaff, one of the other major characters that Shakespeare created for comical relief....   [tags: Henry IV Henry V Essays]
:: 5 Works Cited
1658 words
(4.7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Character Falstaff in Shakespeare's Henry IV Essay - The Character Falstaff in Shakespeare's Henry IV Sir John Falstaff has a number of functions in 1 Henry IV, the most obvious as a clownish figure providing comic relief. His many lies and exaggerations entertain because of the wit and cleverness he employs to save himself from paying debts and answering for crimes. He in many ways represents an everyman--a sinner with little shame or honor, who nonetheless maintains at least an outward concern for honor and appearances. "If sack and sugar be a fault, God help the wicked....   [tags: Henry IV Henry V Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1080 words
(3.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Transformation of Hal in Shakespeare's Henry IV Essay - The Transformation of Hal in Henry IV       In Shakespeare's Henry IV, the character Hal, the Prince of Wales, undergoes a transformation that can be characterized as a redemption. Shakespeare introduces Hal, in the opening act as a renegade of the Court.  His avoidance of all public responsibility and his affinity for the company of  the Boar's Head Tavern, have caused serious concern for the King, because Hal is heir to the throne.  The King realizes that to keep order, a ruler and his heir must prove to be both responsible and honorable;  from the outset Hal possesses neither quality.  The King even testifies to his own advisor, that he would have rather traded Ha...   [tags: Henry IV Henry V Essays]
:: 6 Works Cited
2180 words
(6.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Free Henry IV Essays: The Character of Falstaff - The Character of Falstaff in Henry IV The character of Falstaff, in Shakespeare’s play Henry IV Part One, serves as an emblem of frivolity and carelessness within a world filled with social and political significance. Falstaff scorns the world of politics and moral decisions in favor of existing from moment to moment. Though he dislikes this "other world", Falstaff realizes he must sometimes come in contact with it. Falstaff’s famous speech in lines 127-139 of Act V shows us how he regards the Prince’s world of honor and duty....   [tags: Henry IV Henry V Essays] 580 words
(1.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Falstaff in Henry IV Part I - The Character of Falstaff in Henry IV Part I   In Henry IV Part I, Shakespeare presents a collection of traditional heroes. Hotspur’s laudable valor, King Henry’s militaristic reign, and Hal’s princely transformation echo the socially extolled values of the Elizabethean male. Molding themselves after societal standards, these flat characters contrast Sir John Falstaff’s round, spirited personality. Through Falstaff’s unorthodox behavior and flagrant disregard for cultural traditions, Shakespeare advocates one’s personal values above society’s....   [tags: Henry IV Henry V Essays] 2514 words
(7.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]