Character Analysis Of Falstaff

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In single combat against the formidable Douglas, the outcome for Falstaff is doomed. That hot termagant Scot will overtake the fat infantryman of Eastcheap. Yet Falstaff is not willing to die protecting the monarchy. He “falls down as if he were dead” to disinterest his opponent. Falstaff saves himself instead of defending the kingdom alongside Prince Hal, who fights Hotspur to the death. To a knight, the glory of battle is an opportunity. More than an opportunity, defending king and country is a responsibility. And Falstaff, only loyal to his own interests, shirks that responsibility. From Falstaff, this survival maneuver can be expected. He establishes his reputation as a man who avails himself of pleasure and avoids peril. In the…show more content…
He is accepted for his faults and further appreciated for his humor. Once receptive to Falstaff’s follies, an underlying wisdom can be found. Shakespeare offers Falstaff as a guide to living beyond the confines of convention, out of all the order. Disguised in banter, Falstaff calls into question values of morality and nobility. His manner is harmless in both words and actions. Of all the loyalty and disloyalty that incites political turbulence in the play, Falstaff remains inert. He does not enact any cruel aggression in effort to achieve power. Nevertheless, Falstaff commits slight though significant transgressions against Prince Hal and aristocratic values. These transgressions begin in conversation and eventually result in Falstaff’s action on the…show more content…
Considering their fearsome adversary, in private Falstaff asks Prince Hal “art not thou horribly afraid” (II.4.337-338)? His question means to provoke an honest reflection on their dangerous undertaking. Falstaff does not mean to interrogate or belittle Prince Hal’s honor. Instead, Falstaff asks about his friend’s true emotional state and moves beyond the conventional appearance of knightly toughness. Prince Hal responds to the question feigning, “Not a whit, i’faith. I lack some of thy instinct” (II.4.339). The more regal Prince Hal becomes in his ambitions, the more he aligns himself with the values of the monarchy. Falstaff reveals how these values of stoicism and bravery can be delusional. If Prince Hal were honest, he would admit some degree of doubt about war. With his new regal stance; however, he distances himself from true sentiment. Falstaff is unabashed in asking matters of the heart. Although Falstaff does not get an honest reply, he exposes Price Hal’s pretension and with it the tradition of

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