Falstaff The Fool Analysis

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Falstaff the Fool
In the play Henry IV Part 1, the character Falstaff has many different qualities that make him a very complex and dynamic persona. He is humorous, greedy, dishonest, fat, witty, but also extremely loyal. The acts he commits throughout the play battle if he is a good person or not. Falstaff has contributed to a lot of mischief and robberies with absolutely no remorse for it. He is truly the king of rebellion and helps Prince Hal discover his bad side but he also acts as a loyal father figure to him. With all these naughty characteristics, Falstaff still has unwavering loyalty to Prince Hal even when he torments Falstaff with cruel jokes. Although Falstaff does a lot of wicked acts, he is not an evil character. It is very true
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He is dishonorable by being grossly fat and a drunk, which ultimately causes him to be committing two of the seven deadly sins: Gluttony and Sloth. Prince Hal makes these sins clear by his comments. He does this by first saying, “How long is’t ago, Jack, since thou sawest thine own knee?” (2.4.324-325). Falstaff also has a lifestyle that consist of those of a sloth which is also shown by Prince Hal’s comments, he says, “Thou are so fat-witted from drinking of cold sack, and unbuttoning thee after supper, and sleeping upon benches after noon, that thou has forgotten to demand that truly which thou wouldst truly know” (1.2.1-6). Through all the very ruthless and detailed descriptions that are provided by Prince Hal, it is quite apparent that Falstaff is not the type of person to be respected in England. Falstaff also commits many acts that he should be banished for. These include stealing and lying. Falstaff simply has no respect for the laws of England and does what he wants in his free will. With all this being said, Falstaff is not dumb but actually very intelligent. His wit is shown by the many puns he says throughout the play. In Southern Utah University’s article, “The Price Greatness Pays for Power” the writer speaks about Falstaff by saying,” A virtuoso in the arts of language, he can hardly speak a line that does not, like all great literature, sharpen our responses and jolt us into new …show more content…
He likes to make a joke out of everything but does not intentionally try to hurt any one. In the David Bevington edition of Henry IV Part 1 he gives a description of Falstaff by saying, “Falstaff is the epitome of merriment and joie de vivre. We excuse much in him because he lusts after life with such an appetite and ingratiates himself to others by inviting them to laugh at his expense.” (David Bevington). This analysis of Falstaff is very true and is proved throughout the play. Falstaff is a comical character that does acts that are mischievous but are not evil or malicious to others. For instance, when Falstaff pretends that he has been slain because he was scared and to avoid being killed in the battle, he is not intentionally hurting anyone; he is just looking out for himself. This makes him a dishonorable fool. Falstaff says to himself during this scene, “but to counterfeit dying when a man thereby liveth is to be no counterfeit, but the true and perfect image of life indeed. The better part of valor is discretion, in the which better part I have saved my life.” (4.5.18-21). This quote shows who Falstaff is, a man who wants to protect himself at all times and that has nothing to do with others, only with him. John A. Johnson a writer from Psychology Today would call this “neutral selfishness”. He defines this