Hotspur And Falstaff In King Henry IV

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Honor: Of Necessity and Uselessness An Analysis of Hotspur and Falstaff in King Henry IV Honor is a characteristic that is widely sought after, though not often achieved. It is something that plays a very large role in classic pieces of literature, namely, Shakespeare. Though doesn’t everything revolve around Shakespeare? Anyway, to Shakespeare, honor, rather, ‘honour,’ can be distinguished in many different ways. This often depends on the characters which he develops, the type of story, and the context of the situation. Some would argue that Shakespeare’s writing displays the least amount of honor possible when it comes to literature, though some would argue the antithesis. Honor undoubtedly plays an important role in Shakespeare’s writing.…show more content…
First, is Hotspur’s definition, or characterization of honour, “By heaven methinks it were an easy leap, To pluck bright honour from the pale-faced moon, Or dive into the bottom of the deep, Where fathom-line could never touch the ground, And pluck up drowned honour by the locks, So he that doth redeem her thence might wear Without corrival [any rival] all her dignities.” Basically, Hotspur is saying, in more modern language, “By God, I think it would be easy to jump up and grab honor off of the moon’s pale face, or to dive into the deepest ocean and pull up honor by its hair. Then the man who rescues honor can wear her glory alone, without rivals. To hell with sharing the glory!” Hotspur has a very acute view of honor: it is hard to obtain but an individual accomplishment. Hotspur makes it sounds as if honour is gained by someone who is very poignant and decisive, not necessarily a ‘softie.’ For Falstaff, however, honour is a little different. “What is honour? A word. What is in that word honour? What is that honour? Air-a trim reckoning [worthless payoff]. Who hath it? He that died a Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. 'Tis insensible then? Yea, to the dead. But will it not live with the living? No. Why? Detraction [envious gossip] will not suffer [allow] it. Therefore I'll (have) none of it-honour is a mere 'scutcheon…show more content…
Again, we will begin with Hotspur and his ‘honourable,’ opinion of honour. Hotspur uses phrases like diving into the deepest sea and going to the moon to obtain honour. This is similar to Muslim extremists nowadays. People in groups like ISIS teach their children young that it is better to kill yourself than to be captured by the enemy. This is similar to what Hotspur thinks because he is quite clearly an advocate of sacrificing your life for honour. That is the importance he places on honour when he makes very bold claims as to what people should be willing to do to obtain honour. Again, on the other side of things, Falstaff seems very dreary and sensible in his description of honour. Falstaff uses language that is quite decisive by asking rhetorical questions. The most noticed phrase he uses to explain his stance is “Air-a trim reckoning.” This quite frankly means worthless payoff. Since Falstaff seems to be the more stoic and calm one of the two, his point are formatted in a very argumentative way, most likely because the majority highly values honour, and he realizes he is in the minority so he is on the defense. This is a common tactic used by minorities. Falstaff makes it understandable that he does not care for honour, and in doing so, almost gains a type of honour, or rather, respect, for being blunt to the masses, unlike

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