Hotspur Symbolism

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There is an intangible object or ideal that members of western society are told to seek after from generation to generation. This object is of no apparent benefit to the owner. In fact, in many cases the possession of this correlates with a decreased amount of time spent alive in the individual who possesses it. It is nonetheless heralded as a desirable possession and has been for hundreds of years. In summation, this object brings no apparent benefit to its owner, (in fact it seems to be a detriment) yet it is still held as desirable and its pursuit is even promoted. What could this be? The answer is honor. This is what takes center stage in the theater, carries the plot in prose and what often drives action in real life. The great minds of…show more content…
He begins by calling it "secret" and "deep and dangerous." He continues to label it "full of peril and adventurous spirit." The last term of that list is significant. Shakespeare, speaking through Hotspur, lists four terms with negative connotations but finishes with a positive term. He seems to acknowledge the acrimonious argument and present a redemptive quality in defense of honor. Shakespeare continues to do this throughout the passage. When he describes the paths of danger and honor crossing perpendicularly, it signifies both a relationship and a contrast between the two. Hotspur seems to say here although danger is an irrevocable part of honor it transcends the base negative connotation and meaning danger often carry. He presents honor as desirable and virtuous without concealing its connective drawbacks. Through figurative language he makes the point that to limit it to the merits of what accompanies it would be sophomoric and an incomplete evaluation of the object as a whole. At this point, it still hasn't entirely been made clear what Hotspur's definition of honor actually is. We get a deeper insight into that when he boldly asserts, "O the blood stirs more to rouse a lion than to start a hare." A sense of ambition is connected to honor, he seems to say. He goes on to make the analogy of diving to the bottom of a deep body of water to rescue a drowned damsel. The damsel…show more content…
A reader of this passage might call Falstaff an unashamed coward. This view can be tempered when the way that he leads into his soliloquy is examined. He states that "honor pricks me on." This is someone with a disdain for honor, yes, but the value that people place on it is not lost on him. He is not ignorant to honor's importance to most of the world. Shakespeare goes on to make a play on his words, saying, "But how if honors prick me off when I come on, how then?" Referencing the passages before about the possibility of his death, Falstaff asks how honor will kill him. He goes on to ask a series of questions. These are very provocative questions about honor's nature and existence. He asks and answers questions about its merits in healing. To each question of medical ability, the answer is "no." Falstaff finally asks, "What is honor," the answer that he gives is, "a word." He goes on to call it a, "Air-a trim reckoning." Falstaff just called honor a worthless payoff and nothing more than a word, but he isn't finished. He goes on to say that those who have honor are dead, and therefore can't feel what they have. They follow up question is whether or not the living can feel it and the answer, again, is no. This time though, it is for a different reason. Falstaff cites the envious gossip of others as the reason that honor can't be enjoyed by the living. In relation to Hotspur's narration, it

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