Sir John Falstaff Essay

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William Shakespeare has written numerous plays with notable characters. There's Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear all with woven webs of personalities. These men seem to be highly complex in their own forms, but none so as Shakespeare's fat, old knight. The witty mind, excessive lifestyle, and often contradicting characteristics of Henry IV's Sir John Falstaff are what make him arguably the most complex character in English literature. Many readers view Henry IV as being satirical of war and government, using the rejection of John Falstaff as "proof that human authenticity is tragically at odds with the practice of politics." (5, 187) ____ claims "There really is no reason for Falstaff's presence in the play at all. He must justify himself as he goes." (1, 219) Others argue that the entire life of the play itself rests upon the complex Falstaff. (3, 54) He…show more content…
It is as if his heart has hardened. The scene of abuse of Shallow's hospitality is horrid and it almost tells more about his than any other quality. Through this matter, all of the immoral qualities that we as an audience have overlooked become visible to us. (14, 43) Although there was preparation throughout both plays, the fall of Falstaff seems abrupt. (3, 186) Once, hilarious looks surrounded him, now there are only ghastly images. Boards used to groan under the weight of feasts, but now the couch is hard with the pressure of disease. There were days of blazing lights. From his deathbed, Falstaff only sees a single, dim taper. The ears that once heard songs and viols only hear the moans of death from their own body. The end of Falstaff's life lacks honor and regret. It represents the end of every such life. Those who joked with him in the past now abandon him. He sees no refuge in the spiritual world when the one around him is slipping away. ". . . when he can least bear to be alone, he is delivered over to unmitigated solitude." (1,

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