It is doubtful that the model for Falstaff was an actual highwayman, but it is possible he was not as well behaved as would have been expected by his family, perhaps a black sheep.
Falstaff appears in several of Shakespeare's plays, but there is contention whether he is the same in all. Goddard finds a rather schizophrenic portrait of both Falstaff and Henry IV.
A colossus of sack, sensuality, and sweat -- or a wit and humorist so great that he can be compared only with his creator, a figure, to use one of Shakespeare's own great phrases, livelier than life? One might think there were two Falstaffs he truth is that there are two Falstaffs, just as there are two Henrys, the Immortal Falstaff and the Immoral Falstaff, and the dissension about the man comes from a failure to recognize that fact. That the two could inhabit one body would not be believed if Shakespeare had not proved that they could. That may be one reason why he made it so huge."
The first character who comes to mind when I think of Falstaff is Lex Luthor in the Smallville and Superman series. He was a good friend to the youthful Superman, in spite of being somewhat self-centered and a bit of a rogue. He was even sometimes funny, though not the comic relief of Falstaff. One might think that Lex Luthor represents the two sides of Falstaff, the friendly rogue in Smallville and the more serious viallain, that is an outlaw, in Superman. There are really quite a few parallels in modern literature, especially if you include movies as literature. It seems that Shakespeare's idea to provide comic relief has been widely imitated.
Bloom sees Falstaff as the penultimate comic wit, and credits him as one of Shakespeare's greatest creations.
Falstaff is of the company both of the heroic wits, Rosalind and Hamlet, and of the heroic vitalists, the Wife of Bath and the Panurge of Falstaffian Rabelais. He could also ride into the world of Sancho Panza and the Don, because in some sense he is their synthesis, fusing Sancho's ribald realism and the Don's
Bloom 2) have to agree with Bloom, as I found this character to be the most engaging of all those in this play. I do not wonder that Elizabethan audiences loved him, as he seems to bridge the gap between nobility and the common man, between educated and illiterates, yet he remains more true as a person than most of his betters. He is rogue, but an honest rogue.
It was necessary for Falstaff to be in this play, as Shakespeare could not attribute all the wisdom which Henry IV eventually acquires to internal development of character. The main character actually needed a foil and a sounding board. In addition, the role playing provided a means to communicate ideas and plans which needed some form of conversation to be shown in the play. It also gave some justification to the maturity of Harry's judgment of the nobility, many of whom secretly opposed him. In this play, Falstaff was actually the only character with whom Harry spoke candidly and often truthfully.
Bloom, Harold, ed. Falstaff / . New York: Chelsea House, 1992. Questia. 7 Dec. 2006 http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=102555976.
Goddard, Harold C. "Henry IV." Falstaff / . Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1992. 110-124. Questia. 7 Dec. 2006 http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=102556084.
Weis, Rene, ed. Henry IV, Part 2. New York: Oxford University, 1998. Questia. 7 Dec. 2006 http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=58756856.
Wilson, J. Dover. The Fortunes of Falstaff. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1944. Questia. 7 Dec. 2006 http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=270539.
Henry IV is one of history's great plays on war and the way in which war can inflict its torment on a nation and a family. For aside being a play about war, it is also play about human relationships. Henry IV, part one in many respects is a play which demonstrates the bonds and difficulty between fathers and sons and fellow soldiers. Within this meditation of these complex characters,
Falstaff The Bard, William Shakespeare, is considered the most important playwright of the European Renaissance, if not the most important of all time. One of the reasons for his illustrious position in the world of literary studies is the characterizations that he creates in all of his plays. Each character is uniquely defined and highly memorable. Many of his characters are fictional but even the ones that are based on historical
Henry V is the last, and perhaps most important, play of Shakespeare's tetralogy. Shakespeare's three earlier plays, Richard II, Henry IV, Part I, and Henry IV, Part II, established the foundation for Henry V. What makes Henry V so pivotal is that it shows King Henry V as the ideal Christian monarch, i.e., a figure of enlightenment and perfection. This paper examines the function and significance of Act IV, Scene I
Shakespeare's Plays: Henry the IV Part I, Hamlet, a Midsummer Night's Dream Henry the IV, Part I Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 78-90. KING HENRY IV: Yea, there thou makest me sad and makest me sin In envy that my Lord Northumberland Should be the father to so blest a son, A son who is the theme of honour's tongue; Amongst a grove, the very straightest plant; Who is sweet Fortune's minion and
Hal, ironically amused, notes the rapidity with which Falstaff transforms his pledge to "give over this life,... And I do not, I am a villain, I'll be damned for never a king's son in Christendom" (IH4 I. ii. 95-97) into a plan to take purses at Gadshill: "I see a good amendment of life in thee, from praying to pursetaking" (102-103). Falstaff's instant moral defense is that it is
The situation is different in Henry IV, where the main character, prince Hal as he is called by his friends, will ascend to the throne in the second part of the play in spite of his past as a villain. As the play begins, we see the king Henry IV, prince Hal's father, caught up in the midst of a civil conflict with Hotspur and the entire Percy branch of