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Compare Falstaff and Henry IV as father figures.

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Introduction

Compare Falstaff and Henry IV as father figures. Hal has two father figures, Falstaff and Henry IV. They are both different from each other, and what they teach Hal. Falstaff seems to mislead Hal, and his real father discards him. Ultimately, there is only room for one of them and Hal makes a choice, but not forgetting what he has learnt. Falstaff as a father figure, and as a regular man, seems to have many visible faults. Although he is a warm character, Hal says he is fat, "ye fat kidneyed rascal", a thief, "Where shall we take a purse tomorrow, Jack?" and he is lazy. All of the things mentioned about Falstaff in his opening speech make out as this criminal who lazes about all day and sins. This first impression is lasting and makes Falstaff seem a bad role model, and not a suitable father. He educates Hal, but not what might be seen as right, or in the right way. However he is funny and is made to appeal to the audience, as a lovable rogue. "Honour is a mere scutcheon" Here Falstaff is exposing the emptiness of honour, and Hal sees it that way too. ...read more.

Middle

This shows how Hal knows Falstaff and suggests Hal is in control. Later in the play when Hal begins his reformation talked about in his soliloquy, "Redeeming time when men least think I will," he also begins to shrug off Falstaff as shown on the battlefield. Hal's soliloquy is the best insight to him, as Shakespeare uses these play devices so the audience can see the real character. "What, is it a time to jest and dally now?" Hal is saying this, because he asks for Falstaff's sword and Falstaff can only produce a bottle of wine, which Hal throws back at him. This is the beginning of Hal redemption, showing that he no longer wants to play around. He also begins to question Falstaff's influence as a father. The king is no better as a father. While he is no thief or a bad example (except for his supposed disposing of King Richard) he does not father Hal properly. He is very good at manipulation and this trait show up in Hal. He even openly says that he wishes Hal wasn't his son! ...read more.

Conclusion

"Thou hast redeemed thy lost opinion, And showed thou makst some tender of my life." Shakespeare completely distorts and manipulates history for his own benefit, particularly with Hotspur and Hal, concerning their rivalry. In real life, Hotspur was as old as King Henry, but Shakespeare changed it so that the two could be juxtaposed, and would come between the King and his appreciation of his son. Hal makes himself look better and the king becomes a better father figure. In the end, the King is the better father out of him and Falstaff, but what Hal is taught by Falstaff is still important. Hal benefits from having the two father figures because he gains two sets of teaching. These combined will make him a great ruler. Overall the King is the better father figure but he just needs to adjust and be more fatherly to Hal, for he is very cold. While Falstaff shares laughter with Hal, but it is usually at him and he is only so much use as a teacher. Falstaff's saving grace is his warmth. This leads to Hal shrugging him off. A teacher is no more use when you have learnt all he has to offer, but your father will always be there. ...read more.

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