• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Falstaff is a dreadful character in every way yet the audience cannot help but like him and laugh along with him."

Extracts from this document...


"Falstaff is a dreadful character in every way yet the audience cannot help but like him and laugh along with him." Bearing in mind the above quotation, analyse the behaviour and character of Falstaff and then suggest ways in which he entertains the audience and engages their sympathies. We see Falstaff, almost in the first moment of our acquaintance with him, involved in circumstances of criminal activities. Prince Hal in Act one, Scene two claims that Falstaff had robbed a purse of gold, "got with swearing 'Lay by'..." Of which, Falstaff admits that this was true. Falstaff further incriminates himself in an incident when Hal sends him into hiding, after the Sheriff and his men raided the tavern to arrest Falstaff for his involvement in the robbery of travellers going to Canterbury. Another fault with Falstaff is his cowardice, we hear him familiarly called a coward by his most intimate companions, indeed even Hal once remarked "and thou art a natural coward, without instinct". We see Falstaff, on occasion of the robbery at Gadshill, in the very act of running away from the Prince and Poins after declaring vaingloriously that a duck had more valour than Poins. ...read more.


Even when he is out robbing with his gang, he stands in a safe distance from the action, until it is time to split up the gains. In the first dialogue between Falstaff and the prince, we see a lot of sexual innuendos been used, "hot wench in flame coloured taffeta," and also when Falstaff attempts to divert the conversation in Act one Scene two, he comments that the, "hostess of the tavern...most sweet wench" obviously Falstaff suffers from sexual laxity. Falstaff is a boaster, he boasted and exaggerated about the robbery at Gadshill, in the tavern Falstaff boasts that he would cudgel Hal if he said that the ring was made of copper, when in actual fact, Falstaff had to backtrack his threats as soon as Poins and Hal cane in. Also he boasts about about his own doings in the battle, "I have paid Percy, I have made him sure" while Percy was still alive and well. Indeed, when he realizes that Percy is alive, he vows that he will, "pierce him". Falstaff is hypocritical; he complains that, "a plague upon it when thieves cannot be true to each other," yet when it comes to handing out the robbery's gains, he is quite happy to miss out on Hal and Poins for a share of the booty. ...read more.


It does not matter if Falstaff jokes about bravery and valour, it is merely the thoughts of a comic creation designed to fill the theatre. When at the end of the Boar's Head Tavern scene, when the viewer learns that the Sheriff is outside looking for the robbers, Prince Hal defends the fat knight. However, we find Falstaff soundly asleep behind an array. This scene shows how he was created for comic relief in the play. Yet the reader sees the Falstaff that was moments ago alive and energetic, now soundly asleep and we wait for the Falstaff to wake up because we have grown an attachment to him. We want him to humour us once again, to inspire us with his famous wit Up to certain point Falstaff is merely an object of pure entertainment. His character is present chiefly for the humour that arises by showcasing his ludicrous persona. Besides laughing at Falstaff, we are made happy by him and laugh with him. However there is an ugly side of Falstaff, but we overlook it in light of his great humour and the fact that compared to the other characters he generally doesn't do much damage. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Henry V section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Henry V essays

  1. In the tradition of aesthetics, Oscar Wilde said, “There is no such thing as ...

    Lord Henry talks about beauty and how important it is in life. Under Lord Henry's influence Dorian makes his fatal wish "..........this picture will remain always young .......... If it were only the other way round ......." After the wish Dorian continues to let Lord Henry influence him "I am

  2. The opening few lines of scene two introduce Falstaff who immediately exemplifies his comic ...

    This theocentricly based argument allows Falstaff to take the moral high ground and ensure that he retain the aristocratic impression that he is so eager to convey. This is ironic considering Falstaff's libertine, philandering lifestyle and this blatant attempt to convey a gentlemanly impression further exemplifies his larger than life personality.

  1. Media Comparative Essay: Concerning the 2 well known film versions of Shakespeare's Henry V ...

    Branagh generally uses much more cut shots between him and his men - mainly to define the original written list of "Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot...". However it is also used to again generate the ideas of fellowship. This is aided by Branagh's more buoyant vocals and marked facial expressions of smiles and coition.

  2. Account For The Popularity Of The Figure Of Falstaff On Shakespeare's Stage

    Falstaff believes that being friends with the prince will attain him some sort of exemption from prosecution should he ever get caught. Falstaff says to the prince, "But I prithee sweet wag, shall there be gallows standing in England when thou art king?"

  1. Explore how Shakespeare creates humour for the audience in the scenes in which the ...

    Falstaff is undeterred by any obstacles making him even funnier to the audience. Modern adaptations of the play are still hugely successful, as some of Shakespeare's humour is timeless. However there are certain parts of the play in which jokes are made that are often missed by more modern audiences.

  2. Henry V - differences between young and old.

    surround him so that, when he must, he can emerge as his true, heroic self, shock the whole country, and win the people's love and his father's admiration. Harry is clearly intelligent and already capable of the psychological manoeuvrings required of kings.

  1. Is Falstaff siplayed as honourable in Act 1&2 - Act I, scene 2 is ...

    This introductory scene demonstrates the apparently good-natured, joking sort of relationship that exists between them. But as Falstaff's extraordinary facility with language and knowledge of the seedy underbelly of London come to light, it becomes clear that Harry is also learning from Falstaff.

  2. Explore Shakespeare's presentation of Hal and Falstaff in the tavern in Act II Scene ...

    I would have Falstaff being serious, shouting and ignoring the laughter. I would make Hal stress the word 'eleven' to show false horror and surprise. Also, the insults that Hal and Falstaff use towards each other are another way of showing humorous escape.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work