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

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Introduction

"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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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