Essays On Henry Iv

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These two characters, the focus of this essay, are what I found most alive in the play.

In my opinion, Hotspur is alive in the sense that he is a life-like character and Falstaff in the sense that he is full of life.

Hotspur is life-like in the sense that he represents the typical English feudal warrior of his time. First of all, he values his honor above his own life.

In the final scene of the play, as he lies mortally wounded by Prince, he tells him that he "better brook[s] the loss of brittle life than those proud titles [he] hast won of [him].

Similarly, Falstaff has displaced King Henry IV as Harry’s father figure. The critic Harold Bloom, for instance, takes a cue from Hegel in claiming that Falstaff and Hamlet are Shakespeare’s two most intelligent characters: they are, as Hegel claims, “free artists of themselves,” self-aware beings who invent themselves through their own self-descriptions; in fact, they are “men made out of words.” What do you think Bloom means by this?

Consider the way in which Falstaff uses words, humor, and punning not only to negotiate the world around him, but also to constantly describe and redescribe himself.

They wound [his] thoughts worse than [the Prince's] sword [his] flesh (l....

Hotspur displaces Harry in his father’s eyes, for instance, and Harry must win back the place he has lost (by killing Hotspur). How (and why) are they resolved—if they are resolved? Many critics have found Falstaff more fascinating than any other character in the play.


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