Essay on Henry IV - Textual Analysis 23 February 2015 The...

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Textual Analysis 23 February 2015 The Jolly Unrighteous Fool: Falstaff, You Brute! Evil comes in many forms, such as a fat European man for example. Many people view evil differently. A person’s background has an important impact on how they view evil and what it means to be an evil person to them versus a normal person doing evil things. The view of evil explored for this paper can be simple defined as a person who actively causes ill will on another human/creature without reason, for the bettering of themselves, or simply for the pleasure of it. In Henry IV part 1, there are many characters who would fit the bill with certain actions they do or by how they just live their lives. One such character is Sir John Falstaff and how he lives his life. He is a comedic character in the play and highly viewed by many readers; adored even. Many people would identify with him and some even see a little bit of themselves in him. This makes it harder for people to call him an evil character and easier to excuse his actions because if he is evil and people see themselves in him, would that not in turn make them evil? There are arguments that say Falstaff is just a bad, self-centered man that only cares for himself but he is not evil. While there is truth in that, Falstaff offers no good to anyone other than himself except comedy and it is at the expense of others. There is no good in this man and logically, a lack of good would mean there is only evil. Henry IV part 1 takes place in London and surrounding areas in around the early 15th century. This paper is going to follow the misadventures of dear Falstaff. The first couple of moments that are seen of him are times when it is just himself and the Prince bantering back and forth in a very comedic fashion. During that time, the subject of a robbery is brought up and Falstaff goads the prince into agreeing to go. They along with others plan the robbery and what
to do. The prince and a friend of his decide to let Falstaff and his men do the robbery, then the two of them will rob Falstaff in different disguises. The first thing learned of Falstaff is he spends his time and money only on drinking and women and is a thief/robber. While there is nothing wrong with the first two things, planning a robbery and stealing from people is not exactly a good thing to do. In the world, when people are down on their luck, poor, starving, or have kids to feed, thievery can be overlooked because "you have got to do what you have to" to survive; but Falstaff is not in any of those positions. He is fat, knight who acquires and spends money only on himself and his habits. The money being stolen was only for himself and his friends to go out eating and drinking to celebrate the success of the robbery.

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