Henry IV Part 1

Why Falstaff Falls: A Sad Twist by Henry the Fifth

The world of Shakespeare has many beloved heros and loathed villains, but never so beloved a villain as Sir John Falstaff. Through his comic appearance and endless witticisms, this incorrigible rouge has won the affection of audiences for centuries. Falstaff first appears as the intimate of Prince Hal in Henry IV Part 1, but is brutally rejected by his friend at the end of Part 2. As a character who expresses so much clever comedy, and who so delightfully captures the world's adversity in parody, why does Shakespeare suffer Falstaff so undesirable a fate? The answer lies in the historic and histrionic role of Prince Hal. In Henry IV, the rejection of Falstaff is the necessary result of Hal's finding his place among the three worlds pressing in around him. King Henry IV, Falstaff, and Hotspur represent these worlds2E Examining the roles of these three characters, as well as Prince Hal himself, illuminates the nature of Hal's choice to banish his friend.

Influences on Hal

The tetralogy of plays that concludes with Henry IV is permeated with political commentary on kingship. In Part 1 of this group of plays, Henry IV represents the world of politics and faces the brunt of this commentary. In Richard II, King Henry (then...

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