Saturday, August 3, 2019
Falstaff :: essays research papers
Romanticism, as stated in the American Heritage Electronic Dictionary is, "An artistic and intellectual movement originating in Europe in the late 18th century and characterized by a heightened interest in nature, emphasis on the individual's expression of emotion and imagination, departure from the attitudes and forms of classicism, and rebellion against established social rules and conventions." Falstaff is the ideal romantic character. In an article written by Harry T. Baker titled, "The Two Falstaffs" Baker writes against all the critics who claim that the Falstaff from Henry IV parts I and II is a different character then the Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor. He believes that, "although, as the critics declare, Falstaff is not himself, this is due to the [change in] situation, not to the inconsistency of character portrayal." In Henry IV parts I and II we see Falstaff as the romantic character that is stated in the definition above, defying everything that the Classical character, Prince Hal, stands for and believes.. He refuses to take life seriously. He believes that "War is as much of a joke to him as a drinking bout at the Boar's Head." He uses people solely for his own purposes, either for money or for food and drink. He is rude and crude to all those around him and is one of the best liars who continually gets caught in his lies but makes new ones to cover for the old failed ones. Yet Baker states that, "His presence of mind and quickness of retort are always superb; his impudence is almost sublime. Yet the man thus corrupt, thus despicable, makes himself necessary to the prince that despises him, by the most pleasing of all qualities, perpetual gaiety. Falstaff creates around his capacious bulk a sort of Utopia which frees us temporarily from the worries and troubles of the actual wo rld. What does it matter that Falstaff ridicules chivalry, honor, truth-telling, and bravery in battle? He is not to be taken seriously...he is a wholly comic character." At the end of Henry IV part II we can see what happens to Falstaff when he is surrounded by reality, he is caught off guard and is out of place. Baker states that when Falstaff is entangle with the realities of life "he cannot shine." We see this first at the coronation of Hal, once his friend in mischief, when Falstaff is told, quite bluntly by Hal that " I know thee not, old man.