Falstaff: Friend or Father Figure?
When studying the characters of Shakespeare's Henry IV, one can not help but observe Falstaff. Falstaff is considered by many to be one of the greatest comic inventions ever. Critics have called Falstaff everything ranging from a buffoon to "an instance of the predominance of intellectual power" (Coleridge cited in Hemingway 418). He is by far one of the most dynamic characters ever constructed by Shakespeare. Yet, "the question persists, 'wherein
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showed last 75 words of 1016 total
friend to share his days with. J. Dover Wilson sums up Falstaff best by saying, "He is an emancipated spirit, free of all the conventions, codes, and moral ties that enwrap us … What we chiefly admire him for is his abounding vitality. Falstaff is more than man; he is, like all great mythological figures, the incarnation of a principle of the universe. He is the Joy of Life, exuberant, intoxicating, and irrepressible." (cited in Hemingway 439)