Thursday, February 24, 2011

There’s more to Falstaff than just Fat

What are the politics and consequences of war, and how do these vary based on an individual or cultural perspective?

Well, ’tis no matter; honour pricks
me on. Yea, but how if honour prick me off when I
come on? how then? Can honour set to a leg? no: or
an arm? no: or take away the grief of a wound? no.
Honour hath no skill in surgery, then? no. What is
honour? a word. What is in that word honour? what
is that honour? air. A trim reckoning! Who hath it?
he that died o’ Wednesday. Doth he feel it? no.
Doth he hear it? no. ‘Tis insensible, then. Yea,
to the dead. But will it not live with the living?
no. Why? detraction will not suffer it. Therefore
I’ll none of it. Honour is a mere scutcheon: and so
ends my catechism.”

Henry IV Part 1, Act V, Scene 1

I came to respect Falstaff tremendously after this quote in the play. Much of war, I believe, is about pride and defending the honor of something we hold dear. But really how far should we humans go for honor? Does it even exist on earth if every one can has done their share of good and bad? When Falstaff took responsibility of Percy’s death, I feel I understood why Hal let it slide. Falstaff is taking the ‘honor load’ off of his friend. Hal wanted to kill Percy to defend his honor and when he killed Percy was it really worth it? I see Falstaff being a good friend.

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