Inevitability of Falstaff’s Banishment.docx

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As Shakespeare’s best-loved and theatrically most enduring comic creation, Falstaff does have his charm and flaws. Over these centuries, the attitude toward this fat old knight has always been controversial. This paper discusses the fate of Falstaff. By analysing the characteristics of Falstaff, combined with the background of the story and some other elements that might influence how the story goes, the paper explains why Falstaff is destined to “fall” in the play. The paper is divided into three parts. The first part is the introduction, which mainly introduces the background of the play and literature review. The second part is the body, which includes three chapters: Chapter one analyses Prince Hal and political background of the time. We find that the young prince keeps Falstaff as his companion only to make his reformation more wondered at. Thus Falstaff never attaches much importance in the eyes of the prince in the first place. We also find that banishing Falstaff both satisfies Hal’s need to gain the trust from the court and win the respect and awe from the public. In the second Chapter, we mainly analyse Falstaff’s identity. In this part we see that Falstaff goes astray in his awakening ego. However, the old knight cannot help but be indulged in the live of corruption at the same time. The last Chapter of the paper analyses Falstaff’s famous catechism on honour. Here we find that Falstaff actually represents the group of subversion against the estate Hal represents. Moreover, we draw the deadly strike of Falstaff’s fall— his political blindness. Also, by rewinding the play to the beginning, we see that Shakespeare has already plotted Falstaff’s fall in a practice in the tavern: the prince will, and does banish Falstaff. The third part of the paper is the conclusion. Falstaff’s fall is not caused by one single reason. His fate is determined by the environment of the society at that time, as well as his flaws and a politician’s plan.

Key Words

Falstaff; banishment; Henry IV; Prince Hal




摘  要


Chapter 1 The Chosen Scapegoat-8

A.-Hal and His Ambition-8

B.-The Necessity of the Banishment-11

Chapter 2 Falstaff — A Follower at Lost-12

A.-Religious Background-13

B.-Falstaff —A Follower Goes Astray-14

C.-Falstaff Struggling between the Old and the New-15

Chapter 3 Falstaff— A Political Sacrifice-16

A.-Falstaff—The Subversion of Honour-16

B.-Falstaff—Blind in Politics-17

C.-Falstaff—A Destined Sacrifice-19


Work Cited-23