King Henry IV, Part I Essay

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Falstaff has inspired an abundance of criticism, to say the least. Critics tend to agree that Shakespeare's characterization of Falstaff is one of the playwright's greatest achievements. Probably the most debated aspect of Falstaff's character is his cowardice. Eighteenth-century commentary, beginning with Maurice Morgann's study of Falstaff, focussed heavily on this subject. Morgan argued that the "real" Falstaff was a courageous figure, not the drunken coward he appeared to be. A. C. Bradley continued this line of argument in the nineteenth century. Bradley maintains that while Falstaff may act in a cowardly manner at times, he is actually not a coward. Other critics, including Robert Willson, conclude that in naming Falstaff, Shakespeare intended to indicate that cowardice, as well as gluttony, are aspects of Falstaff's character.

Taking a wider approach to the analysis of Falstaff are critics such as Axel Clark, who examines Falstaff's role and power as...

(read more from the Critical Essay #14 section)

This section contains 1,303 words
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