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Falstaff's words:  "the better part of valor is discretion."  Did Shakespeare intend...

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taratara | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 26, 2010 at 4:43 AM via web

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Falstaff's words:  "the better part of valor is discretion."  Did Shakespeare intend to be sarcastic. 

Yes, Falstaff was trying to rationalize his cowardly act and his statement is a clever way of doing that.  I would like to know whether people/philosphers today agree in the truth of this statement per se.

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 26, 2010 at 11:38 AM (Answer #1)

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This should be an easy assumption, particularly, because Shakespeare was a good observant of his day and he would definitely be kind of like a "Colbert" of his time and award the sarcasm where it belongs. This being said, it is definitely a work of creativity to say that "the better part of valor is discretion" when you have not done your part of valor to have EARNED any discretion, so to answer your question:YES. Shakespeare and many of his followers have a tendency to indulge in sarcasm and epigrams to make a point valid. And it happens to infuse mockery and comedy into the work of literacy as well.

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