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What is Falstaff's role in Henry IV part one?

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elliebubbles | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 17, 2007 at 9:12 PM via web

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What is Falstaff's role in Henry IV part one?

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 19, 2007 at 3:35 AM (Answer #1)

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His role is essential, and for audiences, almost central. It is also multi-faceted. Most simply, he is an example of a common comic character type from the period, and so he is meant to be funny.

However, to young Prince Hal, he is a substitute father figure, and one who offers acceptance without the heavy hand of expectations his real father raised.

Falstaff is also a kind of worldly education; through him Hal learns about common people, and about the darknesses and complexities of the human spirit. In this odd way, Falstaff allows Hal to become a great king.

Greg

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