The characters of Falstaff and Hotspur both belong to the class of the aristocrats and are descendants of noble lineages, and thus possess a good level of education. However, as far as similarities are concerned the list almost comes to an end here. In all the other fields, these two characters stand pole apart and the differences between the two can be attributed to their attitude towards life, death, honour, etc.
In the play, Hotspur emerges as honour personified, the demigod of honour. In the very first scene, the audience get a description of Hotspur by none other than the King himself. Bolingbroke honestly declares himself jealous of Northumberland for him being the father of “a son who is the theme of honour’s tongue” [Act I Scene I, line. 80]. Douglas is also quite reasonable in addressing him as “the king of honour” [Act IV Scene I, line. 10]. To Hotspur, honour is his first aim in life, the sole motive of his being alive. However, it is discernible that Hotspur’s concept of honour is based upon a selfish principle as he does not hesitate to sacrifice the general good to his sense of personal dignity. For instance, he does not postpone the battle with the King even after being warned by Worcester of the probability of being outnumbered by the opposition. He does so only to avenge the insulting reprimand by the king as soon as possible; and this very decision results in the defeat of the rebels. On the other extreme, Falstaff questions the popular concept of honour—
What is honour? A word. What is in that word honour? What is that
honour? Air. [Act V Scene I, line. 133-5]
He trivializes honour to the level of a puff of air. Reputation plays no role in his life and this old knight is a frequenter of cheap... [continues]
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