Falstaff Argues That 'Honour Is a Mere Scutcheon'. Do You Agree with This Notion of Honour? Discuss.

Topics: Honour, Honor, Coat of arms Pages: 2 (768 words) Published: August 27, 2013
A scutcheon is a crest of arms, that is, a general token of status. Falstaff means that honour is often waved about and trumpeted, but rarely means anything about the individual that claims to possess it. Characters like Falstaff, Hal and Henry all recognise the worth of honour but are all aware that it is only a implement to look better in the eyes of others, it has no real use, especially if you die trying to claim it. Although Falstaff has no use of the common code of honour, he will go to great lengths to look honourable in the eyes of others. Hotspur is a character who is committed to honour, whereas Falstaff has an apparent lack of honour.

Falstaff, Hal and Henry all recognise the worth of honour but are all aware that it is only a tool to look better in other people's eyes. Falstaff’s idea of honour is openly connected to his sense of moment itself. In the opening lines of his speech, Falstaff says, "‘Tis not due yet: I would be loath to pay him before his day." For Falstaff, he believes that an individual should not stray from the path in which was created by a higher power. The notion of honour, as he later describes in this speech, is a belief through which one can misbehave that natural order. He says, "Yea, but how if honor prick me off when I come on?" In order for one to possess honour, you must risk your own life. This type of gamble is not for Falstaff, as he decides that his own life is way more important than, "A word." Falstaff's speech shows the ways of how the notion such as honour is ephemeral and that it affects the physical world. Falstaff says, "Can honor set to a leg? No. Or an arm? No. Or take away the grief from a wound? No." Although Falstaff has no use of the common code of honour, he still makes an effort to look honourable in the eyes of the others. Virtue consists in action; the reward of that action is honour; to pursue more honour than virtuous action or to pursue honour for its own sake as a vice. Although not only does...
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