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Word Count: 1,227
If there is one quality that distinguishes Shakespeare from all other playwrights it is his uncanny ability to breathe life into his characters Most playwrights write plots before they write characters The characters are then selected based on whether or not they suit the framework of the plot They are confined by their narrow functions within the play Shakespeare writes differently He creates characters with a life of their own Consequently the plots of Shakespeares plays unfold naturally as the result of the set of characters created being placed in situation dictated at the beginning of the play plot twists notwithstanding Henry IV Part 1 has two distinct storylines that unfold in parallel until the final act in which they converge They are more-or-less dominated by the figures of Hotspur and Falstaff respectively Furious at the Kings refusal to pay for his brother-in-law Mortimers ransom Hotspur raises a rebel army aimed at overthrowing the King whose sovereignty he has just helped establish His scheming and the Kings mounting of a counter-force drive the plot of the first storyline Falstaffs shenanigans at the Boars Head Tavern and various criminal activities form the substance of the second storyline These two characters the focus of this essay are what I found most alive in the play In my opinion Hotspur is alive in the sense that he is a life-like character and Falstaff in the sense that he is full of life Hotspur is life-like in the sense that he represents the typical English feudal warrior of his time His views and his manner reflect that First of all he values his honor above his own life In the final scene of the play as he lies mortally wounded by Prince he tells him that he better brooks the loss of brittle life than those proud titles he hast won of him They wound his thoughts worse than the Princes sword his flesh l 77-79
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