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The Pursuit of Honor In Shakespeares 1 Henry IV both Hal and Falstaff reflect upon honor which in this play is the appearance of nobility and it is a particular virtue that is valued like bravery in men Throughout the play Falstaff stays constant in his view that the pursuit of honor is a worthless and empty cause while Hals view changes from one that expects honor to just come to him to one that realizes that he must take an active role in obtaining honor This contrast between the two views help to show the tremendous change Hal goes through during the play Falstaffs soliloquy is an ironic contrast with how Hal regards honor Falstaffs soliloquy in Act 5 Scene 1 lines 127 ff questions the value of honor Falstaff is a man who takes no risks and the mere idea of throwing ones life away for this abstract thing men call honor seems ridiculous to him He begins by remarking to himself about how absolutely unnecessary it would be to go to ones death before their time He uses the metaphor of owing money to make a comparison between paying bills and death He simply cannot understand why one would be willing to pay such a debt before it is owedhe himself is loath to pay51127 such a thing as his life to what he views as a worthless and empty cause He personifies death in his metaphors saying he will not surrender to him until he must and will wait until death is inevitable Falstaff wonders what good honor will do him It may indeed prick him off51130 like being selected for death from a list by a pinand that will be the end of him He now begins a multitude of questions and answers which clarify his views on the virtue of honor He establishes that honor can lead to the grief of a wound51132 but cannot
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