Henry IV Part 2

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As drunken and unscrupulously depraved as he is witty and lovable, Falstaff is Prince Hal’s best friend. Though he often expounds with virtuosic elegance about his heroism, uprightness, and worth, Falstaff is in fact constantly scheming to rob and cheat others to his own advantage. Falstaff fully expects that when Hal rises to become king, that he himself will be able to control the law and will get a plum job in the king's court. King Henry V’s sudden turn against Falstaff at play’s end may demonstrate the young king’s newfound moral clarity, but also stands out as the most heartbreaking moment in the play.

Sir John Falstaff Quotes in Henry IV Part 2

The Henry IV Part 2 quotes below are all either spoken by Sir John Falstaff or refer to Sir John Falstaff. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Simon & Schuster edition of Henry IV Part 2 published in 2006.
Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

Do you set down your name in the scroll of youth, that are written down old with all the characters of age? Have you not a moist eye? a dry hand? a yellow cheek? a white beard? a decreasing leg? an increasing belly? is not your voice broken? your wind short? your chin double? your wit single? and every part about you blasted with antiquity? and will you yet call yourself young? Fie, fie, fie, Sir John! (155-160)

Related Characters: The Lord Chief Justice (speaker), Sir John Falstaff
Related Symbols: Sickness
Page Number: 1.2.181-189
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Falstaff--now an elderly, feeble man--tries to convince the Chief Justice, a local authority, that he's really young and healthy. In a bullying, aggressive tone, the Justice tells Falstaff that he's clearly old, fat, and weak.

It's important to note that the Justice's descriptions of Falstaff's body convey a sense of withering and shriveling up. In the past, Falstaff "inflated" himself with language and rhetoric--and yet his body itself seems to be getting smaller (except for his belly) as it approaches death. There's something heroic about Falstaff's attempts to deny his own weakness: he's like Don Quixote, using imagination (and delusion) to transcend his old age. And yet at the end of the day, Falstaff is delusional: he refuses to accept the cold, hard facts of his time and sickness.

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A man
 can no more separate age and covetousness than a'
can part young limbs and lechery: but the gout 
galls the one, and the pox pinches the other; and 
so both the degrees prevent my curses. (198-200)

Related Characters: Sir John Falstaff (speaker)
Related Symbols: Sickness
Page Number: 1.2.234-238
Explanation and Analysis:

Falstaff here continues the discussion of his own disease and his decaying body. Falstaff makes the point that he has suffered from every disease because he's lived a long, successful life: as a young man, he was lustful, and therefore he has venereal disease now. As an old man, he's been greedy and gluttonous, resulting in gout. In short, Falstaff's diseases "tell a story"--he's had a rich life, full of sin but also adventure.

Falstaff's monologue shows his attempts to use language and humor to transcend his own weaknesses. Despite the pain he's probably experiencing, Falstaff finds ways to joke about his problems. For all his amoral, selfish nature, these roguish denials and rhetorical tricks make Falstaff remain (usually) a sympathetic character.

Act 3, Scene 2 Quotes

Lord, Lord, how subject we old men are to this vice of lying! (263)

Related Characters: Sir John Falstaff (speaker), Justice Shallow, Justice Silence
Page Number: 3.2.313-314
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Falstaff criticizes two old friends of his, Shallow and Silence, for lying about their pasts. While Shallow and Silence claimed to have once been passionate lovers and great adventurers, Falstaff knows better--back in the day, they were just shy, boring people. Falstaff bemoans old men's tendency to lie about their own experiences, exaggerating and distorting the truth to make themselves appear better than they really are.

It's important to keep in mind that Falstaff himself is the biggest liar of all: we've seen him claim to have defeated an entire army of men all by himself. (In other words, it takes a liar to spot a liar.) Falstaff seems to remain blissfully unaware of his own deceptions--he's lying to himself, as well as to other people.

Act 5, Scene 5 Quotes

I know thee not, old man: fall to thy prayers;

How ill white hairs become a fool and jester!

I have long dream'd of such a kind of man,

So surfeit-swell'd, so old and so profane;

But, being awaked, I do despise my dream.

Make less thy body hence, and more thy grace;

Leave gormandizing; know the grave doth gape

For thee thrice wider than for other men.

Reply not to me with a fool-born jest. (43-52)

Related Characters: Prince Hal/King Henry V (speaker), Sir John Falstaff
Page Number: 5.5.47-55
Explanation and Analysis:

In this most famous scene in the play, Henry V crosses paths with his old friend, Falstaff, whom he used to love getting drunk with, playing tricks on, and talking to. Now that Henry V is a powerful king, he can't risk being seen with his old friend, and here Henry is trying to send the message that he's a just, reasonable monarch; i.e., not the kind of person who would hang out with an old alcoholic like Falstaff, or give favors to his incompetent friends. And so Henry cruelly ignores and insults Falstaff, claiming not to know his old friend at all, but only to have "dreamed" of him once.

Henry V's behavior is both the right move and an incredibly cruel act. Falstaff, for all his faults, was the most lovable (and, traditionally, the most popular) character in the play. So when Henry ignores Falstaff, we can't help but think that he's sold a part of his soul in exchange for the crown. We miss the "old Henry"--the fun-loving teenager who used to get into mischief with Falstaff every night. Henry has gained the throne, and is acting as a just monarch who won't dole out unfair favors to his friends (like Falstaff was expecting), but in the process he's lost something crucial and human.

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Sir John Falstaff Character Timeline in Henry IV Part 2

The timeline below shows where the character Sir John Falstaff appears in Henry IV Part 2. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Warfare Theme Icon
...Prince Hal; Douglas has killed the Blunts; Lancaster, Westmoreland, and Stafford have run away; and Falstaff has been taken prisoner. Bardolph has heard this news, he explains, from a well-bred gentleman... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Disease Theme Icon
On a London street, Falstaff asks his page what the doctor has said about Falstaff’s urine. The page replies that... (full context)
Warfare Theme Icon
Falstaff tells his page that, though many men may try to make fun of him, he... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Disease Theme Icon
The Chief Justice enters and Falstaff identifies him as the man who imprisoned Prince Hal after the prince hit him during... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Disease Theme Icon
The Chief Justice will have none of Falstaff’s nonsense and says Falstaff must be deaf since he hasn’t reported to the judge’s office... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Disease Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
Warfare Theme Icon
Falstaff accuses the Chief Justice of being too old to understand his youthful ways but the... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Disease Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
Alone with his page, Falstaff laments that old age comes with greed like youth comes with lechery, thus the old... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Disease Theme Icon
Warfare Theme Icon
Alone on stage, Falstaff complains about the pain in his toe, which must be caused either by his gout... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
In a tavern in Eastcheap, Mistress Quickly discusses her lawsuit against Falstaff with the officers Fang and Snare. She is taking legal action because Falstaff owes her... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
...enters. Mistress Quickly immediately tries to get the Chief Justice on her side, explaining that Falstaff has unfairly bankrupted her and has lied about promising to marry her. The Chief Justice... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Falstaff takes Mistress Quickly aside to talk matters over for a bit in private. In the... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Warfare Theme Icon
...they face off with the Archbishop of York and the rebels. The Chief Justice ignores Falstaff’s repeated interjections to try to find out what’s going on and reminds Falstaff that he... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
Bardolph enters with Falstaff’s page, who has a letter for Prince Hal from Falstaff. In the letter, Falstaff pretentiously... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
Disease Theme Icon
At the tavern in Eastcheap, Doll Tearsheet, Mistress Quickly, and Falstaff enter completely drunk and Falstaff makes fun of the women for being diseased prostitutes while... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
...enter, disguised as waiters. Not realizing that the prince and Poins are in the room, Falstaff starts ranting insults against the two of them, calling them stupid and shallow. Prince Hal... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Prince Hal and Poins emerge, no longer in disguise, and Hal calls Falstaff out for having just insulted him in front of “this honest, virtuous, civil gentlewoman” Doll... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Falstaff insists that he wasn’t slandering Prince Hal at all, that he only “dispraised [Hal] before... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
Warfare Theme Icon
Peto, a drinking buddy of Falstaff and Hal, enters and tells everyone that King Henry IV is in Westminster and that... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Time Theme Icon
...fondly about their rowdy youth as law students while the men they've gathered to join Falstaff's army—Mouldy, Shadow, Wart, Feeble, and Bullcalf—stand by. Shallow and Silence were friends back then with... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Disease Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
Warfare Theme Icon
...army. Bullcalf claims to be “diseased,” having caught a cold while celebrating the king’s coronation. Falstaff enlists them all, making fun of their names and ignoring their excuses. He then has... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Warfare Theme Icon
...and Feeble give Bardolph bribes to buy their way out of serving in the army. Falstaff, Shallow, and Silence reenter. Bardolph whispers to Falstaff about the bribes. Shallow asks Falstaff which... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
Alone on stage, Falstaff vows that he’ll expose Shallow and Silence as frauds when he returns. “Lord, how subject... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Warfare Theme Icon
Battle trumpets sound. Falstaff and the rebel Coleville enter and meet one another. Falstaff pronounces that Coleville will soon... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Disease Theme Icon
Alone on stage, Falstaff gives a speech about wine: Lancaster is too serious and doesn’t like him, but it’s... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Falstaff, Falstaff’s page and Bardolph have arrived at Justice Shallow’s estate in Gloucester where the justice... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Disease Theme Icon
Alone on stage, Falstaff mocks Justice Shallow. His servants, watching him, become “foolish justices” while he among them becomes... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
At Justice Shallow’s estate in Gloucestershire, Falstaff, Bardolph, Justice Silence and Justice Shallow eat, drink, and joke around, making bawdy jokes and... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 5
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Grooms strew rushes on another London street in preparation for King Henry V’s coronation procession. Falstaff, Justice Shallow, Pistol, Bardolph, and Falstaff’s page stand excitedly in the crowds waiting to see... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
King Henry V enters with the Chief Justice and Falstaff shouts “my sweet boy!” “my heart!” trying to get his attention. King Henry V asks... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
Falstaff reassures Justice Shallow and the others not to get upset at King Henry V’s behavior.... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
The Chief Justice enters with Lancaster and officers and order Falstaff and his friends arrested. Falstaff, Justice Shallow, Falstaff’s page, Bardolph, and Pistol are taken offstage... (full context)
Epilogue
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
...lousiness of the play by performing a dance to entertain the audience. He promises that Falstaff’s story will be picked up again in the next play, which will also include King... (full context)