Why We Love Falstaff

It is no doubt a sign of Shakespeare’s genius that he could create a character like John Falstaff, who is universally loved not in spite of but because of his serious and serial flaws. At City Journal, Dalrymple examines Falstaff’s character and explains his appeal. One example:

Prince of perpetual gaiety Falstaff may be, but prince of perpetual untruth he is also (the two aspects are intimately connected, as if truth inevitably leads to sorrow). Lies come naturally to his lips, and when found out, he immediately thinks of a plausible explanation for them. Though he shows genius in this, it is of all the forms of human genius the most widely distributed, for even the most unimaginative man can usually find an ingenious excuse for himself.

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