Presentation Title: Evading Mortality with Humor: Falstaff and the Wife of Bath

Section: Ethical Complications III

Location: , 303

Date & Time: Friday, April 19, 2013 - 2:30pm - 2:45pm


William Shakespeare’s Falstaff and Geoffrey Chaucer’s the Wife of Bath are two of the greatest and most-discussed literary characters in the English language. Critics often connect the two, citing the Wife as a possible inspiration for Falstaff. In my research, I argue that the characters’ dual nature is what makes them so appealing to us as readers. Both Falstaff and the Wife of Bath embody two elements at the core of human nature: they live their lives as pleasure-seekers and they are deeply afraid of their own mortality. We enjoy and laugh at their humor, wit, and larger-than-life personalities, while we empathize with their fear of death. I discuss how the intricate weaving of perhaps the greatest dichotomy of human nature has caused these characters to become two of the most recognized names in Shakespeare and Chaucer’s works.

Type of Presentation: Individual oral

Oral presenters
Presentation Area: English & American Literature

Presentation Topic: Identity

Arts presenters

Class Project
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Presenter Information
Presenter(s): Berry, Jessica Kelly (Jess)
Major(s): English and American Literature
Class Year(s): 2013

Sponsor(s): Bertolini, John A.
Dept(s): English and American Literature

Moderator: ,