Merry Wives of Windsor    View Details    Create a Copy

The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare

The Merry wives of Windsor is perhaps one of the only Shakespearean comedies where most of the characters are already married. The story centers around Sir John Falstaff, a knight who is everything but chivalrous. Not only is he a deceitful thief, but a liar and a scoundrel who hopes to woo married women out of their money. While the setting takes place mostly around the Garter Inn the plot centers on Falstaff trying to seduce Mrs. Ford and Mrs. page out of their husband money. Meanwhile the young Anne Page is busy choosing between three suitors.

When Falstaff sends identical letters to both Mrs. Page and Mrs. Ford the two friends quickly realize that they are being played. However, these quick thinking women do not hesitate to play the player and devise a scheme to teach Falstaff a lesson. Mrs. Ford agrees to lead him on as far as she can without compromising her marriage, so she sends a letter back to Falstaff agreeing to meet him at her house while her husband is away. When this meeting takes place Mrs. page is present and Mr. Ford, getting a sense that something is going on is suspicious, shows up at the house. Still trying to fulfill their plan of humiliating Falstaff the women tell him to hide in the dirty laundry and he is taken and found into the river. Mr. Ford believing that his wife is cheating on him confronts Falstaff under the assumed name of Brooke, and tries to convince Falstaff that he once tried to woo Mrs. Ford however she is honest and virtuous. Falstaff then tells Mr. Ford how he was just at the house and has an invitation to again go back that very night. When he goes back to the house this time the women dress him up like Mr. Ford’s fat aunt whom he hates. Then when Mr. Ford comes he beats the aunt away not realizing it is actually Falstaff. The women then explain all that has happened and Mr. Ford decides to join in on the humiliation and apologizes for not trusting his wife. The three plan to lure Falstaff into the woods the next night using their children as ghosts and goblins to scare him into thinking it is haunted.

Meanwhile Anne’s parents are fighting over who she should choose as a suitor. She has three viable options Slender, Caius, or Fenton; however her parents are fighting over which one she should choose. Back at the Inn the men all receive letters presumably from Anne stating that her parents are using the chaos of Falstaff’s humiliation for her suitors to elope with her. Each letter instructs the suitor that she will wear a specific outfit so that they may find her, whoever finds her first will marry her that night.

Meanwhile back in the woods the plan to humiliate Falstaff goes accordingly. However, soon after we learn that Master slender and Caius have married boys wearing Anne’s clothes, moreover it is learned that Anne has married Fenton, her true love. In the end it is supposed that Falstaff is not as nearly humiliated as Slender and Caius.

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