The Merry Wives of Windsor
1.Date, models & additional information
·Probably written in 1597-8
·Shakespeare wrote The merry Wives, because the Queen wanted to see Falstaff in love (Falstaff, which she knew from an earlier work of Shakespeare, Henry IV)
·Merry Wives is Shakespeare's most middle-class play in setting, subject matter, and outlook. Merry Wives gives an impression of life in an English provincial town.
·It refers to older plays: the main plot resembles "Il Pecorone", an Italian play.
·Though the play does contain characters both above and below the middle class, everything functions to demonstrate the power of the middle class.
Mistress Ford: - married to the jealous Mr. Ford
- friend of Mistress Page
Mistress Page:- married to Mr. Page
- friend of Mistress Ford
Sir John Falstaff:- knight, but also a scoundrel and thief
- energetic, lively, cowardly, funny, and mischievous; fat, not very handsome
- thinks he can get away with seducing married women in order to gain access to their husbands' cash
Frank Ford:- very jealous of his wife
George Page:- not jealous of his wife
Sir Hugh Evans:- the local pastor from Wales
Doctor Caius:- local doctor from France
- wants to marry Anne Page, Mistress Page favours him
Anne Page:- daughter of George Page and Mistress Page
- doesn't want to marry the idiots her parents want her to, she chooses Fenton
Fenton:- young gentleman, in favour of Anne Page
Slender:- 3rd suitor for Anne Page
- unable to speak anything but nonsense to Anne
Shallow:- country justice
- Slender's uncle
Mistress Quickly:- Caius' servant
- everyone's messenger
Pistol:- Falstaff's men, who are dismissed by him
And others, like the Host of the Garter Inn, William Page...
·Evans would like Slender to marry Anne Page.
·At Page's house, where Falstaff is on a visit, Shallow starts a quarrel with Falstaff;
Then the men enter to dine with family Page, but Slender stays outside with Anne and tries unsuccessfully to converse with Anne.
·Falstaff reveals his plan to seduce Mistress Page and Mistress Ford
·He writes two identical love letters to them.
·As Pistol and Nym refuse to deliver the love letters to the women, Falstaff dismisses them.
Pistol and Nym (now angry at Falstaff) plot to ruin Falstaff's plans by telling Page and Ford of his intentions.
·Slender's servant, Simple, is sent to Mistress Quickly by Evans, to ask her to speak positively of Slender to Anne Page.
·Dr. Caius finds Simple in his house, and when he hears about his errand, Caius becomes angry at Evans and challenges him to a fight in a letter.
(Caius too is in love with Anne Page and blames Evans for encouraging Slender.)
·Later Fenton enters, who's also in love with Anne
·Mistress Ford receives Falstaff's letter. She's astonished and already wonders how to seek revenge.
Later Mistress Page appears and the women discover that they got identical letters.
They decide to ruin and humiliate Falstaff.
·Nym and Pistol tell Ford and Page about Falstaff's plans. Ford is horribly jealous and convinced his wife will dishonor him.
·Shallow and the Host of the Garter Inn enter with news of a fight between Caius and Evans. Page goes with them to watch.
·Ford makes a deal with the Host to be introduced to Falstaff in disguise, in order to find out about Falstaff and Mistress Ford.
·Mistress Quickly brings Falstaff the message from Mistress Ford to visit her
·Ford disguised as "Mister Brooke" tells Falstaff he was in love with Mistress Ford and wants Falstaff to prove if she's virtuous.
·Falstaff tells him about the date next morning with Mistress Ford. Fords jealousy is at its height
·Caius awaits Evans for their duel, but Evans is nowhere to be found.
·Caius and Evans meet and prepare to fight....