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Merry Wives of Windsorby William Shakespeare"The Merry Wives of Windsor is a comedy by William Shakespeare, first published in 1602, though probably written several years earlier. It features the fat knight Sir John Falstaff, and is Shakespeare's only play to deal exclusively with contemporary English middle-class life. Some elements of The Merry Wives of Windsor may haveMerry Wives of Windsorby William Shakespeare"The Merry Wives of Windsor is a comedy by William Shakespeare, first published in 1602, though probably written several years earlier. It features the fat knight Sir John Falstaff, and is Shakespeare's only play to deal exclusively with contemporary English middle-class life. Some elements of The Merry Wives of Windsor may have been adapted from Il Pecorone, a collection of stories by Ser Giovanni Fiorentino; one of these stories was included in William Painter's The Palace of Pleasure."...

Title : Merry Wives Of Windsor
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 21371774
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 189 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Merry Wives Of Windsor Reviews

  • BillKerwin
    2019-03-20 09:17

    Okay, I finished it. After all these years, the only Shakespeare play I could never get interested in is finally completed. I read every word of it, and I am sure I'll never read it again.It's not that bad, really--if you like bedroom farces punched up with dialect humor, second-rate puns and third-rate malapropisms. I found it pretty dreary, and the humor of Falstaff--which I looked forward to as a small refreshing pool in the middle of all this sand--is a pale shadow of his wit in Henry IV.

  • Bookdragon Sean
    2019-04-17 09:19

    This is Sir John Falstaff’s play; it was a chance for Shakespeare to pad out one of his most popular characters and give him another comic moment. And he failed completely. So when Shakespeare wrote this he focused on this one character, and as a result the rest of the play suffered. The cast were all mere plot devices, a means for Falstaff to arrive at his destination (the dénouement) in the woods wearing his antlers. They don’t seem to have the same level of personality or depth that is often attributed to Shakespeare’s characters. The wives of Windsor are rather absent for most of the play, surprisingly. Falstaff’s wooing of them had very little stage time. We see the letter he sent to them both, but little else. As you can probably tell, I didn’t really this. I have very few good things to say about it if any. Scholars argue that there is much of Shakespeare in this play. Indeed, things such as his application for a coat of arms in his personal life, his desire to move up the social ladder and his love of Ovid’s works. But this is also true for many of Shakespeare’s plays. For example, the rape scene inTitus Andronicus is lifted form Ovid. Not a bad thing of course, but I don’t think it’s enough to make this play worthy of note. Shakespeare was an entertainer, and this is one of his least entertaining plays. The fact that he adapted parts of Ovid doesn’t change this. It’s also one of his least popular plays, and I really can see why. The plot was rather dull and most of it was in prose rather than verse, so it wasn’t overly pleasant to read either. This isn’t a play I will read again in the future. Next on my Shakespeare list is A Midsummer’s Night Dream. I’m looking forward to reading it, hopefully it will make me forget about this one!

  • Darwin8u
    2019-04-10 09:28

    "We have some salt of our youth in us."-- William Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor, Act II, Scene 2Meh. Not my favorite. There were a few good lines and obviously any book with Sir. John Falstaff deserves an extra star (so ⋆⋆ + Falstaff = ⋆⋆⋆). As a whole I didn't like it. It felt cheap and a bit of a throw-away for a mature William Shakespeare, but I'm sure it played well for the dirty and unwashed. And, OK, to be honest there were some pretty fantastic lines. But mostly it felt like it belonged snuggled in a irreverent threesome next to The Comedy of Errors and The Taming of the Shrew. For me it was the Elizabethan equivalent of an Adam Sandler play. Obviously, THAT says as much about ME and my preferences as it does about these plays, but dear God let the pudgy lust and the dirty laundry melt off me tonight.Best lines:Here will be an old abusing of God's patience, and the King's English." (Act I, Scene 4)“Why, then the world ’s mine oyster,Which I with sword will open.” (Act II, Scene 2)“I assure thee: setting the attractions of mygood parts aside I have no other charms.” (Act II, Scene 2)"You may know by my size, that I have a kind of alacrity in sinking. " (Act III, Scene 5)“I think the devil will not have me damned, lest the oil that's in me should set hell on fire.” (Act V, Scene 5)

  • Cindy Rollins
    2019-04-14 15:33

    This is one of Shakespeare's bawdy plays and it is quite silly but it is also highly entertaining. I love the way Shakespeare has different classes of people use words differently often leading to misunderstanding. The story swirls around one of Shakespeare's favorite characters-Falstaff. Falstaff is a well-developed character who consistently misunderstands himself. While this is a jolly comedy it is probably not one for the family since its plot centers on adultery or at least the idea that it might occur.

  • Bettie☯
    2019-04-03 10:17

    (view spoiler)[Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]

  • Melora
    2019-04-12 14:24

    Not really my sort of thing, but “Merry Wives” is so much better than some of the other comedies I've read this year (Love's Labour's Lost, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Comedy of Errors), that I'm giving it three stars, just in recognition of that. This is very silly, frivolous, and shallow, but Mistress Page and Mistress Ford were engaging, and it was satisfying to see this lecherous, arrogant Falstaff being thoroughly put down. Falstaff here bears only a tenuous connection with the gargantuan character in the Henry plays – he has the same name, same companions, same lusts – but he lacks the depth and ungovernable force that makes that character so memorable. Another point in the play's favor is that there are some really marvelous lines. For example, here is Falstaff, seriously rattled after being transported to a river in a basket of filthy laundry and then tossed in...”Have I liv'd to be carried in a basket like a barrow of butcher's offal? And to be thrown in the Thames? Well, and I be serv'd such another trick, I'll have my brains ta'en out and butter'd and give them to a dog for a new-year's gift.”And later, when he's in the woods and believes he's surrounded by ferocious fairies...”Heavens defend me from that Welsh fairy, lest he transform me to a piece of cheese!”I guess we all have our own weird little phobias.Finally, the excellent audio performance from Arkangel Shakespeare made this much more enjoyable than reading alone would have been. All of the actors and actresses are good, but Sylvestra le Touzel, as Mistress Ford, and Penny Downie, as Mistress Page, amused me particularly with their cheery “Wilma and Betty” tittering (from the Flintstones – is that still a recognizable reference?) .

  • J.M.
    2019-04-20 14:11

    December of Drama 2015, day three"Come, come, sir. I'm a man who would rather be known as a cuckold than a fool!"Alright, so that line's from Barry Lyndon, but I thought it appropriate. This is a bedroom farce, with two married middle-class men (Ford and Page) mostly distinguished from each other by the presence or absence of jealousy, and their 'Merry' wives who repeatedly trick and humiliate Falstaff, their would-be lover. I happen to love a little dramatic irony, so the scene(s) where Ford disguises himself and converses with Falstaff were pretty amusing.That said, I can see why this play is a bit of a chore, or a bore, for other readers. Especially those who try to read it without footnotes. Much of the humor is obviously dated, although much of it is also absolutely filthy. Not that that's a bad thing, I'm just saying.In only three days of Shakespeare, I've seen a trend develop. Each play has gotten closer to England (The Taming of the Shrew, Italy; Love's Labour's Lost, France) and each a little better than the last. Everything's been a little light so far, starting with these comedies, so I think I'll end with Richard III.

  • Emily
    2019-04-02 12:19

    I read this to prep for seeing the play this week. I have never read or seen this play, and thought it wouldn't hurt to go in knowing the story.The Folger Shakespeare Library editions are laid out nicely. Every page of the play has a facing page that explains the more inscrutable phrases. The introductory sections were brief but interesting, and there are recommendations for further reading in the back, along with an essay about the play.If I ever feel the need to study before going out to enjoy another Shakespeare play, I would look for this format again.The play itself was fun. I always choose comedies when I buy play tickets. Shakespeare comedies are always full of tricks and hijinks, and Merry Wives of Windsor is no exception. Stir in a couple of pranksters and dudes with funny accents, and we have ourselves a romp that should be great to see on stage.

  • Scott
    2019-04-06 15:08

    Objectively, there's a lot of humor in it: puns, one liners, situational comedy, slapstick, etc. Some of it is rather clever, but most of it didn't strike me as very funny. Not sure if it's just not my kind of humor, or maybe it was funnier to members of Elizabethan society than to modern folks (in other words, "you just had to be there"). For instance, making fun of foreigners' accents is less acceptable now.I still didn't care for Falstaff much, but it was kind of fun to see him get his comeuppance. The subplot involving the courtship of Anne Page failed to hold my interest, probably because none of the characters involved was particularly engaging. The "Merry Wives" themselves, Mistresses Page and Ford, were my favorite characters.

  • Melissa
    2019-04-06 10:28

    I adore Shakespeare. I’ve read at least half of his works. I’ve seen dozens of his plays performed. In college I took a class completely devoted to learning how to read and interpret his writing. I’ve visited the Globe in England and every time I read a new play of his I find a new reason to love his work.His writing isn’t perfect. He ripped story lines from others and his plays can be repetitive. He can be long-winded when he wants to, but all-in-all, there’s more brilliance than hot air there. When Shakespeare ran out of words to express what he was feeling, he invented them! That’s just amazing. Not only did he invent words, but they are ones that stuck and that we still use today. I love his wit. He was incredibly funny. Many of his jokes were topical, so they aren’t nearly as amusing to us as they were to audiences that lived during his lifespan. It’s like someone watching an episode of Saturday Night Live from 30 years ago and expecting to catch every joke from the weekend update. On to the The Merry Wives of Windsor. This isn’t my favorite play, it isn’t even my favorite comedy by the Bard, but it is entertaining. It’s well-known purely because it brought back a fan-favorite, Sir John Falstaff (from the Henry IV history plays). The basic plot is as follows, that well-loved pompous old fool, Falstaff, decides to seduce two of the married ladies in the town of Windsor. The confusion that ensues is almost like a French farce. People run in, doors slam, identities are mistaken, etc. In other words, good times. Always the idiot, Falstaff makes the mistake of wooing two women who happen to be best friends. Mistress Ford and Mistress Page both receive love letter from the fat knight and devise a plan to trap and mock him. Mistress Ford’s husband ends up as collateral damage when he’s led to believe his wife is actually cheating on him. What sets this play apart from his many others is the fact that it’s the only one set in contemporary (for Shakespeare) England. Most of his other plays either took place in the past or in another country. The subplot involves a husband and wife (the Pages) who are trying to marry their daughter off to men she doesn't love. The clever daughter evades her parents' wishes by coming up with a tricky solution of her own to get the man she truly loves. If you're new to Shakespeare, see it live first! It's a play, it was meant to be seen and not just read. Once you've done that, explore the beauty of his writing. Much Ado About Nothing is a great place to start in the comedies and Hamlet remains my favorite tragedy... so far. ---One side note, if you’re looking for a definitive edition of Shakespeare, I would highly recommend the The Riverside Shakespeare. It is massive (like five inches thick), but I love it.

  • Marija
    2019-03-20 09:31

    This play is pure slapstick comedy. It reminds me of those good British comedy series… a sprinkling of Blackadder’s caustic wit, mixed with a dash of Compo’s antics from Last of the Summer Wine. Even though the play lacks the sophistication of Shakespeare’s other plays, in terms of theme, it’s still a lot of fun.Falstaff’s the kind of guy you want to hate, because he’s old, fat and lecherous, a real sleaze always looking for new ways to make an easy buck—especially if the money comes from rich married women. Everyone in Windsor hates him. Mistress Ford states, “What tempest, I trow, threw, this whale, with so many tuns of oil in his belly, ashore at Windsor?” But still, he’s the kind of guy that no matter how much hate you have for him, you can’t help but love him at the same time. His ego is so huge that no matter how much he gets tossed about or stepped on he’s never daunted and still manages to stay afloat for another adventure. It’s great! ;)I also love the accents in this play. Doctor Caius’ French accent was like none I’ve ever read before. It read like a mix of my grandmother’s Lithuanian accent what with all of his “vit all my heart” exclamations and an Italian accent with his “give-a dis…” commands. Sir Hugh Evans’ Welsh accent is also amusing as well… “goot worts” (good words), and taken out of context, some of his colorful phrases can seem downright dangerous: “Pless my soul; how full of cholers I am, and trempling of mind!—I shall be glad, if he have deceived me.—How melancholies I am!—I will knog his urinals about his knaves’s costard, when I have goot opportunities for the ’ork:—pless my soul!” At moments like these, I wish my copy of Shakespeare’s plays was annotated! I don’t think I’ve yet fully mastered that translation. ;)

  • Karolína Pavlíková
    2019-03-30 09:34

    As many other Shakespeare´s plays, The merry wives of Windsor didn´t disappoint me. I was really looking forward to read it and I can proudly say, it was worth it. The Shakespeare´s typical game with many storylines that all ended up really surprisingly (I mean like, if you knew, how it would end, Shakespeare still can make it curious) were here found too and spiced with as many interests as here could be. And that´s awesome, if we consider the fact, the bard had about fourteen days to write it.Even I read this book in Czech, I especially loved the language jokes about the speech of Evans and Caius. And this also reminded me about the fact, that my native language has no problem with translation of idioms: there is not a melody in any language Czech can sing and play. :)

  • Lady Shockley
    2019-03-30 15:24

    The Merry Wives of Windsor stands out among Shakespeare's plays as the only one centered on middle- class people, as opposed to royalty and the ruling classes. Much like A Midsummer's Night's Dream, the final scene focuses on an encounter between the human players and the faerie realm. In Midsummer, the fairies are of the Royal type - Oberon and Titania - which corresponds with the Duke and Queen who are to be married, around which the other plots revolve; in MW, the fairies are of common trickster stock, being played by the middle class humans we have already met, and led by Herne the Hunter, a keeper of the forest - a goddish personage, yes, but one with a job. Quite an Interesting contrast to some of the other plays, and enjoyable, if farcical.

  • Nazzarena
    2019-04-19 08:34

    Non solo intrighi e beffe, ma un uso della lingua spettacolare. Io amo quest'uomo.

  • Scottsdale Public Library
    2019-04-16 13:36

    I’ve rarely enjoyed anything by Shakespeare but this was different than any other play I’ve read. It’s one of the few books I’ve literally laughed out loud while reading. The comedy is absolutely outrageous and, relative to Shakespeare’s other plays, a pretty easy read. The plot follows multiple romance stories and, as in Shakespeare’s other comedies, it quickly gets more and more messy and more and more funny. -Benjamin H., Teen Advisory Board Reviewer

  • Morgan
    2019-04-17 08:22

    This play was alright, again I liked it because of Falstaff.

  • Joseph McGarry
    2019-04-13 16:37

    This is not strictly a review of the book. The play has been around for over 400 years, so anything I say won't make any difference. This is my impression of the play produced by the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, MN last night. Shakespeare's plays were not meant solely to be read. They were meant to be performed. It is in that spirit that I present my thoughts.First, something about the play. This is, to use modern TV terminology, a spinoff. Reportedly, Queen Elizabeth loved the character of Falstaff in Henry IV Part 1, and asked Shakespeare to write a play centering on Falstaff. The result was this. Don't worry, I'm not giving away anything that's not in the Cliffs Notes. Falstaff arrives in Windsor with no cash. He soon devises a plot to woo Mrs Page and Mrs Ford, the Merry Wives in the title, and then extort them for money. Falstaff makes the mistake, however, of sending the exact same letter to each wife. The wives meet, discover this, and plot to embarrass Falstaff. In addition, Mr Ford, disguised as Brook, wants Falstaff to test his wife's fidelity. I would hilarity ensues here, but I've seen that on the back of too many DVD cases where the hilarity does not ensue. Falstaff winds up hiding in a laundry basket, and then dumped in the River Thames. He also is forced to dress as a woman and it is beaten with a cudgel. Meanwhile, Anne Page is scheduled to receive a large inheritance when she turns 17. She has 3 suitors for her hand in marriage. The first, Mr Slender, has money but is, in Shakespeare's terms, an "idiot." Her father prefers him. The second, Dr Caius, is a pompous Frenchman. Shakespeare has a lot of fun with his accent. Her mother prefers him. The third, Mr Fenton, has money, is humble, and has his wits about him. Anne prefers him. Mrs Quickly acts as the messenger between Mr Fenton and Anne, as well as between Falstaff and Mrs Ford. The climax is in the forest, where Falstaff wears deer antlers and is poked with hot pokers by children pretending to be fairies. In the end, to quote another Shakespeare play, all's well that ends well. Anne marries Mr Fenton, the Pages and the Fords rekindle their love, and Falstaff observes, "I do begin to perceive that I am made an ass." The Festival sets this play in the early 1900s, a time of relative peace in the world. The characters don't have to worry about larger geopolitical concerns; they can focus on their own lives. It is a bit ironic, though, that this weekend is the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which set the events in motion that started World War I. The production uses period music to set the scene, with songs such as Bicycle Built for Two (and yes, there is a bicycle built for two in the production) and Moonlight Bay. This definitely adds something to the play. They also add an introduction, letting everyone know who the characters are. They don't shy away from the text. We were all laughing at the appropriate times. It's not that hard to follow along. The production was excellent. Special commendations go the following actors (if I don't name an actor, it is only for space limitations):Jonathan Gillard Daly as Falstaff. He plays Falstaff as the buffoon Shakespeare wrote, but with an element of playfulness. I could see him wearing a red suit and carrying a bag of toys. Based on the forest scene, I could also see him blending in with the reindeer. Lol.Tarah Flanagan as Mrs Ford and Sigrid Sutter as Mrs Page. Their plotting turns this into the Real Housewives of Windsor. Leslie Brott as Mrs Quickly. She keeps talking and talking, and doesn't know when to shut up. Perfect.Steve Hendrickson as Mr Ford. His jealousy, especially when he plays Brook, is way over the top. Jenni McCarthy (no, not the host on The View) as Anne Page. She brings an innocence to the role, oombined with determination to get what she wants. Christopher Gerson as Pastor Evans. He does the Welsh accent well. He did this last year in Henry V, and it's only improved since then. And a special note to Andrew Carlson as Dr Caius. His over the top French accent reminds me of Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther movies. He also had the biggest laugh line of the night. He said, in his fake accent, "If there be one, or two, I shall make-a the turd." It took about 5 minutes for everyone in the audience to stop laughing and get on with the play. All in all an excellent performance. I can see why this play has been around for over 400 years, and the Festival has been around for 11 seasons.For more information on the Great River Shakespeare Festival, go to www.grsf.orgFor more information about Winona, MN, go to

  • Daisy
    2019-03-24 15:18

    SCHOLARS, PROFESSORS, EXPERTS AND GENERALLY EVERYONE YOU SHOULD TRUST ABOUT SHAKESPEARE: The Merry Wives of Windsor is, clearly, one of Shakespeare's weakest plays, due to what we can only hope was rushed writing and little revision. The uninteresting characters stumble around what we can barely call a plot, with tired, forced humour and a poor parody of one of Shakespeare's finest comedic characters, John Falstaff, to polish off this disaster of a play from our great Bard.ME: This play is awesome! One of my favourites of Shakespeare's works! When I read this for the first time a few years ago as my third Shakespeare play it instantly became my favourite and I've been saying as much even as I made my way through fourteen other (awesome) plays since then. However, constantly hearing people who actually know what they're talking about when it comes to Shakespeare using this play as an example of the not-so-great plays he wrote, I started doubting whether I should still trust the opinion of the unexperienced-Shakespeare-reader I was two years ago, and keep telling people this was my favourite. So, I reread it. And it was still amazing.I can definitely see where a lot of people are coming from when they say this play is one of Shakespeare's weakest, as the plot isn't the most exciting and I'd compare the writing with the coarse language of the servants in Romeo and Juliet - with hardly any metaphorical observations on life or even just simple verse in sight (if any, actually). I can't comment on the representation of Falstaff in comparison to what he's like in Henry IV, which seems to be many people's main problem with this play, having never read those plays, but I found him an entertaining and funny enough character purely in this story. As for the other characters, they may not be Shakespeare's most iconic, but I thought they were entertaining to read about and everyone was very well distinguished, which I think is worth noting given the large cast we were presented with.My favourite thing about this play is the skillful mockery of the arrogant and foolish character of Sir John Falstaff by the so-called 'merry wives', which unlike many other supposedly hilarious jokes involved in some of Shakespeare's plays, I actually found really funny. This was probably helped by the underlying feminist themes broached in Mistress Ford and Page's motivations, which I could definitely relate to, and I would honestly say they hold a position amongst Shakespeare's strongest female characters. Another thing I especially like about this play is the Falstaff and Brooke scenes in the tavern. For me those few short scenes have a real atmosphere and are written exquisitely well, adding a lot to the play. Though I'll admit the way (view spoiler)[the wives and their husbands made up (hide spoiler)] did feel pretty rushed and unsatisfactory, I really liked the overall ending to the play and this particular storyline probably says more about the position of women in that society than it does about Shakespeare's plotting ability, so it's not a huge drawback about the play for me.I know this play has some flaws and it's not perfection, but out of all the plays I've read it's one of the ones that I've found most fun and entertaining to read, so I'd say it's definitely worth a try if you like Shakespeare, despite the heavy criticism it gets.

  • Ben
    2019-03-20 08:13

    Why, Sir John, do you think, though we would have thrust virtue out of our hearts by the head and shoulders, and have given ourselves without scruple to hell, that ever the devil could have made you our delight?Has Sir John Falstaff learned the humour of the age? to suffer tactics similar to his own, turning him into a pathetic minstrel unwittingly singing praises of his own demise? Perhaps his humour, as Nym would overly use the word, permeates the age across gender and social barriers. Mistresses Page and Ford do not count themselves above such deceptive tactics to profit in humour. Nor does Master Fenton. I gladly meet Falstaff again in this Merry Wives of Windsor. Not only did I miss him after finishing the Henry IVs, but I feel that I know a little more about him in terms of his literary merit. On one level, Shakespeare could have intended to use him as a symbol of the haughty hypocrisy and base normality of English nobility, soldiers and knighthood. Yet when comparing this "Merry" John Falstaff to the Falstaff at young Prince Henry V's side, we see more of a transition than static statement. Falstaff himself represents the turning of the age in England to one of national conscience and meaning, a state in which he has trouble placing himself. These comic characters of Windsor care little about laws, state regulations or anyone other than themselves for that matter. They do not mind humiliating, propositioning married women, venting their anger and insecurities upon innocents, supporting others against each other for profit or neglecting their vocations for, well...silliness. With the coronation of Henry V, this petty rabbling dissolves away.Of course, it's just a play and one which assuredly entertained the masses at the Globe, or wherever Shakespeare staged it. On might think that he abandoned some intellectual integrity in order to coax a laugh or two. Alas, should we forget that we speak of Shakespeare? Of his familiar comedies, I think this one had the most complex plot though simplest adhesive. As in other comedies, deception fuels the humour. Yet the audience sees every deceptive move at every level. They also usually see the perpetrator and victim quite clearly and thusly knowing full well with whom they ought to sympathize. Yet with these Windsor folk, they all suffer as the perpetrator and the victim. So how ought the audience react? Who should they laugh at, pity, sympathize with or scorn? Due to this complexity, I found the play rather flat in terms of meaning. After they bow, nothing changes either within the minds of the patrons or in the hearts of society. We witnessed one big trick over-cooked by several tiny versions of itself. Life moves on as it had.But it was funny!

  • Beth
    2019-04-16 13:12

    "Wives may be merry and yet honest too."I've attended live performances of Shakespeare plays off and on for the last twenty years, and have seen The Merry Wives of Windsor at least twice. It's never been one of my favorites, and reading it through was, in part, an attempt to figure out why.This time, it felt like a "college humor" play, with plenty of lewd puns, silly accents, and practical jokes. I'm not a fan of practical jokes in real life, but since Falstaff seems not to be hurt or bear grudges--or be affected at all--by how he's treated, blithely falling into trap after trap, it's easier to roll with it.I liked the wives, who say what they want to say--that their fidelity is not at risk, and never has been--with humor and self-confidence; and the mercenary Mistress Quickly, who seems willing to help out whoever asks her without any judgment (or discretion).A couple of places where Wives feels lacking is that there are maybe a few too many characters, the romance comes across as rote, and some of the scenes felt extraneous. I can easily see a scene or two being trimmed for a modern performance, in the interest of time, or keeping the focus on the main plot threads.The Folger edition I read has copious footnotes and a few essays. The footnotes were very helpful as I got a foothold on the somewhat difficult snarl of references and puns in the early scenes in the play, and here and there beyond that.The supplementary material runs a nice range from basic to meticulously detailed. I confess I only read the first couple of paragraphs of each piece, since my goal was a basic understanding of the play, and the essays were on the academic side. As has been true several times in the past, the ten-page essay on the play in Shakespeare After All suited my needs perfectly. That book is a great resource for people on a level similar to mine, and highly recommended!In the end, my more careful look at Merry Wives didn't make it rise much in my estimation. It has some nostalgic value in being the play that my to-be partner and I saw on our first date, and the effort to read it now will be worthwhile when we go to see it again this time next year. :)

  • Steve Hemmeke
    2019-04-02 15:14

    John Falstaff plans to seduce Mrs. Ford, who is married and rich and controls the purse strings. His servants betray him and tell her. She and her friend have a great time playing with Falstaff – inviting him over, pretending to want to be seduced, but then crying that Mr. Ford is coming. Hilarity ensues with Falstaff tossed in a ditch and beat up dressed as a woman. In the end they both show themselves, with their husbands and friends, rebuking and scorning Falstaff: “Serve Got and leave your desires.”“Fie on sinful fantasy!Fye on lust and luxury!Lust is but a bloody fire,Kindled with unchaste desire,Fed in heart; whose flames aspire,As thoughts do blow them, higher and higher,Pinch him, fairies, mutually;Pinch him for his villany;Pinch him, and burn him, and turn him about,Till candles, and star-light, and moonshine be out.”Meanwhile, Ford’s friend and her husband, the Pages, each want to marry their daughter Anne to a different man. Anne likes neither but is in love with Fenton. During the last scene where Falstaff is shamed, each man takes the wrong person to steal off and marry. Fenton and Anne elope and come back married, to the Pages' shock. They admit the rightness of love winning the day, though, and revel in being tricked themselves.Thoughts:1. Falstaff doesn’t really repent. He admits they’ve made a fool of him, and that’s about it. Some people never change.2. Though there are moments of innuendo and sexual compromise suggested, the play’s message overall upholds chastity, virtue, and true love. It does this by showing two contrasting twin vices defeated: abusing marriage by adultery, and abusing love by arranging marriages without regard for it.3. The theme of revenge and jealousy is strong. When you see evil in someone, you want to get back at them, and teach them a lesson. Falstaff’s servants see it in him, Mrs. Ford sees it in Falstaff, the host sees it in the Pages and so helps Fenton, and so on. The play basically approves of this impulse, when it is in the confines of justice.

  • Jenny
    2019-04-06 10:10

    3.5 starsClearly an earlier Shakespeare play. I liked seeing Falstaff in a different light, not in one of the history plays as comic relief but as a main character in a comedy, one being (unjustly?) abused and made a mockery of. The language isn't as beautiful as I've come to expect from Shakespeare, but I enjoyed the wordplay and the use of language as a theme. Dr. Caius is French, Sir Hugh Evans is Welsh, and they both misuse English in a comical way. It seems smart and ahead of its time to play around with language and foreigners' misuse of it when "proper" English was still in development and not even standardized at the time. I like that characters get upset when Caius and Hugh use the wrong words or mispronounce words, especially when those characters don't speak "proper" English themselves.The main story, the merry wives seeking revenge on Falstaff, is entertaining. I like the commentaries on husbands and wives and on men and women, and I like that Shakespeare's women hold their own in this play. Of course, one can't overlook the fact that the "women" were really men in disguise on stage. And, as always, disguise is a theme in this play. At the very end, there are even two men who sneak off to marry women and find that the "women" they sneaked off with are really boys in disguise. Sort of like all the "women" on stage anyway. I recommend this because it's entertaining. Some of the plot points move more slowly or seem pointless, but it's still worth a read and will provide some good laughs. Because some of the comedy seems more slapstick, I think this would be even more worthwhile to see on stage. Not one of my favorite Shakespeare plays but definitely not a least favorite! Happy birthday, Will ;)

  • Carol
    2019-04-15 13:26

    It could be that I was taking pain medicine, but, for me, the humor fell flat. Falstaff attempts a dalliance with two married women; they get his drift and decide to play him for a fool. It's silly and bawdy and sort of sophomoric. Allow me to set-up my favorite line of this play. I'm a church musician. Every hymn has two components: the words and the tune. Words have meters: Short Meter; Common Meter; Long Meter; and all sorts of variations. Amazing Grace is C.M. (If you count out the syllables, you'll see.) Tunes have discrete names: Duke St., Old 100th, Kingsfold, Southwell. Some old hymnals only printed the words with several options for the tunes. Being an autodidact, I teased this out by studying the indices of hymnals. I remember the moment when I realized that Greensleeves (What Child Is This) could theoretically be sung to the tune Showers of Blessing (which I privately call an 'all-skate' hymn). It would be a travesty, but it could be done.Enter Mrs. Ford, Act 2, Scene 1, discussing Falstaff's overtures. And yet he would not swear; praised women's modesty; and gave such orderly and well-behaved reproof to all uncomeliness, that I would have sworn his disposition would have gone to the truth of his words; but they do no more adhere and keep place together than the hundredth psalm to the tune of Green sleeves.

  • awgusteen
    2019-03-22 14:16

    I had been told by my Favorite Professor that this play kinda sucked. And he was right. The plot is repetitive and the characters (other than a few) are fairly stock. What saves this play from being a total dud?Falstaff. I admit that I'm biased. Falstaff is favorite of all of Shakespeare's characters and so any play that includes him wins points automatically. He's roughish without being loathsome, and his ability to admit he deserves what he got is at least somewhat admirable. Mistress Quickly as well is one of Shakes' greatest comic characters, and so seeing her here was wonderful as well.Some of the play is very funny. Falstaff's attempt to bed two married women and his eventual comeuppance is highly entertaining. The B-plot involving the marriage of one of the wives' daughters is not. There simply isn't much here to think about. It's a bit of good fun in bad taste, but not much more.Pros:Falstaff's attempt at poetry.Mistress Quickly's accidental innuendos.Cons:it's just kind of a pointless play, really.

  • Bruce Snell
    2019-04-11 16:21

    I saw a stage performance of this play a few years ago in Utah at the Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, and decided it would be among the first I read when I began reading Shakespeare's plays. This is a comedy, in fact, a farce, that left me laughing out loud in the theater, and was almost as funny in print. In this play we find John Falstaff (from Henry IV) attempting to seduce two married women, who just happen to be friends and turn the tables on him. There is also a subplot about Master and Mistress Page attempting to marry their daughter, Ann, off to two different men - neither of whom are of any interest to Ann who is in love with Fenton. Falstaff is made the fool on numerous occasions as the ladies he pursues string him along just to humiliate him. Ann Page foils both her parents plans and elopes with the man she loves and in the end everyone learns a lesson.I believe this is a play that should be seen to be best appreciated, but reading it helps to remind me of the fun I had watching it performed.

  • Jonathan
    2019-04-07 13:21

    I must admit I was a bit confused at first as to why Shakespeare would set up Falstaff as he tried to get his end away with two married ladies. Then I put my feminist hat on and thought that it was actually about how married women were treated, as fair game to any would be lothario, and mistrusted by their jealous husbands. Not to mention how they were expected to marry whomsoever their parents (or father) chose. That took me a while to realise (and may not exactly be what he was trying to put across), but it gave me something to read into it. Although the middle of the play was quite slow going, luckily it picked up pace for a good ending (a bit Misummer Night's Dream-ish, but not quite as good).

  • Lu
    2019-03-24 14:14

    Da questa commedia teatrale, scritta, forse, a cavallo tra 1500 e 1600, Arrigo Boito, letterato e librettista vissuto a cavallo fra 1800 e 1900, trasse il libretto del Falstaff, ultima opera di Giuseppe Verdi. In verità la figura di John Falstaff, tracotante e corpulento cavaliere, vede la prima apparizione nell'Enrico IV.Necessitando denaro, Falstaff progetta di corteggiare ben due dame, Madonna Page e Madonna Ford. Il goffo e divertente tentativo del panciuto omone sortirà una serie di beffe, comiche e severe al contempo, riassumibili in quella che è la battuta finale e, forse, morale, della famosa opera verdiana:Tutto nel mondo è burla.L'uom è nato burlone.

  • Leonora Al
    2019-03-25 11:37

    4,5 starsMy first Shakespeare was truly amazing! Difficult to get in to especially with all of the footnotes, but after the first third I got to understand the plot and started to enjoy it! It really funny and enjoyable!Plus, one of the characters reminded me a lot of Donald Trump (for there are some significant similarities) and that character was entirely made fun of, with add to the enjoyment of the play. At the beginning of was a bit forced for me because I had to read it for my class in British Literature at uni but it was great to read for me after all!

  • Suzannah
    2019-04-18 10:14

    This play is a complete hoot. Fuller review to come.

  • Gabriele Valenza
    2019-04-14 15:12

    Povero Falstaff!