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The Merry Wives of Windsor

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Summary of the plot or story
Falstaff first deceives the wives. The wives, Mr. Ford and Mistress Quickly and then deceive Falstaff. Falstaff gets into trouble because he is insincere, pretending to be lovestruck when all he is really interested in is money. The ladies turn the tables on Falstaff, and he gets his just deserts. 

Information provided about The Merry Wives of Windsor play
William Shakespeare never published any of his plays and therefore none of the original manuscripts have survived. Eighteen unauthorised versions of his plays were, however, published during his lifetime in quarto editions by unscrupulous publishers (there were no copyright laws protecting Shakespeare and his works during the Elizabethan era).

A collection of his works did not appear until 1623 (a full seven years after Shakespeare's death on April 23, 1616) when two of his fellow actors, John Hemminges and Henry Condell, posthumously recorded his work and published 36 of Williamís plays in the First Folio. Some dates are therefore approximate other dates are substantiated by historical events, records of performances and the dates plays appeared in print.

Date first performed
It is believed that The Merry Wives of Windsor was first performed between 1600 and 1601. In the Elizabethan era there was a huge demand for new entertainment and The Merry Wives of Windsor would have been produced immediately following the completion of the play.

Date first printed
It is believed that the script was first printed in 1602. As William Shakespeare clearly did not want his work published details of the play would have therefore been noted, and often pirated without his consent, following a performance.

The settings for The Merry Wives of Windsor
The settings for the play is in Windsor, Berkshire, England. The comedy is unique amongst William Shakespeare's plays because it is set in Shakespeare's England.

Theme of The Merry Wives of Windsor
The play is categorised as a Comedy

Number of words in The Merry Wives of Windsor
The number of words in the script, according to the Complete Public Domain Text is 23,788.

Most important characters
The most important characters in the drama are:
Sir John Falstaff and Mistress Ford, Mistress Page

Famous Quotes / Quotations
The quotes from The Merry Wives of Windsor are amongst Shakespeare's most famous including 'the world 's mine oyster' and 'what the dickens'. Details of these famous quotes follow, complete with information regarding the Act and the Scene, allowing a quick reference to the section of the play that these quotations can be found in. Please click here for the full text of the script of the play.

"Why, then the world 's mine oyster" (Act II, Scene II).

"This is the short and the long of it".
(Act II, Scene II).

"I cannot tell what the dickens his name is".
(Act III, Scene II).

"As good luck would have it".
(Act III, Scene V).

History of The Merry Wives of Windsor
Nicholas Rowe, in his Life of Shakespeare (1709), reports that Queen Elizabeth "was so well pleased with that admirable character of Falstaff in the two parts of Henry IV that she commanded him to continue it for one play more, and to show him in love." 

William Shakespeare's Main Source
All characters and plot are purely fictitious.

The Cast and Characters
Click the link to access a list of all the cast and characters.

Text - script of The Merry Wives of Windsor play by William Shakespeare
Cast and characters in The Merry Wives of Windsor play by William Shakespeare
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