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The Merry Wives of Windsor by William…

The Merry Wives of Windsor (1602)

by William Shakespeare

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,443217,527 (3.46)77
  1. 00
    Tartuffe by Molière (2below)
    2below: Similar themes and situations. I also think they're both hilariously entertaining.

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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
I don't know it just seemed like a very by the numbers sort of affair to me. None of the characters stood out and the goofy "funny" accents aren't funny. ( )
  jhudsui | Sep 12, 2017 |
Not really my sort of thing, but “Merry Wives” is so much better than some of the other comedies I've read this year (Loves 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?) . ( )
  meandmybooks | Jun 5, 2017 |
We had watched a performance (Globe players) and I decided to read it. It's not my favorite Shakespeare.

Actually not the same edition - what we own is Great Books, and this is in Shakespeare vol. 2. ( )
  CarolJMO | Dec 12, 2016 |
The merry wives are Mrs Page and Mrs Ford, two friends who find that they are both being wooed, in exactly the same letters, by Sir John Falstaff. He's a drunken deadbeat who believes his sudden interest in the long-married women will be welcomed, but they devise a plan to teach Falstaff humility.
On paper this is a good play, but I can see how, with the right casting of Falstaff and the wives, it could be a riot. I did find that of all the Shakespearean plays I've read so far, this one had the most words and phrases that needed explanation because they didn't translate to these modern ears. 'Conceal' means 'reveal' here and 'Mockwater' means 'physician'. I'm glad I had those notes and footnotes. ( )
  mstrust | May 4, 2016 |
A farcical comedy of love and affairs. Entertaining! ( )
  Laurochka | Feb 6, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (60 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Shakespeareprimary authorall editionscalculated
Andrew, Stephen A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Greg, W. W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hibbard, G. R.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hogarth, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Juva, KerstiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oliver, H. J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolfe, William JamesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomson, HughIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Voeten, BertAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Voeten, BertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Sir Hugh, persuade me not; I will make a Star-chamber matter of it: if he were twenty Sir John Falstaffs, he shall not abuse Robert Shallow, esquire.
Shallow. Sir Hugh, persuade me not; I will make a Star
Chamber matter of it; if he were twenty Sir John
Falstaffs, he shall not abuse Robert Shallow, Esquire.
I will make a Star-chamber matter of it.
Thou art the Mars of malcontents.
This is the short and the long of it.
Why, then the world's mine oyster,

Which I with sword will open.
We have some salt of our youth in us.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Disambiguation notice
This work is for the complete The Merry Wives of Windsor only. Do not combine this work with abridgements, adaptations or "simplifications" (such as "Shakespeare Made Easy"), Cliffs Notes or similar study guides, or anything else that does not contain the full text. Do not include any video recordings. Additionally, do not combine this with other plays.
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Wikipedia in English


Book description
This play is said to have been written at the request of Queen Elizabeth, who wanted yet another play with Sir John Falstaff in it. This comedy has no wars, no Prince Hal, just Falstaff, his cronies, and a scheme gone awry in which Falstaff's plan to bilk and bed two women is turned upside down when they combine to lead him on, and he is forced to flee for his life.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0671722786, Mass Market Paperback)

Each edition includes:

• Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play

• Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play

• Scene-by-scene plot summaries

• A key to famous lines and phrases

• An introduction to reading Shakespeare's language

• An essay by an outstanding scholar providing a modern perspective on the play

• Illustrations from the Folger Shakespeare Library's vast holdings of rare books

Essay by Natasha Korda

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeare's printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit www.folger.edu.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:29 -0400)

(see all 10 descriptions)

According to legend, Queen Elizabeth I was so delighted with the character of Sir John Falstaff in Henry IV, Parts I and II, that she commanded Shakespeare to create a romantic comedy depicting the jolly old rogue in love. The obedient playwright responded with The Merry Wives of Windsor, a lively and enduring farce that offers a humorous rebuff to lechery and hypocrisy. Falstaff, whose greed and vanity overwhelm his good sense, determines to seduce a pair of well-to-do country housewives. The portly knight meets his match among the gentlewomen of Windsor, however, who counter his every stratagem with witty maneuvers of their own that expose Sir John's tomfoolery to public mirth. Familiar Shakespearean themes and devices romance, jealousy, disguises, and mistaken identities enrich the plot, along with a sparkling cast of supporting characters, including rival wooers, informers, and witty go-betweens. This madcap romp has been a favorite of readers and playgoers for over 400 years. Students, teachers, and all lovers of literature and drama will appreciate this inexpensive edition of an ageless comic gem.… (more)

» see all 11 descriptions

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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