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The Merry Wives of Windsor by William…
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The Merry Wives of Windsor

by William Shakespeare

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1,096137,588 (3.55)54
  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 12 (next | show all)
"The Merry Wives of Windsor" is definitely not Shakespeare's strongest work. I initially found it very difficult to follow, given the multitude of characters introduced off the bat and the interesting dialects.

I found the play got better as it got moving along-- as the merry wives work hard to trick the lecherous Falstaff. I have not read Henry IV yet, so I have no knowledge about Falstaff other than this play-- perhaps I would have enjoyed this more if I had.

This is definitely one of Shakespeare's works that would be much more amusing watched rather than read. ( )
  amerynth | Sep 18, 2013 |
While I enjoyed the overall plot, I found the language particularly difficult in this play especially the Welsh Sir Hugh and the French doctor Caius. I also had a few formatting issues with my copy, which is part of the Kindle version of [b:The Complete Works of William Shakespeare|6077449|The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Volume 1|William Shakespeare|http://www.goodreads.com/assets/nocover/60x80.png|6254061] from Project Gutenberg.

I think that this play would be a good candidate for modernization, as Shakespeare's eye for human nature is keen and the basic motivations in this play are still as valid today as when it was written. ( )
  leslie.98 | Jun 26, 2013 |
Written around 1597, critics believe that The Merry Wives of Windsor was written to capitalise on the popular success of the corpulent, knavish Sir John Falstaff in the two parts of Henry IV. Falstaff takes centre stage again in this play, hard up for money and planning to pay off his debts by seducing the wives of two rich citizens, Ford and Page. As in the earlier Henry IV plays, Falstaff's elaborate plans go awry, with disastrous and humiliating consequences. Ford is furious with Falstaff's attempt to woo his wife, whilst both Mistress Ford and Mistress Page have the measure of Falstaff, and repeatedly dupe him, first hiding him in a laundry basket and dumping him in the river, then tormenting him in the forest of Windsor with children disguised as fairies.Often dismissed as a hasty and mechanical play lacking in depth, The Merry Wives of Windsor is in fact a wonderfully inventive farce. Falstaff is a ludicrous mock hero, dressed as a mythical hunter in the forest, declaiming "powerful love that in some respects makes a beast a man, in some others a man a beast!" Mistress Ford and Page are also great comic creations, witty and resilient women who drive the comedy, no longer "in the holiday time" of beauty, but wise and streetwise women who are always one step ahead of the absurd Falstaff. A greatly underrated play. --Jerry Brotton
  Roger_Scoppie | Apr 3, 2013 |
Written around 1597, critics believe that The Merry Wives of Windsor was written to capitalise on the popular success of the corpulent, knavish Sir John Falstaff in the two parts of Henry IV. Falstaff takes centre stage again in this play, hard up for money and planning to pay off his debts by seducing the wives of two rich citizens, Ford and Page. As in the earlier Henry IV plays, Falstaff's elaborate plans go awry, with disastrous and humiliating consequences. Ford is furious with Falstaff's attempt to woo his wife, whilst both Mistress Ford and Mistress Page have the measure of Falstaff, and repeatedly dupe him, first hiding him in a laundry basket and dumping him in the river, then tormenting him in the forest of Windsor with children disguised as fairies.Often dismissed as a hasty and mechanical play lacking in depth, The Merry Wives of Windsor is in fact a wonderfully inventive farce. Falstaff is a ludicrous mock hero, dressed as a mythical hunter in the forest, declaiming "powerful love that in some respects makes a beast a man, in some others a man a beast!" Mistress Ford and Page are also great comic creations, witty and resilient women who drive the comedy, no longer "in the holiday time" of beauty, but wise and streetwise women who are always one step ahead of the absurd Falstaff. A greatly underrated play. --Jerry Brotton
  Roger_Scoppie | Apr 3, 2013 |
Well, behold the man. The Falstaff who whooped it up with Prince Hal is to the Falstaff of The Merry Wives of Windsor as one like unto an ancestor-god, even if it's the latter wearing Herne horns. From literature's greatest Lusty Fool, in a narrow win over Li Po, to a foolhardy lustbucket in a buckbasket. And okay, we all diminish with time (I suddenly imagine the 15th-century Sir John as a seminal founder, a literal ancestor of his 17th-century counterpart), and it's a play where the women get the better of the men, so that makes his buffoonery appro, but it's still leavened with that little bit of tin-eared nasty where you just don't want him to tell the story about the stripper who wouldn't take her bottoms off and didn't get no tip.

And the other men are thin gruel, and the women are better, especially Mistress Quickly, but you don't want to forgive them for thinking up that amazing scene where the children dress as fairies and then not coming to life and honeytonguing the playwright into writing what would have obviously been the best scene in all of Shakespeare, the one where the Elizabethan children get ready to play Elizabethan Peter Pans.

All in all it's a confection, evidently one fit for a (Virgin) Queen, since the mythology says she commissioned it, but one that leaves a weird flat taste on the modern palate, like one of those early modern pies with cloves squab and a loaf of bread and verjuice in it. Oh, but I'd take three friends to see Sir Hugh Evans and Dr. Caius are Dead. ( )
1 vote MeditationesMartini | May 4, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (61 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Shakespeareprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andrew, Stephen A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hibbard, G. R.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hogarth, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oliver, H. J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolfe, William JamesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomson, HughIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Voeten, BertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Voeten, BertAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
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.
Quotations
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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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:05 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

In need of money, the fat and foolish Falstaff devises a scheme to seduce two married women and steal their husbands' wealth. By talking to each other, however, the wives soon discover his plan and begin to plot their own revenge.

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