The Merry Wives of Windsor

by: William Shakespeare

Act IV, Scenes i-ii

The two women discuss their successful campaign. They are sure they've scared the lusty behavior out of Falstaff. They debate telling their husbands about their schemes in order to convince them that they have been honorable. But if they want to torment Falstaff further, they'll surely be able to scare something up. They agree that publicly shaming him would be the best end to his humiliation.

Commentary

The encounter between Evans and William is another scene that probably played mostly for laughs in Shakespeare's time. Between Evans' mispronunciation of Latin words and Quickly's suggestive mishearing Latin words as English slang, this scene makes for linguistic humor in any era.

Falstaff's second effort to seduce Mistress Ford is interrupted, like the first, by Mistress Page's fake announcement that Ford is on his way, followed by his actual arrival. This time, they dress the knight as an old fat woman, and he suffers the indignity of being beaten by Ford on the way out of the house. Like Falstaff's first visit, the scene plays like a good slapstick farce.


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