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Encyclopedia > All's Well That Ends Well

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All's Well That Ends Well

All's Well That Ends Well is a comedy by William Shakespeare, which is also considered one of his "problem" plays.

The play was probably written later in Shakespeare's career, between 1601 and 1608.

The five acts follow the action of Helena, a lowborn beauty, who pines for the son of her guardian, Count Bertram. She is granted his hand as a reward for curing the King. Later, she tricks him into giving her his family ring and sleeping with her, by posing as Diana, the virginal daughter of a widow. These were his conditions for being her true husband and he agrees to be a good husband in the final act.

Shakespeare's source is most likely William Painter's The Palace of Pleasure, which itself was translated from Boccaccio's Decameron.

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