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The Merry Wives of Windsor

The Merry Wives of Windsor is a comedy by William Shakespeare. It was probably written in 1597 and is said to have been first performed on April 23 of that year, in the presence of Queen Elizabeth I of England.

The central character, Falstaff, originally appeared in one of Shakespeare's earlier plays, Henry IV, part 1[?], and it is often claimed that he was persuaded to revive the character by the Queen herself, who had so much enjoyed the comedic episodes in the earlier work.

Warning: wikipedia contains spoilers

The plot turns on the efforts of Sir John Falstaff to obtain financial advantage by having affairs with two wealthy married women, Mistress Ford and Mistress Page. The "merry wives" are not interested in the ageing, overweight Falstaff as a suitor, but decide to play along with him for their own amusement. At one point Falstaff is forced to hide in a laundry basket and is thrown into the river. Eventually his scheme is revealed and he is held up to ridicule, but the play does end happily, with the marriage of Mistress Page's daughter.

External Link

  • The Merry Wives of Windsor (http://www.shakespeare-literature.com/The_Merry_Wives_of_Windsor/index) - searchable, indexed e-text

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