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All's Well That Ends Well

Written: c. 1605-04; Text: First Folio 1623 (Comedy); no quarto editions
Source: Boccaccio's Decameron, “Beltrame de Rossiglione and Giglietta di Nerone,” as translated into English by William Painter in The Palace of Pleasure, c. 1566
Characters: Helena, Bertram, Countess of Rossillion, Fool, King of France, Parolles, Lafew, First and Second Lords
Setting: Rossillion, France – also Paris, Marseilles and Florence
Time: c. 14th century

Some critics argue that the title is ironic because, while the play seems to end happily with a marriage, audiences might wonder whether the marriage did end well. Other critics argue that by Elizabethan standards Helena made a good catch, even if not a good match. So Elizabethan audiences would see no irony.

In delivering my son from me, I bury a second husband

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Countess
In delivering my son from me, I bury a second husband.
Bertram
And I in going, madam, weep o’er my father’s
death anew; but I must attend his Majesty’s
command, to whom I am now in ward, evermore
in subjection.

Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead,
excessive grief the enemy to the living

Lafew
You shall find of the King a husband,
… continue reading this quote

Be thou blessed, Bertram

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Countess 
Be thou blessed, Bertram, and succeed thy father
In manners as in shape. Thy blood and virtue
Contend for empire in thee, and thy goodness
Share with thy birthright.

Love all, trust a few,
Do wrong to none

Love all, trust a few,
Do wrong to noneIsocolon
.
… continue reading this quote

Act 1
Scene 1
Line 63

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Farewell, pretty lady

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Lafew
Farewell, pretty lady. You must hold the credit
of your father. Bertram and Lafew exit.
Helen
O, were that all! I think not on my father,
And these great tears grace his remembrance more
Than those I shed for him. What was he like?
I have forgot him.

Th’ ambition in my love thus plagues itself:
The hind that would be mated by the lion
Must die for love.
… continue reading this quote

Act 1
Scene 1
Line 83

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Are you meditating on virginity?

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Parolles
Are you meditating on virginity?
Helen
Ay. You have some stain of soldier in you; let
me ask you a question. Man is enemy to virginity.
How may we barricado it against him?
Parolles
Keep him out.
Helen
But he assails, and our virginity, though
valiant in the defense,
… continue reading this quote

Act 1
Scene 1
Line 115

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Little Helen, farewell

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Parolles
Little Helen, farewell. If I can remember
thee, I will think of thee at court.
Helen
Monsieur Parolles, you were born under a
charitable star.
Parolles
Under Mars, I.Hyperbaton & Ellipsis
Helen
I especially think under Mars.

Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
… continue reading this quote

Youth, thou bear’st thy father’s face

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KING
Youth, thou bear’st thy father’s face.
 Frank nature, rather curious than in haste,
 Hath well composed thee. Thy father’s moral parts
 Mayst thou inherit too. Welcome to Paris.
BERTRAM 
My thanks and duty are your Majesty’s.
KING
I would I had that corporal soundness now
 As when thy father and myself in friendship
 First tried our soldiership. 
… continue reading this quote

Act 1
Scene 2
Line 25

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I would I had that corporal soundness now

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King 
I would I had that corporal soundness now
As when thy father and myself in friendship
First tried our soldiership. He did look far
Into the service of the time and was
Discipled of the bravest. He lasted long,
But on us both did haggish age steal on
And wore us out of act.

Methinks I hear him now;
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Act 1
Scene 2
Line 30

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I am out o’ friends, madam

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Fool
I am out o’ friends, madam, and I hope to have
friends for my wife’s sake.
Countess
Such friends are thine enemies, knave.

for young Charbon the Puritan and old
Poysam the Papist, howsome’er their hearts are
severed in religion, their heads are both one

Fool
You’re shallow,
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Act 1
Scene 3
Line 40

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Madam, I was very late more near her than I think she wished me

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Steward
Madam, I was very late more near her than I
think she wished me. Alone she was and did
communicate to herself her own words to her own 
ears;  she thought, I dare vow for her, they touched
not any stranger sense. Her matter was she loved
your son. Fortune, she said, was no goddess, that
had put such difference betwixt their two estates;
… continue reading this quote

Act 1
Scene 3
Line 107

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You know, Helen, I am a mother to you

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Countess
You know, Helen, I am a mother to you.
Helen
Mine honorable mistress.

I know I love in vain, strive against hope,
Yet in this captious and intenible sieve
I still pour in the waters of my love

Countess
Nay, a mother.
Why not a mother? When I said “a mother,”
Methought you saw a serpent.
… continue reading this quote

Act 1
Scene 3
Line 140

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