List iconAll’s Well That Ends WellList icon

All’s Well That Ends Well
Act 2, scene 2

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Characters in the Play

Entire Play

In All’s Well That Ends Well, a woman is given in marriage to the man she longs for, but, because she…

Act 1, scene 1

Bertram, having become a ward of the court upon his father’s death, departs from Rossillion. Helen, whose own physician-father has…

Act 1, scene 2

The King of France refuses to take sides in the war between Siena and Florence, giving his courtiers permission to…

Act 1, scene 3

Bertram’s mother, the Countess of Rossillion, learns of Helen’s love for Bertram and forces Helen to confess this secret. When…

Act 2, scene 1

The King bids farewell to the French courtiers going off to war, having commanded Bertram to remain behind. Helen arrives…

Act 2, scene 2

The Countess sends the Fool to the court with a letter for Helen.

Act 2, scene 3

Having cured the King, Helen is given several courtiers from whom to choose a husband as her reward. When she…

Act 2, scene 4

Parolles brings Helen word that Bertram is leaving for Tuscany and that she is to get permission from the King…

Act 2, scene 5

Bertram is warned that Parolles is an untrustworthy coward. Bertram gives Helen a letter and instructs her to go immediately…

Act 3, scene 1

The Duke of Florence greets French courtiers who have come to fight on his side.

Act 3, scene 2

The Fool returns to Rossillion with a letter from Bertram that tells the Countess of his plan to run away…

Act 3, scene 3

Bertram is put in command of the Duke of Florence’s cavalry.

Act 3, scene 4

The Countess is given the letter left for her by Helen, in which Helen sets out her intention to make…

Act 3, scene 5

Helen, on her pilgrimage, meets Diana, whom Bertram has been attempting to seduce.

Act 3, scene 6

The French lords in Florence decide that Parolles’ unhappiness about the loss of the troop’s drum can be used as…

Act 3, scene 7

Helen enlists Diana’s mother in contriving to meet Bertram’s conditions. Diana will agree to sleep with Bertram on the condition…

Act 4, scene 1

Parolles is captured and blindfolded by a French lord and soldiers pretending to be the enemy who can speak to…

Act 4, scene 2

Diana agrees to lie with Bertram after he reluctantly gives her his ancestral ring.

Act 4, scene 3

News comes to the Duke of Florence’s court that Bertram’s wife has died while on pilgrimage. When Bertram enters, he…

Act 4, scene 4

Helen sets out with Diana and Diana’s mother to seek the King of France in Marseilles.

Act 4, scene 5

The Countess, who has learned of Helen’s death, receives word that the King of France is approaching Rossillion and then…

Act 5, scene 1

Helen finds herself unable to petition the King because he has already departed for Rossillion.

Act 5, scene 2

Parolles arrives at Rossillion and persuades Lafew to take him into his service.

Act 5, scene 3

The King forgives Bertram and agrees to a marriage between Bertram and Lafew’s daughter. Bertram gives Lafew a ring, which…

Act 5, epilogue

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Scene 2
Enter Countess and Fool.

COUNTESS Come on, sir. I shall now put you to the
 height of your breeding.
FOOL I will show myself highly fed and lowly taught. I
 know my business is but to the court.
COUNTESS 5“To the court”? Why, what place make you
 special when you put off that with such contempt?
 “But to the court”?
FOOL Truly, madam, if God have lent a man any manners,
 he may easily put it off at court. He that cannot
10 make a leg, put off ’s cap, kiss his hand, and
 say nothing, has neither leg, hands, lip, nor cap;
 and indeed such a fellow, to say precisely, were
 not for the court. But, for me, I have an answer
 will serve all men.
COUNTESS 15Marry, that’s a bountiful answer that fits all
 questions.
FOOL It is like a barber’s chair that fits all buttocks:
 the pin-buttock, the quatch-buttock, the brawn-buttock,
 or any buttock.
COUNTESS 20Will your answer serve fit to all questions?
FOOL As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an attorney,
 as your French crown for your taffety punk, as
 Tib’s rush for Tom’s forefinger, as a pancake for
 Shrove Tuesday, a morris for May Day, as the nail
25 to his hole, the cuckold to his horn, as a scolding
 quean to a wrangling knave, as the nun’s lip to the
 friar’s mouth, nay, as the pudding to his skin.
COUNTESS Have you, I say, an answer of such fitness
 for all questions?
FOOL 30From below your duke to beneath your constable,
 it will fit any question.
COUNTESS It must be an answer of most monstrous
 size that must fit all demands.

65
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 2

FOOL But a trifle neither, in good faith, if the learned
35 should speak truth of it. Here it is, and all that
 belongs to ’t. Ask me if I am a courtier; it shall do
 you no harm to learn.
COUNTESS To be young again, if we could! I will be a
 fool in question, hoping to be the wiser by your
40 answer. I pray you, sir, are you a courtier?
FOOL O Lord, sir!—There’s a simple putting off. More,
 more, a hundred of them.
COUNTESS Sir, I am a poor friend of yours that loves
 you.
FOOL 45O Lord, sir!—Thick, thick. Spare not me.
COUNTESS I think, sir, you can eat none of this homely
 meat.
FOOL O Lord, sir!—Nay, put me to ’t, I warrant you.
COUNTESS You were lately whipped, sir, as I think.
FOOL 50O Lord, sir!—Spare not me.
COUNTESS Do you cry “O Lord, sir!” at your whipping,
 and “spare not me”? Indeed your “O Lord, sir!” is
 very sequent to your whipping. You would answer
 very well to a whipping if you were but bound to ’t.
FOOL 55I ne’er had worse luck in my life in my “O Lord,
 sir!” I see things may serve long but not serve ever.
COUNTESS I play the noble huswife with the time to
 entertain it so merrily with a fool.
FOOL O Lord, sir!—Why, there ’t serves well again.
COUNTESS, giving him a paper 
60 An end, sir. To your business. Give Helen this,
 And urge her to a present answer back.
 Commend me to my kinsmen and my son.
 This is not much.
FOOL Not much commendation to them?
COUNTESS 
65 Not much employment for you. You understand me.
FOOL Most fruitfully. I am there before my legs.
COUNTESS Haste you again.
They exit.