List iconAll’s Well That Ends Well:
Act 2, scene 4
List icon

All’s Well That Ends Well
Act 2, scene 4



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 4
Enter Helen with a paper, and Fool.

HELEN My mother greets me kindly. Is she well?
FOOL She is not well, but yet she has her health. She’s
 very merry, but yet she is not well. But, thanks be
 given, she’s very well and wants nothing i’ th’ world,
5 but yet she is not well.
HELEN If she be very well, what does she ail that she’s
 not very well?
FOOL Truly, she’s very well indeed, but for two things.
HELEN What two things?
FOOL 10One, that she’s not in heaven, whither God send
 her quickly; the other, that she’s in Earth, from
 whence God send her quickly.

Enter Parolles.

PAROLLES Bless you, my fortunate lady.
HELEN I hope, sir, I have your good will to have mine
15 own good fortunes.
PAROLLES You had my prayers to lead them on, and to
 keep them on have them still.—O my knave, how
 does my old lady?
FOOL So that you had her wrinkles and I her money, I
20 would she did as you say.
PAROLLES Why, I say nothing.
FOOL Marry, you are the wiser man, for many a man’s
 tongue shakes out his master’s undoing. To say
 nothing, to do nothing, to know nothing, and to
25 have nothing is to be a great part of your title,
 which is within a very little of nothing.
PAROLLES Away. Thou ’rt a knave.
FOOL You should have said, sir, “Before a knave,
 thou ’rt a knave”; that’s “Before me, thou ’rt a
30 knave.” This had been truth, sir.
PAROLLES Go to. Thou art a witty fool. I have found

All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 2. SC. 4

FOOL Did you find me in yourself, sir, or were you
 taught to find me?
FOOL 35The search, sir, was profitable, and much fool
 may you find in you, even to the world’s pleasure
 and the increase of laughter.
PAROLLES A good knave, i’ faith, and well fed.
 Madam, my lord will go away tonight;
40 A very serious business calls on him.
 The great prerogative and rite of love,
 Which as your due time claims, he does acknowledge
 But puts it off to a compelled restraint,
 Whose want and whose delay is strewed with sweets,
45 Which they distill now in the curbèd time
 To make the coming hour o’erflow with joy
 And pleasure drown the brim.
HELEN  What’s his will else?
 That you will take your instant leave o’ th’ King
50 And make this haste as your own good proceeding,
 Strengthened with what apology you think
 May make it probable need.
HELEN  What more commands he?
 That, having this obtained, you presently
55 Attend his further pleasure.
 In everything I wait upon his will.
PAROLLES I shall report it so.Parolles exits.
HELEN, to Fool I pray you, come, sirrah.
They exit.