List iconAll’s Well That Ends WellList icon

All’s Well That Ends Well
Act 4, 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 Bertram and the maid called Diana.

BERTRAM 
 They told me that your name was Fontibell.
DIANA 
 No, my good lord, Diana.
BERTRAM  Titled goddess,
 And worth it, with addition. But, fair soul,
5 In your fine frame hath love no quality?
 If the quick fire of youth light not your mind,

147
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 4. SC. 2

 You are no maiden but a monument.
 When you are dead, you should be such a one
 As you are now, for you are cold and stern,
10 And now you should be as your mother was
 When your sweet self was got.
DIANA 
 She then was honest.
BERTRAM  So should you be.
DIANA  No.
15 My mother did but duty—such, my lord,
 As you owe to your wife.
BERTRAM  No more o’ that.
 I prithee do not strive against my vows.
 I was compelled to her, but I love thee
20 By love’s own sweet constraint, and will forever
 Do thee all rights of service.
DIANA  Ay, so you serve us
 Till we serve you. But when you have our roses,
 You barely leave our thorns to prick ourselves
25 And mock us with our bareness.
BERTRAM  How have I sworn!
DIANA 
 ’Tis not the many oaths that makes the truth,
 But the plain single vow that is vowed true.
 What is not holy, that we swear not by,
30 But take the high’st to witness. Then pray you, tell
 me,
 If I should swear by Jove’s great attributes
 I loved you dearly, would you believe my oaths
 When I did love you ill? This has no holding
35 To swear by him whom I protest to love
 That I will work against him. Therefore your oaths
 Are words, and poor conditions but unsealed,
 At least in my opinion.
BERTRAM  Change it, change it.
40 Be not so holy-cruel. Love is holy,

149
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 4. SC. 2

 And my integrity ne’er knew the crafts
 That you do charge men with. Stand no more off,
 But give thyself unto my sick desires,
 Who then recovers. Say thou art mine, and ever
45 My love as it begins shall so persever.
DIANA 
 I see that men may rope ’s in such a snare
 That we’ll forsake ourselves. Give me that ring.
BERTRAM 
 I’ll lend it thee, my dear, but have no power
 To give it from me.
DIANA 50 Will you not, my lord?
BERTRAM 
 It is an honor ’longing to our house,
 Bequeathèd down from many ancestors,
 Which were the greatest obloquy i’ th’ world
 In me to lose.
DIANA 55 Mine honor’s such a ring.
 My chastity’s the jewel of our house,
 Bequeathèd down from many ancestors,
 Which were the greatest obloquy i’ th’ world
 In me to lose. Thus your own proper wisdom
60 Brings in the champion Honor on my part
 Against your vain assault.
BERTRAM  Here, take my ring.
 My house, mine honor, yea, my life be thine,
 And I’ll be bid by thee.
DIANA 
65 When midnight comes, knock at my chamber
 window.
 I’ll order take my mother shall not hear.
 Now will I charge you in the band of truth,
 When you have conquered my yet maiden bed,
70 Remain there but an hour, nor speak to me.
 My reasons are most strong, and you shall know them
 When back again this ring shall be delivered.

151
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 4. SC. 3

 And on your finger in the night I’ll put
 Another ring, that what in time proceeds
75 May token to the future our past deeds.
 Adieu till then; then, fail not. You have won
 A wife of me, though there my hope be done.
BERTRAM 
 A heaven on Earth I have won by wooing thee.
DIANA 
 For which live long to thank both heaven and me!
80 You may so in the end.He exits.
 My mother told me just how he would woo
 As if she sat in ’s heart. She says all men
 Have the like oaths. He had sworn to marry me
 When his wife’s dead. Therefore I’ll lie with him
85 When I am buried. Since Frenchmen are so braid,
 Marry that will, I live and die a maid.
 Only, in this disguise I think ’t no sin
 To cozen him that would unjustly win.
She exits.