List iconThe Merry Wives of WindsorList icon

The Merry Wives of Windsor
Act 4, scene 6

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Entire Play

In The Merry Wives of Windsor, fat, disreputable Sir John Falstaff pursues two housewives, Mistress Ford and Mistress Page, who outwit…

Act 1, scene 1

Justice Shallow and his nephew Slender accompany Sir Hugh the parson to the Pages’ home. There they meet Sir John…

Act 1, scene 2

Sir Hugh sends Slender’s servant Simple with a letter to Mistress Quickly asking her to intercede with Anne Page on…

Act 1, scene 3

Falstaff, in desperate need of funds, dismisses his servant Bardolph, who enters the employ of the Host of the Garter….

Act 1, scene 4

Delivering Sir Hugh’s letter to Mistress Quickly, Simple is discovered by her employer Dr. Caius (another of Anne’s suitors). Furious…

Act 2, scene 1

Mistress Page and Mistress Ford compare their love letters from Falstaff and plot revenge against him. Pistol and Nym tell…

Act 2, scene 2

Falstaff receives Mistress Ford’s invitation to visit; he then accepts “Brook’s” money in exchange for his promise to compromise Mistress…

Act 2, scene 3

Dr. Caius responds furiously when Sir Hugh fails to meet him for their duel. The Host calms his anger by…

Act 3, scene 1

Page, Shallow, and Slender join Sir Hugh, who is waiting to fight Dr. Caius. When the Host brings Dr. Caius…

Act 3, scene 2

Ford, knowing of Falstaff’s visit to Mistress Ford, gathers as many men as he can to go with him to…

Act 3, scene 3

Mistress Ford and Mistress Page begin their revenge against Falstaff. As Falstaff joins Mistress Ford, Mistress Page enters with news…

Act 3, scene 4

Attempting to court Anne Page, Fenton is interrupted first by his rival Slender and then by a hostile Master and…

Act 3, scene 5

Falstaff agrees once again to visit Mistress Ford and again informs “Brook” of his plans.

Act 4, scene 1

William, the young son of Master and Mistress Page, is briefly tested on his Latin by Sir Hugh.

Act 4, scene 2

Visiting Mistress Ford, Falstaff is again interrupted by Mistress Page, again with news of Ford’s threatening approach. This time the…

Act 4, scene 3

Some Germans want to hire the Host’s horses.

Act 4, scene 4

Mistress Page and Mistress Ford, having fully disclosed their dealings with Falstaff to their husbands, conspire with them to humiliate…

Act 4, scene 5

The Host learns his horses have been stolen. Mistress Quickly approaches Falstaff with another invitation, this time to meet Mistress…

Act 4, scene 6

The Host is asked to arrange for a vicar to marry Anne to Fenton that night.

Act 5, scene 1

Falstaff, having agreed to meet Mistress Page and Mistress Ford, promises success to “Brook.”

Act 5, scene 2

Slender prepares to elope with Anne Page.

Act 5, scene 3

Dr. Caius waits to elope with Anne Page. Mistress Page and Mistress Ford follow their plan to torment Falstaff.

Act 5, scene 4

Sir Hugh and the “fairies” approach.

Act 5, scene 5

Falstaff is tormented by the “fairies” and then publicly humiliated. Slender and Dr. Caius enter in turn to report that…

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Scene 6
Enter Fenton and Host.

HOST Master Fenton, talk not to me. My mind is
 heavy. I will give over all.
FENTON 
 Yet hear me speak. Assist me in my purpose,
 And, as I am a gentleman, I’ll give thee
5 A hundred pound in gold more than your loss.
HOST I will hear you, Master Fenton, and I will, at the
 least, keep your counsel.
FENTON 
 From time to time I have acquainted you
 With the dear love I bear to fair Anne Page,
10 Who mutually hath answered my affection,
 So far forth as herself might be her chooser,

175
The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 4. SC. 6

 Even to my wish. I have a letter from her
 Of such contents as you will wonder at,
 The mirth whereof so larded with my matter
15 That neither singly can be manifested
 Without the show of both. Fat Falstaff
 Hath a great scene; the image of the jest
 I’ll show you here at large. He shows the Host a
 paper. 
Hark, good mine Host:
20 Tonight at Herne’s oak, just ’twixt twelve and one,
 Must my sweet Nan present the Fairy Queen—
 The purpose why is here—in which disguise,
 While other jests are something rank on foot,
 Her father hath commanded her to slip
25 Away with Slender, and with him at Eton
 Immediately to marry. She hath consented. Now, sir,
 Her mother, ever strong against that match
 And firm for Doctor Caius, hath appointed
 That he shall likewise shuffle her away,
30 While other sports are tasking of their minds,
 And at the dean’ry, where a priest attends,
 Straight marry her. To this her mother’s plot
 She, seemingly obedient, likewise hath
 Made promise to the doctor. Now, thus it rests:
35 Her father means she shall be all in white,
 And in that habit, when Slender sees his time
 To take her by the hand and bid her go,
 She shall go with him. Her mother hath intended
 The better to denote her to the doctor—
40 For they must all be masked and vizarded—
 That quaint in green she shall be loose enrobed,
 With ribbons pendent flaring ’bout her head;
 And when the doctor spies his vantage ripe,
 To pinch her by the hand, and on that token
45 The maid hath given consent to go with him.

177
The Merry Wives of Windsor
ACT 4. SC. 6

HOST 
 Which means she to deceive, father or mother?
FENTON 
 Both, my good Host, to go along with me.
 And here it rests, that you’ll procure the vicar
 To stay for me at church ’twixt twelve and one,
50 And, in the lawful name of marrying,
 To give our hearts united ceremony.
HOST 
 Well, husband your device. I’ll to the vicar.
 Bring you the maid, you shall not lack a priest.
FENTON 
 So shall I evermore be bound to thee;
55 Besides, I’ll make a present recompense.
They exit.