The Merry Wives of Windsor
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The Merry Wives of Windsor

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William Shakespeare's comic encore for one of his best-loved characters - the rascally Falstaff from Henry IV and Henry V - The Merry Wives of Windsor is edited by G.R. Hibbard with an introduction by Catherine Richardson in Penguin Shakespeare.

'We'll leave a proof, by that which we will do,
Wives may be merry, and yet honest too'

In need of money, the fat and foolish Falstaff devises a scheme to seduce two married women and steal their husbands' wealth. By talking to each other, however, the wives soon discover his plan and begin to plot their own revenge. Relentlessly inventive, this comic humiliation of a foolish would-be seducer is a lively, compelling and ultimately joyous celebration of the all-conquering power of laughter.

This book contains a general introduction to Shakespeare's life and Elizabethan theatre, a separate introduction to The Merry Wives of Windsor, a chronology, suggestions for further reading, an essay discussing performance options on both stage and screen, and a commentary.

'It never yet had reader or spectator, who did not think it too soon at end'
Samuel Johnson
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 15mm | 191g
  • PENGUIN CLASSICS
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • UK ed.
  • 0141396571
  • 9780141396576
  • 93,526

Back cover copy

According to legend, Queen Elizabeth I was so delighted with the character of Sir John Falstaff in "Henry IV, " Parts I and II, that she commanded Shakespeare to create a romantic comedy depicting the jolly old rogue in love. The obedient playwright responded with "The Merry Wives of Windsor, " a lively and enduring farce that offers a humorous rebuff to lechery and hypocrisy.Falstaff, whose greed and vanity overwhelm his good sense, determines to seduce a pair of well-to-do country housewives. The portly knight meets his match among the gentlewomen of Windsor, however, who counter his every stratagem with witty maneuvers of their own that expose Sir John's tomfoolery to public mirth. Familiar Shakespearean themes and devices--romance, jealousy, disguises, and mistaken identities--enrich the plot, along with a sparkling cast of supporting characters, including rival wooers, informers, and witty go-betweens.Dover (2014) republication of a standard edition.See every Dover book in print atwww.doverpublications.com
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Review quote

Praise for William Shakespeare: Complete Works "Remarkable . . . makes Shakespeare's extraordinary accomplishment more vivid than ever."--James Shapiro, professor, Columbia University, bestselling author of A Year in the Life of Shakespeare: 1599

"A feast of literary and historical information."--The Wall Street Journal
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About William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was born in late April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon and died in 1616. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist.

Stanley Wells is Emeritus Professor of the University of Birmingham and Honorary President of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

G. R. Hibbard was Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Catherine Richardson is Reader in Renaissance Studies at the University of Kent.
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Rating details

7,256 ratings
3.55 out of 5 stars
5 19% (1,404)
4 32% (2,317)
3 36% (2,598)
2 11% (785)
1 2% (152)
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