All’s Well That Ends Well, by William Shakespeare


All’s Well That Ends Well was probably written later in Shakespeare’s career, between 1601 and 1608.

The five acts follow the action of Helena, a lowborn beauty, who pines for the son of her guardian, Count Bertram. She is granted his hand as a reward for curing the King, but Bertram runs away to war, declaring “When thou canst get the ring upon my finger which never shall come off, and show me a child begotten of thy body that I am father to, then call me husband.” Helena tricks him into giving her his family ring and sleeping with her, by posing as Diana, the virginal daughter of a widow. These were his conditions for being her true husband and he agrees to be a good husband in the final act.

Shakespeare’s source is most likely a story in William Painter’s The Palace of Pleasure, which was in fact a translation of the ninth story from the third day of Boccaccio’s Decameron.

[from Wikipedia]

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:59