The Merry Wives of Windsor play is set in Windsor in Berkshire, England. It is thought to have been performed before Queen Elizabeth I at Windsor Castle.
Date written: 1597 – 1599
Genre classification: The Merry Wives of Windsor is one of Shakespeare’s Comedies.
Main characters in The Merry Wives of Windsor: Sir John Falstaff is a fat knight, devious, opinionated and dissolute. He plots to seduce two different women in the hope of gaining financially.
Fenton is a young gentleman in love with Page’s and Mistress Page’s daughter, Anne Page.
Shallow is a country justice with a grudge against Falstaff. He persuades his nephew, Slender, to woo Anne Page.
Mistress Ford is pursued by Falstaff and swears to humiliate him. Frank Ford is her husband.
Sir Hugh Evans is a Welsh parson who joins in the scheme against Falstaff.
Doctor Caius is also a suitor of Anne Page.
Mistress Quickly is Doctor Caius’ servant. She passes messages between the other characters. See a full list of characters in The Merry Wives of Windsor.
The Merry Wives of Windsor themes: One of the main themes is what makes a suitable marriage partner. This aspect is explored in many ways throughout the play.
Retribution for bad behaviour is presented in the machnations of Falstaff, and his final humiliation.
There’s a strong feminist theme in this play as the women triumph over the men.
Appearance and reality is displayed in the various deceptions.