101 - (1566), a situation that had already been explored by...

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
It is difficult to assign a date to the composition of All's Well. There are no definite allusions or  associations with contemporary slang or happenings. There are a good number of rimed couplets,  suggesting that this play might be an early work of Shakespeare's. But because these couplets are  such fine examples, they suggest a mastery of the couplet tradition instead of immaturity. Most  scholars who note errors in characterization, as well as entrance and exit notations, seem to think  that this First Folio edition is probably a recast, rewritten version of the play, lacking Shakespeare's  final editing. And because of one of its key lines, they think that it may be a "lost play" of  Shakespeare's — Love's Labour's Won. Shakespeare's plot of a beautiful woman who is turned down by the man whom she loves — after  she has cured a king of a critical illness — is clearly taken from William Painter's Palace of Pleasure 
Background image of page 1
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: (1566), a situation that had already been explored by Boccaccio in his Decameron; both stories also contain the ingenious "bed trick." At that time, Helena's cleverness in getting a child from Bertram would have been applauded. The baby would have been proof of her deep love and courage. It was sterling if ironic proof of her vow of fidelity. Then, as well as today, Bertram would have had few redeeming qualities. He lacks all sense of honor; he is a cad. Thus, the comedy is ultimately flawed. We cannot totally rejoice at Helena's "success" in regaining her husband. The play simply has a rapid "happy ending," which was required. Ultimately, we feel that Helena is such a remarkable woman that her absolute infatuation with a fraud makes her character suspect. The meaning of All's Well is, therefore, ambiguous and seemingly ironic....
View Full Document

This note was uploaded on 11/05/2011 for the course ENG 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Texas State.

Ask a homework question - tutors are online