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The Merry Wives of Windsor | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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The Merry Wives of Windsor | Act 4, Scene 6 | Summary



Elsewhere in the Garter Inn, Fenton offers the Host a handsome sum if he will help him elope with Anne Page. He explains the upcoming prank against "fat Falstaff." Master Page, he says, has arranged for Anne to slip away and marry Slender, while Mistress Page has planned for Anne to sneak off and marry the Doctor. Anne, however, intends to "deceive" both her parents and run off with Fenton instead. The Host agrees to help by ensuring a vicar will be waiting at the church to perform the wedding ceremony.


Despite his suffering at the hands of the "cozen-Germans" (Act 4, Scene 5), the Host is evidently still willing to meddle in the affairs of others. It probably doesn't hurt that Fenton makes him an extraordinarily generous offer: "a hundred pound in gold" above and beyond the cost of the stolen horses. This—not including the horses—is about 15 to 20 times what a skilled Elizabethan tradesman could expect to make in a year. Thus, even if he is a little more cautious after his incident with the "Germans," the Host would have to be extremely principled—or extremely stubborn—not to accept Fenton's offer.

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