The Merry Wives of Windsor | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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The Merry Wives of Windsor | Characters

Character Description
Sir John Falstaff A depraved and aging knight who has arrived in Windsor with hardly a penny to his name, Sir John Falstaff hopes to make some money and have a wild fling or two in the process. After he sends love letters to two well-off married women, his frustrated attempts to seduce them become the center of the play's plot. Read More
Mistress Ford Mistress Alice Ford is the first of the two "merry wives" whom Falstaff attempts to seduce. With the help of her best friend Mistress Page, she masterminds the embarrassing pranks played on the knight. Read More
Mistress Page Mistress Meg Page is the second "merry wife" whom Falstaff tries to woo with love letters and flattering speeches. She assists Mistress Ford in teaching Falstaff a lesson through a series of humiliating practical jokes. Read More
Ford Master Francis "Frank" Ford is one of the upper-middle-class Windsor husbands whom Falstaff plots to cuckold. Jealous and suspicious by nature, he disguises himself as "Master Brook" to thwart Falstaff's attempts on his wife. Read More
Page Master George Page is a moderately wealthy and well-respected man of Windsor. Unlike his neighbor Ford, he is generally easygoing and trusts his wife, though he behaves more controllingly toward his daughter Anne. Read More
Anne Page The marriageable daughter of Mistress and Master Page, Anne Page resists her parents' attempts to marry her off to Slender or Doctor Caius and eventually elopes with Fenton. Read More
Bardolph One of Falstaff's followers, Bardolph finds new employment as a bartender at the Garter Inn.
Doctor Caius Doctor Caius is a French physician and one of the three rivals for Anne Page's hand in marriage. His hot temper gets him into trouble throughout the play.
Children A group of unnamed Windsor children appear in Act 5. Under the direction of Sir Hugh, they disguise themselves as fairies and torment Falstaff in the play's final scene.
Sir Hugh Evans A Welsh clergyman and schoolmaster, Sir Hugh Evans is a good man who tries to resolve the various quarrels that arise in the play.
Fenton Fenton is one of Anne Page's suitors and the only one she loves in return. Born into the gentry, he has spent most of his fortune—a fact that, in Page's view, disqualifies him as a son-in-law.
Host The Host of the Garter Inn is the innkeeper who hosts Falstaff during his stay at Windsor. He is a cheery fellow notable for his use of colorful slang.
John Mistress and Master Ford's servant, John helps the "merry wives" with their pranks.
Nym Part of Falstaff's entourage, Nym is perhaps the shiftiest of the knight's followers. After Falstaff fires him, he gets even by informing the husbands of Falstaff's attempts to woo their "merry wives."
William Page The school-aged son of Mistress and Master Page, William appears in Act 4, Scene 1 where Sir Hugh quizzes him about his grammar lessons to comical effect.
Pistol Pistol is one of Falstaff's followers, notable for his grandiose, singsong style of speech. With his colleague Nym, he plots revenge against Falstaff after being fired.
Mistress Quickly Doctor Caius's lively and energetic housekeeper, Mistress Quickly becomes embroiled in Anne Page's courtship when all three suitors ask for her help.
Robert Robert is a servant in the Ford household. Like his coworker John, he helps prank Falstaff by carting the knight away in a laundry tub and throwing him into the muddy river.
Robin Robin is Falstaff's page, a young boy who acts as his messenger and servant. Robin's small size is often jokingly contrasted with Falstaff's girth.
John Rugby Doctor Caius's manservant, John Rugby is a man of few words—in contrast to the Doctor's other servant, the talkative Mistress Quickly.
Shallow Robert Shallow is a justice of the peace whose property has been vandalized by Falstaff. Eager to help his nephew, Slender, woo Anne Page, he eventually forgets his quarrel with Falstaff.
Simple Slender's servant, Peter Simple is employed mainly as a messenger and an errand runner.
Slender Young, socially awkward, and uncharismatic, Abraham Slender reluctantly and clumsily woos Anne Page at his uncle's insistence.
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