The Merry Wives of Windsor Study Guide

The Merry Wives of Windsor

The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare

In the comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor, Sir John Falstaff decides to seduce two married women, Mistress Ford and Mistress Page, to get their husbands' money. The women don't fall for his plan and instead decide to trick him. Meanwhile, several men, including Dr. Caius and Master Slender, fight for the attentions of Anne Page, who is in love with Fenton. The comedy focuses on middle class characters and aims to show that wives can be faithful to their husbands while having some fun at the same time.

The Merry Wives of Windsor Quotes

The Merry Wives of Windsor , published in 1602, though believed to have been written prior to 1597, is one of Shakespeare's comedies. It deals with the misadventures of Sir John Falstaff and of other characters first seen in Henry IV Parts 1 and 2.

Act I

  • I will make a Star Chamber matter of it.
    • Shallow, scene i

  • All his successors, gone before him, have done’t; and all his ancestors, that come after him, may.
    • Slender, scene i

  • It is a familiar beast to man, and signifies love.
    • Evans, scene i

  • Seven hundred pounds, and possibilities, is good gifts.
    • Evans, scene i

  • Mine host of the Garter.
    • Evans, scene i

  • I had rather than forty shillings I had my book of Songs and Sonnets here.
    • Slender, scene i

  • If there be no great love in the beginning, yet heaven may decrease it upon better acquaintance, when we are married and have more occasion to know one another: I hope, upon familiarity will grow more contempt.
    • Slender, scene i

  • O base Gongarian wight! wilt thou the spigot wield?
    • Pistol, scene iii

  • Convey, the wise it call: steal! foh; a fico for the phrase!
    • Pistol, scene iii

  • Bear you these letters tightly;Sail like my pinnace to these golden shores.
    • Falstaff, scene iii

  • Tester I’ll have in pouch, when thou shalt lack,Base Phrygian Turk!
    • Pistol, scene iii

  • Thou art the Mars of malcontents.
    • Pistol, scene iii

  • Here will be an old abusing of God's patience, and the King's English.
    • Mistress Quickly, scene iv

Act II

  • We burn day-light.
    • Mistress Ford, scene i

  • I love not the humour of bread and cheese; and there’s the humour of it.
    • Nym, scene i

  • 'Faith, thou hast some crotchets in thy head now.
    • Mistress Ford, scene i

  • Why, then the world's mine oyster,Which I with sword will open.
    • Pistol, scene ii

  • This is the short and the long of it.
    • Mistress Quickly, scene ii

  • I have pursued her, as love hath pursued me; which hath been, on the wing of all occasions. But whatsoever I have merited, either in my mind, or in my means, meed, I am sure, I have received none, unless experience be a jewel.
    • Ford, scene ii

  • Falstaff: Of what quality was your love then? Ford: Like a fair house, built on another man’s ground.
    • scene ii

  • We have some salt of our youth in us.
    • Shallow, scene iii


  • Your hearts are mighty, your skins are whole.
    • Host, scene i

  • I cannot tell what the dickens his name is.
    • Mistress Page, scene ii

  • What a taking was he in, when your husband asked what was in the basket!
    • Mistress Page, scene iii

  • O, what a world of vile ill-favour’d faultsLooks handsome in three hundred pounds a-year!
    • Anne Page, scene iv

  • Happy man be his dole!
    • Slender, scene iv

  • You may know by my size, that I have a kind of alacrity in sinking.
    • Falstaff, scene v

  • As good luck would have it.
    • Falstaff, scene v

  • The rankest compound of villainous smell, that ever offended nostril.
    • Falstaff, scene v

  • A man of my kidney.
    • Falstaff, scene v

  • Think of that, master Brook.
    • Falstaff, scene v

Act IV

  • Why, woman, your husband is in his old lunes again; he so takes on yonder with my husband; so rails against all married mankind; so curses all Eve’s daughters, of what complexion soever.
    • Mistress Page, scene ii

Act V

  • This is the third time; I hope good luck lies in odd numbers. Away, go; they say, there is divinity in odd numbers, either in nativity, chance, or death.
    • Falstaff, scene i
    • Compare: "God delights in an odd number." ( Numero deus impare gaudet. ) Virgil, Eclogues , viii, 75.

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