All's Well That Ends Well
How we cite our quotes:
She is not well; but yet she has her health: she's
very merry; but yet she is not well: But thanks be given she's very
well and wants nothing i'the world. But yet she is not well. (2.4.1).
When Helen asks Lavatch how the countess is doing, she can't get a straight answer. He says that the countess is healthy, but that she's not "well" because "she's not in heaven"(2.4.2). In other words, Lavatch thinks true happiness can't be found on earth. In case you hadn't noticed, this is sort of at odds with the play's seemingly happy-go-lucky title; it implies that nobody actually gets a happily ever after – at least not in this lifetime. We'll go ahead and let you chew on that for a while...
He had sworn to marry me
When his wife's dead; therefore I'll lie with him
When I am buried. (4.2.10)
Young Diana Capilet is seriously jaded by Bertram's attempts to get her into bed. Although Bertram has promised to marry her if his wife dies, Diana recognizes that he's just trying to sleep with her. We also notice how this passage echoes Romeo and Juliet (with a major twist), when Juliet says, "If he be married / My grave is like to be my wedding bed" (1.5.9).
He knows himself my bed he hath defiled;
And at that time he got his wife with child:
Dead though she be, she feels her young one kick:
So there's my riddle: one that's dead is quick:
And now behold the meaning.
[Enter HELEN and WIDOW] (5.3.22)
After faking her death, Helen finally emerges alive and well at the play's end. (Ta-da!) She's even pregnant with Bertram's child, the ultimate promise of the continuity of life. The funny thing is, this passage makes us feel a little creepy, especially when Diana says "dead though she be, she feels her young one kick." We know that Diana is just trying to sound cryptic, but she also manages to associate childbirth with death, which makes us wonder about this family's future. By the way, isn't that exactly what the countess does back in Act 1, Scene 1 when she compares the "delivery” of a child to her husband's death?