All's Well That Ends Well
Family Quotes Page 1
How we cite our quotes:
And I in going, madam, weep o'er my father's death
anew: but I must attend his majesty's command, to
whom I am now in ward, evermore in subjection. (1.1.1)
Bertram is not only mourning his father's death, he's also unhappy that he has to leave his home in Roussillon to travel to Paris (where he'll live as the king of France's "ward”). Since Bertram's father is no longer alive, the king acts as Bertram's new dad until he's old enough to legally manage his own affairs.
This is pretty similar to the opening of Hamlet, where an entire court is mourning the death of the old king and a young man (Laertes) is preparing to leave home. Hamlet, by the way, was written around the same time as All's Well, so we're not surprised by the connection.
The remembrance of her father never approaches
her heart but the tyranny of her sorrows takes all
livelihood from her cheek. No more of this, Helen;
go to, no more; lest it be rather thought you affect
a sorrow than have it.
I do affect a sorrow indeed, but I have it too.
Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead,
excessive grief the enemy to the living. (1.1.6)
This passage also reminds us a lot of Hamlet. Remember when Prince Hamlet's mom and new step-dad/uncle tell him to stop boo-hooing over his dead father? Here, Helen is told that her grief is excessive. If she keeps it up, people will think she's faking it. That's pretty harsh, don't you think?
Be thou blest, Bertram, and succeed thy father
In manners, as in shape! thy blood and virtue
Contend for empire in thee, and thy goodness
Share with thy birthright! (1.1.8)
Dang. There's a lot of pressure on Bertram to live up to his dead father's reputation. It seems like someone is always comparing Bertram to his old man. (It also seems like poor Bertram is always coming up short.) Come to think of it, this is a lot like what goes on in Hamlet; it seems like Shakespeare likes exploring what it's like for a young man to grow up in the shadow of a ghost.