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All's Well That Ends Well Theme of Family

Family drama is par for the course in Shakespearean comedy, which is why All's Well That Ends Well often reads like a daytime soap opera. Parents betray children, kids fail to live up to their parents' expectations, husbands cheat, wives scheme, and families are torn apart.  If there's one thing Shakespeare loves more than breaking up families, it's putting them back together again, whether they want to be reunited or not.

Questions About Family

  1. Why has Bertram become the king of France's ward?
  2. Explain why the countess of Roussillon is in charge of Helen's upbringing.
  3. What kind of mother is the countess? How does she compare to Diana's mom, the widow?
  4. Bertram is often compared to Hamlet, another young man who can't seem to escape his father's ghost. Do you think this is useful comparison? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Bertram is frequently compared to his dead father, making it difficult for him to form his own identity in the play.
Both the countess and the widow are forceful characters; they both have a strong maternal influence over their children.

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