All's Well That Ends Well
Old Age and Youth Theme
Much like Romeo and Juliet, All's Well That Ends Well is interested in the generation gap between young and old. In this play, young men tend to be careless and shallow and the older generation worries about what will happen to the world when their children are left to run things. At the same time, Shakespeare points out that it's not easy for young people to grow up in their parents' shadows, especially when the older generation is always looking to the past as if it were some kind of golden age.
Questions About Old Age and Youth
- Is there evidence of a generation gap in this play? Why or why not?
- Compare and contrast the attitudes and behaviors of the younger and older generations.
- Why do all the young French noblemen run off to Italy? (Why does Bertram stay behind in Paris?)
- Why does the king of France choose to officially stay out of the Italian war?
Chew on This
All's Well That Ends Well dramatizes the generation gap and suggests that young people aren't equipped to make their own decisions without the help and guidance of their elders.
In the play, Shakespeare portrays members of the older generation as meddling busybodies who interfere and complicate the lives of young people.