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All's Well That Ends Well

All's Well That Ends Well


by William Shakespeare

Analysis: Three-Act Plot Analysis

For a three-act plot analysis, put on your screenwriter’s hat. Moviemakers know the formula well: at the end of Act One, the main character is drawn in completely to a conflict. During Act Two, she is farthest away from her goals. At the end of Act Three, the story is resolved.

Act I

Helen's got it bad for Bertram and she'll do anything to land him as a husband. She chases/stalks Bertram to Paris, cures the king's mystery disease, and wins a chance to choose any husband she wants. (That would be Bertram, of course.)

Act II

Bertram isn't ready to settle down with a "poor physician's daughter," so he refuses to sleep with his wife. He tells Helen that he'll never be a husband to her unless she can meet the following conditions: (a) get the ring off his finger and (b) get pregnant with his child. Then he runs away to Italy and starts sleeping around with other women.


Helen wins Bertram back by tricking him into having sex/getting pregnant with his child and... you guessed it, getting the ring off his finger. Game over.

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