The Merry Wives of Windsor
The Merry Wives of Windsor Jealousy Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line)
Let's be revenged on him [...]
[...] I will consent to act any villainy against
him that may not sully the chariness of my honesty. (2.1.82-87)
In case you need evidence that the wives aren't cheating on their husbands with Falstaff, here you go. When Falstaff puts the moves on them, they pretend to be interested so they can embarrass him in public. That's why Mistress Page says "[w]ives may be merry, and yet honest, too" (4.2.89). In other words, a sense of humor never hurt anyone. (We think Ford should look into that.)
that my husband saw this letter! it would give
eternal food to his jealousy.
Why, look where he comes; and my good man too: he's
as far from jealousy as I am from giving him cause;
and that I hope is an unmeasurable distance. (2.1.86-92)
Now this is interesting! Apparently, Master Ford has had a history of jealousy, long before Falstaff came along. It's almost as if Ford's mistrust of his wife is like some kind of weird medical condition or something. But check it out: Page trusts his wife, and she deserves it. It's almost like they're partners or something. Isn't that a novel ideal?
Though Page be a secure fool, an stands so firmly on his wife's frailty, yet I cannot put off my opinion so easily: she was in his company at Page's house; and what they made there, I know not. (2.1.202-205)
Jealous Master Ford thinks Page is an idiot for trusting a woman who is obviously "frail" (aka was born with a weakness of moral character). Ford isn't alone. A lot of people in the 16th and 17th centuries thought that all women were born flawed, so they were prone to cheating on their husbands. Fun fact: one dominant theory of gender at Shakespeare's time didn't think of men and women as separate sexes. Women were just like men, only defective.