The Merry Wives of Windsor
Lies and Deceit Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
There is no remedy. I must cony-catch, I must shift. (1.3.29)
Falstaff's solution to being broke is to seduce and swindle (aka cony-catch) a couple of rich housewives. But, as we know, things don't exactly work out as Falstaff plans. In the end, Falstaff the swindler is the one who gets duped when the housewives pull off a series of embarrassing pranks. Luckily for Falstaff, he's not alone. The same pattern happens to everyone who engages in shady behavior.
[...] take this basket on your shoulders. [...] and empty it in the muddy ditch close by the Thames' side. (3.3.7)
Need ideas for your next April Fools? Here, Mistress Ford orders her servants to empty the family laundry basket in the local river when she gives the signal. In the following moments, Mistress Ford tricks Falstaff into climbing into said laundry basket by telling him that her jealous husband will go nuts if he catches her with another man. Of course, Mistress Ford timed the whole thing so her husband would show up when Falstaff was in the house. A few moments later and right on cue, the servants carry Falstaff and the basket outside and dump him in the water. Good times.
Is there not a double excellency in this?
I know not which pleases me better; that my
husband is deceived, or Sir John. (3.3.148-150)
Mistress Ford can't decide which is more fun—teaching Falstaff a lesson or making her jealous husband look like a chump. This is one of Shakespeare's most important points, so pay attention: both Falstaff and Master Ford need to learn a thing or two about how to behave toward women.