The Merry Wives of Windsor
Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Why then, the world's mine oyster, which I shall with sword open. (2.2.4-5)
Aristocrats like Falstaff aren't the only threat to middle-class values and everyday life in Windsor. Here, lower-class Pistol declares that he'll use his sword to make his fortune in the world.
He doth object I am too great of birth—, And that, my state being gall'd with my expense, I seek to heal it only by his wealth: [...] And tells me 'tis a thing impossible I should love thee but as a property. (3.4.4-10)
Just because a character is an aristocrat, that doesn't mean he's got money. Here, we learn that Fenton is from a noble family and has been looking for a rich wife. Poor members of the aristocracy often set their sights on women from rich, non-aristocratic families as a way to generate income, but people were wise to this: Anne's father does everything he can to prevent an outsider from swooping in and using his daughter to gain access to his money.
Sir Hugh, my husband says my son profits nothing in the world at his book. I pray you, ask him some questions in his accidence [Latin grammar]. (4.1.11-13)
Act 4, scene 1 is made up entirely of little William's hilarious Latin lesson. This scene says something about middle-class values in the play. It's important to Mistress Page that her son get a good education, and middle-class families like the Pages demonstrate that they have enough money and resources to send their sons to school. And check out how Mistress Quickly reacts during William's lesson. As an uneducated servant, Quickly doesn't understand Latin so she misinterprets the entire language lesson and thinks that Evans is teaching little William a bunch of dirty words.