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The Merry Wives of Windsor

The Merry Wives of Windsor


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

Falstaff is low on cash, so he hatches a plot to seduce the wives of two rich citizens in Windsor, England. After all, says Falstaff, both women have been giving him "good eyes" and checking out his sexy "portly belly." What could possibly go wrong?

Act II

Falstaff has underestimated the wives, who are offended that he thinks he can get them to cheat on their husbands. They teach him a lesson by playing two practical jokes on him that result in the following: 1) Falstaff hides in a basket of dirty laundry that gets dumped in the river and 2) Falstaff dresses up as the "old woman of Brentford" and gets beaten up by Master Ford. LOL!


The "merry wives" finally decide to let their husbands in on the fun, and the two couples pull off one final prank where Falstaff arrives in the woods dressed as "Herne the hunter" and gets pinched and burned by a group of little kids dressed up as fairies. When the wives finally reveal the joke, Falstaff confesses that he's been had. The Fords and the Pages are a forgiving bunch so, Falstaff gets invited to a local wedding feast to prove there are no hard feelings.

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