Study Guide

All's Well That Ends Well Act 3, Scene 6

By William Shakespeare

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Act 3, Scene 6

Read the full text of All's Well That Ends Well Act 3 Scene 6 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • Over at the soldiers' camp, Bertram tries to defend Paroles against some French lords who are bagging on him.
  • We find out that Paroles lost a drum on the battlefield. (In sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe, infantries often used drums to convey orders during warfare.)
  • Everyone but Bertram seems to know that Paroles is a phony, a coward, and a liar. (What does this say about Bertram?)
  • The lords decide to play a trick on Paroles to prove that he's a fraud. First, they'll dare him to return to the battlefield to retrieve the drum he lost earlier. Then, they'll disguise themselves as enemy soldiers and ambush him. Paroles will be so scared that he'll rat out all of his fellow soldiers in exchange for his freedom.
  • (Sound familiar? It should. In Henry IV Part 1, Prince Hal and his buddies play a similar trick on Falstaff when they dress up like bandits and rob him on the side of the road. Later, Falstaff brags about how brave he was, when, in fact, he was a total coward.)
  • Paroles shows up and starts whining about his lost drum.
  • His frenemies triple-dog-dare him to run back to the battlefield to get it back.
  • Paroles takes the bait. He brags about how brave he is and says he'll go in search of the drum and be in touch by midnight.
  • After Paroles leaves, the lords make fun of him some more. 
  • Bertram is still skeptical, but the other lords tell him they'll be proven right about Paroles.
  • Bertram turns to the first lord Dumaine and basically says, "Hey, did I tell you about the little hottie I've been trying to get with? I keep sending her letters and gifts but she sends them all back."
  • Since the guys have some time to kill before they humiliate Paroles, they decide to go to Diana's house.

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