Study Guide

All's Well That Ends Well Act 4, Scene 4

By William Shakespeare

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Act 4, Scene 4

Read the full text of All's Well That Ends Well Act 4 Scene 4 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • Helen is most definitely NOT dead. But you probably guessed that.
  • She's in full celebration mode with the widow and Diana. The bed trick has gone off without a hitch.
  • Bertram thinks he spent the night with Diana but he actually hooked up with Helen.
  • Helen tells us that the Italian war has ended and that Bertram is on his way to the king's new court in Marseille, France.
  • Helen has Bertram's ring on her finger and is pregnant with his baby, so she's headed to Marseille to confront her man. She's pretty sure the king will back her up.
  • Brain Snack: There's nothing in the dialogue or the stage directions to tell us that Helen is pregnant here, but in many stage and film productions, Helen has an obvious baby-bump. That said, some productions conceal her belly until the very end of the play, which is a lot more dramatic. How would you stage it?
  • Now that Helen is certain that she has Bertram exactly where she wants him, she promises to help Diana find a husband, too.
  • Then Helen begins to daydream about the X-rated night she spent with her unsuspecting husband.
  • She wonders how it's possible that Bertram could make such sweet love to the person he hates the most. (That would be Helen.)
  • She chalks it up to lust. (Psst. Go to "Symbols" and read about the bed trick if you want to know what we think about all this.)
  • Helen invites the widow and Diana to tag along to France. (Road trip!)

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