Study Guide

The Merry Wives of Windsor Act 3, Scene 5

By William Shakespeare

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Act 3, Scene 5

Read the full text of The Merry Wives of Windsor Act 3 Scene 5 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • At the garter Inn, Falstaff orders Bardolph to "fetch" him a "quart of sack" (a.k.a. a lot of sweet wine) with a piece of toast in it.
  • Hey, wine and toast: actually totally a thing, especially if you call the toast a "rusk" and think of it like a biscotti.
  • Falstaff complains to anyone who will listen about being dumped in the Thames river with a bunch of nasty, stinky laundry.
  • Mistress Quickly shows up just as Falstaff chugs two big cups of sack and orders another round of drinks.
  • Bardolph wants to know if Falstaff wants eggs in his wine this time and Falstaff yells that, no, he doesn't want any chicken "sperms" in his drink.
  • (1) Gross. (2) Biology, dude. We think you maybe slept through life sciences.
  • Falstaff complains (again) about being dumped in the river by Mistress Page's servants.
  • Mistress Quickly tries to defend Mistress Page by saying that the woman's servants mistook their "erection" from her.
  • Haha LOL. Mistress Quickly is trying to say that the servants mistook their "directions" from Mistress Page but she ends up cracking a dirty joke without realizing what she's done. Mistress Quickly does this a lot. So much that we're not sure she's not doing it on purpose.
  • Falstaff can't resist. He says, "So did I mine, to build upon a foolish woman's promise." (Translation: Falstaff regrets being sexually aroused by Mistress Page's promise to have an affair with him. Oh, that Falstaff.)
  • Mistress Quickly says her friend feels really bad about the mix-up and wants Falstaff to come back to her house tomorrow between "eight and nine" when her husband's away.
  • As Quickly exits the stage, Master Ford shows up at the Garter Inn disguised as "Brooke."
  • Notice how people are always coming in and out of doors in this play? Just one more reason why so many audiences and literary critics compare the play to modern day TV sitcoms.
  • "Brooke" sits down at the bar next to Falstaff and pretends to be Falstaff's BFF/newest drinking buddy.
  • Falstaff tells "Brooke" about what happened to him earlier at the Ford house.
  • "Brooke" (a.k.a. Ford) is livid but tries to keep a straight face.
  • After Falstaff leaves, Brooke/Ford rages about how all wives inevitably cheat on their husbands. He vows to catch Falstaff at his house and declares that he'll be "horn-mad."
  • Brain Snack: Ford isn't the only Shakespearean character who thinks all wives cheat. In As You Like It, Touchstone gives a big speech about cheating wives and a bunch of guys even sing a song about it.

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