All's Well That Ends Well (Modern Library Classics)
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“A young man married is a man that’s marr’d.”
—All’s Well That Ends Well
Eminent Shakespearean scholars Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen provide a fresh new edition of this classic play about gender, desire, and sexual love.
THIS VOLUME ALSO INCLUDES MORE THAN A HUNDRED PAGES OF EXCLUSIVE FEATURES:
• an original Introduction to All’s Well That Ends Well
• incisive scene-by-scene synopsis and analysis with vital facts about the work
• commentary on past and current productions based on interviews with leading directors, actors, and designers
• photographs of key RSC productions
• an overview of Shakespeare’s theatrical career and chronology of his plays
Ideal for students, theater professionals, and general readers, these modern and accessible editions from the Royal Shakespeare Company set a new standard in Shakespearean literature for the twenty-first century.
Bertram’s folly. The Countess puts it down to his youth and asks for him to be forgiven. Lafew adds that he wronged everyone, especially himself, through the loss of such a wife. The King sends for Bertram and asks what his response was to the proposed match with Lafew’s daughter. Lafew says Bertram was content to do as the King wished. Bertram enters and the King tells him that he is “not a day of season,” meaning that his moods are changeable and now his anger has passed. Bertram begs his
the extraordinary variety of approaches and interpretations that are possible—a variety that gives Shakespeare his unique capacity to be reinvented and made “our contemporary” four centuries after his death. We begin with a brief overview of the play’s theatrical and cinematic life, offering historical perspectives on how it has been performed. We then analyze in more detail a series of productions staged over the last half-century by the Royal Shakespeare Company. The sense of dialogue between
fully and so desolately.132 The play ended with the lights fading on Helen and Bertram “looking warily at one another, circling each other, a pace apart, in a recapitulation of the choosing scene’s dance.”133 Turning to the rest of the cast, there was praise for “the wonderfully accomplished” performance of Gary Waldhorn as the King of France, while “Guy Henry as Parolles is bliss: tall as a hollyhock, trailing hippy scarves from unexpected quarters of his body and glitteringly garrulous.
characters are able to reveal aspects of their humanity that they wouldn’t if they were right in the middle of the event. For this reason, while we did show certain things when I felt that it might improve narrative clarity without betraying the play’s structural intentions (such as the ring exchanges described above), I also tried to honor the play’s impulse against showing certain events. I think many directors might be tempted to stage the bed trick in the interest of narrative clarity, but it
as to what “honour” and “nobility” really mean, and who is heading out into the world seeking these ideals having put all of his trust in the hands of a rascal named Parolles. It is easy for a production to dismiss Parolles as simply a clownish jokester, but I think that Bertram’s ultimate redemption (and thus, the play’s resolution and our ability to believe in Helen) is only possible if we understand that Bertram starts the play misguidedly trusting Parolles with his life. For this reason, I