'The Merry Wives of Windsor' - Character Analysis

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Jamieson, Lee. "'The Merry Wives of Windsor' - Character Analysis." ThoughtCo, Jan. 1, 2016, thoughtco.com/merry-wives-of-windsor-character-analysis-2984868. Jamieson, Lee. (2016, January 1). 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' - Character Analysis. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/merry-wives-of-windsor-character-analysis-2984868 Jamieson, Lee. "'The Merry Wives of Windsor' - Character Analysis." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/merry-wives-of-windsor-character-analysis-2984868 (accessed October 18, 2017).
The Merry Wives of Windsor:
The Merry Wives of Windsor: "Falstaff in the Washbasket" by Henry Fuseli. Public Domain

In The Merry Wives of Windsor, character is the key ingredient that makes this play one of Shakespeare’s funniest comedies. This “who’s who” of characters is written to aid your study and enjoyment of the play.

You can also find more detail on Sir John Falstaff and Mistress Quickly in these articles.

Mistress Ford

A resident of Windsor, Mistress Ford is married to Ford, who is a fiercely jealous husband.

When Mistress Ford receives a letter from Falstaff trying to seduce her, she finds that her best friend Mistress Page has also received a similar letter. Mistress Ford is a strong independent woman and in the spirit of girl power she and Mistress Page decide to teach the men in their lives a lesson. They decide to humiliate Falstaff who has attempted to disgrace them. Mistress Ford also sets out to prove to her husband for once and for all that she is a faithful and loyal wife. She is successful in her plans and outwits the male characters proving herself to be a loyal wife but not without teaching her husband and Falstaff a lesson...don’t try and cross her or doubt her, you will regret it.

Mistress Page

Mistress Page also lives in Windsor. She is married to Page and is mother to Anne Page. Anne has attracted many suitors and Mistress Page and her husband disagree about who is most suitable for their daughter.

She prefers Caius as a match for her daughter whereas her husband favours Slender. Anne likes neither of her parents’ choices and she teaches her mother and father a lesson at the end of the play by marrying her true love. Mistress Page and her husband are made to see that the most important thing was to listen to their daughter and find out who she preferred.

Anne takes after her mother in many ways, she teaches them a lesson in the same way that her mother teaches Falstaff the error of his ways.

Ford

Ford is the jealous husband of Mistress Ford. Presumably low self esteem leads to him believing that Falstaff will succeed in seducing his wife, also a shameful lack of belief in his wife’s loyalty to him. Ford even decides to disguise himself as ‘Brooke’ to find out from Falstaff how his wife has been responding to his advances. Of course, Falstaff informs him that his wife has arranged to meet Falstaff secretly which enrages Ford further believing that his wife is being unfaithful. He eventually comes to understand the truth and gains more respect for his wife in that she orchestrates the humiliation and downfall of Falstaff and thus proving her loyalty to him as her husband. He is made to feel a little silly for not believing in her.

Page

Page is a much more easy going character than Ford and does not believe that his wife will be seduced by Falstaff – this shows that he has faith in his wife and shows their relationship to be much more secure. However, he does not listen to his daughter about who she is in love with and is finally taught a lesson by her.

Anne Page

Anne is Mistress Page and Page’s daughter. She has an array of unworthy suitors including Caius and Slender who her parents favour but Anne is in love with Fenton. She eventually elopes with Fenton and turns up with him to show her parents up and demonstrate that true love is more important.

Sir Hugh Evans

Sir Hugh is a Welsh Clergyman and much merriment is made about his accent. Sir Hugh Evans and Caius finally group together to humiliate the Host who has made fools of them.

Caius

Mistress Quickly’s Master and the local Doctor. He is French and like Hugh Evans is mocked for his accent. He is in Love with Anne Page and Mistress Page approves of the match but her husband Page and Anne herself do not like Caius. Caius teams up with Evans to give the Host his comeuppance.

Slender

Another match for Anne Page.

Urged on by Shallow, Slender tries to seduce Anne but is only able to talk  nonsense to her. Slender is overlooked by Anne.

Fenton

Anne’s true love, Fenton is discounted by Page who believes he is after Anne’s money, which he admits he was at first but on getting to know Anne he has fallen in love with her. They elope in secret.