'The Merry Wives of Windsor': Summary (Part 2)

The Merry Wives of Windsor:
The Merry Wives of Windsor: "Falstaff in the Washbasket" by Henry Fuseli. Public Domain

We continue our plot summary for Th by picking up on the story as the plots against Falstaff mount. Will Ford and the others unravel Falstaff's plan to dishonor his wife!?

Note: You can read the first part of this plot summary here.

The Merry Wives of Windsor: Summary (Part 2)

Page, Ford and their men discuss Anne’s suitors then Ford invites the men back to his house to catch Falstaff.

On his arrival at Mistress Ford’s house, Falstaff is met by Mistress Page who is loudly remonstrating about Ford returning to the house because he suspects his wife of cheating.

Falstaff panics and asks them to help him to escape. He hides in a laundry basket and is taken out just as Ford and his men arrive.

The women are pleased to have tricked both Falstaff and Ford. They vow to humiliate Falstaff further and in the process to help Ford get over his jealousy.

Fenton is in Love

Fenton is with Anne Page and is telling her that he loves her despite her father’s disapproval of him. He says that initially he was interested in her money but that since he has got to know her he has developed deep feelings for her.

Shallow, Slender and Quickly enter and a meeting between Anne and Slender is organised. Page and his wife enter and they invite Slender inside as the favoured match.

Fenton asks Quickly to campaign for him in the affections of Anne. Quickly decides that she believes that Anne likes Fenton best out of the three suitors and will vouch for him.

Falstaff Tries Again!

Falstaff arrives at the Garter Inn soaking wet having been thrown in the river with the laundry and Quickly tells him that Mistress Ford would like him to visit again.

When Ford enters in disguise as Brooke he is told about his wife and Falstaff’s second assignation.

When Falstaff arrives at Mistress Ford’s house he is greeted again by Mistress Page who warns him that Ford is approaching. He refuses to go back in the laundry but agrees to dress as the servants’ fat aunt.

Ford hates the fat aunt and beats Falstaff and sends him away.

Mistresses Ford and Page agree that they have made their point and decide to reveal their plotting against Falstaff to their husbands.

Ford apologises for not trusting his wife and together they hatch a plan for her to meet Falstaff in a wood where their children will disguise themselves and ghosts and monsters and terrify him. Then in catching him in the act of trying to meet his wife they will tell the whole town and disgrace him.

Anne Page’s parents decide to use the frippery of the wood to encourage their daughter to elope with their preferred suitor Slender or Caius but she plans to marry Fenton instead.

Caius and Evans exact their revenge on the Host by stealing three of his horses. The Host believes he has lent them to three German Lords.

Falstaff Caught Again

Falstaff arrives in the wood and is buoyed to find that both Mistress Ford and Mistress Page have come to meet him but they pretend to hear a sound and run away screaming while their children dressed as ghosts taunt him with Mistress Quickly disguised as a fairy queen they burn him with candles and poke him.

Falstaff sees he has been tricked and humbled. 

Evans advises Falstaff that he gives up on his seductions and that Ford should trust his wife.

Amid the furore, Slender arrives and is upset that he has entered into a marriage with a young boy who he had accidentally mistaken for Anne.

Caius has made the same mistake and is also upset at being duped. Anne and Fenton enter and Fenton scolds Page for encouraging his daughter to marry a man she does not love. He informs Page that his daughter is in love with him and that they have married.

Love Wins Out

Ford declares that love has won out and Page admits that he made a mistake in not listening to his daughter’s wishes. Falstaff is pleased that Page has been humiliated a little too after he had himself been. They exit to celebrate the marriage between Fenton and Anne and invite Falstaff to join the revelry.

Note: You can read the first part of this plot summary here.