While I was deciding what to write about this play, I came up with a question that probably can’t be answered. Did Elizabethans really do this kind of thing? All’s Well That Ends Well is another of Shakespeare ‘s romantic comedies. It is another play where two complete strangers or near complete strangers are thrown together in marriage.
The major problem with play’s romantic elements is that the Count, who is the main male character is forced to marry Helena. The king makes him do it. The Count knows the woman and does not like her because of her lowly station, but after the king lifts her station up, the Count still doesn’t like her. He tells her that he will never sleep with her and then goes off to fight in a war hoping to die instead of being married.
Helena still wants to be married after all of that. She concocts a plot to get the Count back. She goes to where he is fighting and tricks him into having sex and impregnating her. Then she sends word back to his mother that she is dead. The Count returns home to find out that he’s been duped, but somewhere on the journey from Florence to Paris, he decided he loved Helena after all. And of course once everything is revealed, all’s well that ends well.
I cannot help to think that if Shakespeare lived today and tried publishing this kind of stuff, he’d be a gas station attendant at a BP. The only thing that saves this play is that it is extremely bawdy. There are more sex jokes in this play than in any of the others I’ve read so far. There is constant joking of virginity and how the men ravage it. It is almost ridiculous how many sex jokes there are in this play. We have a clown character as well that does his best to keep things a little raunchy.
I’m quickly coming to the belief that for the most part, I don’t like Shakespearean comedies. So far they are too formulaic for my taste. But at least this play didn’t have a woman dressing like a man to trick the love interest. As they say (many times in this one) all’s well that ends well.
Darkly (and ending well),