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All's Well That Ends Well

William Shakespeare

Summary and Analysis Act V: Scenes 1-2


Helena, the widow and Diana are in pursuit of the king, whom they know to have traveled to Marseilles. Once there, they learn from a gentleman that the king has left in haste for Rousillon. Helena asks him to speed ahead with a message for the king.

In Rousillon, Parolles is begging the clown to deliver a letter of his own to Lafeu, when that gentleman appears. After teasing Parolles about his fallen status, Lafeu shows pity and bids Parolles to follow him to the count's palace (where the king has arrived), saying, "Though you are a fool and a knave, you shall eat."


Noteworthy here is the clown's relish in teasing Parolles with numerous scatological references to the "stench" he finds himself in with Fortune and society — "Fortune's close-stool" [toilet] and "a purn [dung] of Fortune" — and Lafeu's contrasting good-humored forgiveness of the knavish fellow.