The Merry Wives of Windsor By William Shakespeare Study Help Essay Questions

1. This play is the only one in the Shakespearean canon which deals with contemporary England as such. Identify aspects of the language which would lead you to call it a "realistic" play.

2. What significance do the various disguises and exotic costumings have in the play?

3. What is a courtly masque and how does the tradition of the masque function in the play?

4. Would it be fair to say that everyone in the play is a fool, or a potential fool?

5. What is a farce? To what extent is The Merry Wives of Windsor a farce?

6. Describe the main features of Falstaff's language.

7. Some scholars have felt that the Falstaff of The Merry Wives of Windsor is infinitely inferior to the character we know from the Henry IV plays. Do you agree?

8. Does this play show signs of hasty composition? Where?

9. Look carefully at Act III, Scene 3, and describe a possible staging of the "buck-basket" incident. What happens between the lines uttered during the concealment and those delivered during the transport of Falstaff off-stage?

10. Hardly a character in the play is unaffected by wealth, or the lack of it. How does each one's financial status influence his/her behavior?

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