All’s Well That Ends Well
Helena has been the companion and ward of the Countess of Rousillon since her father’s death. The play opens when Bertram, the young son of the countess, and his friend Parolles leave for Paris to enter the service of the King of France. The countess discovers that Helena has fallen in love with Bertram and encourages her to follow Bertram to the French court.
By means of a rare prescription that her father left to her, Helena cures the King of a fistula and is given her choice of a husband. When she chooses Bertram, he rejects her because of her low rank. After their marriage, he sends her home to Rousillon. She receives a letter from him saying that he will never live with her until she obtains the ring from his finger and shows him a child begotten of his body.
By coincidence, Bertram’s troops are entering Florence just as Helena returns from a pilgrimage. Bertram is trying to seduce Diana, the daughter of a widow who offers Helena lodging. Helena tells the two women who she is and asks for their assistance.
Diana begs the ring from Bertram and agrees to an assignation with him, but Helena takes her place. Believing Helena to be dead, the countess writes to Bertram, urging him to return. Before he leaves, he discovers the cowardice of his foppish companion Parolles.
Just as Bertram is about to be married to another woman, Diana and her mother appear and insist that he is already married. When Helena is finally...
(The entire section is 572 words.)
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