Sir John Falstaff
Sir John Falstaff (FOHL-staf), the jovial, rotund friend of Prince Hal in Henry IV, who comes with his hangers-on to Windsor and amuses himself by wooing the respectable ladies of two merchants. Twice gulled by the “merry wives,” beaten and dumped into the Thames from a laundry basket, he tries a third time to succeed in his amorous designs and plans a rendezvous in the woods. He is discovered there by his friends wearing a buck’s head and lying face down for fear of the fairies and elves who have been pinching him. He accepts this last deception in good humor and confesses that he was rather dubious about the authenticity of the spirits who visited him.
Mistress Page and
Mistress Ford, the brisk, practical ladies on whom Falstaff practices his romantic arts. Incensed as much by his identical letter to each of them as by his presumption in writing, they outwit the fat knight at every turn and firmly convince their husbands of their fidelity.
Thomas Page, Mistress Page’s husband, a well-to-do burgher dwelling at Windsor. He trusts his wife’s ability to withstand Falstaff’s advances, although he follows his more suspicious friend Ford when he sets out to search for the knight at his own home. He disapproves of Fenton’s suit for his daughter’s hand, fearing the young man’s high social standing, and arranges Anne’s elopement with Slender. He is, however, quickly pacified when she announces her marriage to Fenton.
Ford, Page’s jealous friend. He disguises himself as Brook to ferret out Falstaff’s plans, and he instigates the searches...
(The entire section is 734 words.)