Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

*Windsor

*Windsor. Town on the River Thames that is the play’s principal setting. Windsor is also the site of Windsor Castle, about twenty miles west of the center of London. Landmarks in the town include the great park and the castle, Datchet Mead, the road to Frogmore, the Garter Inn, the great oak in the forest, the nearby sawpit, and the castle ditch, in which Thomas Page conceals himself with Justice Shallow and Shallow’s simple-minded nephew, Slender. The play’s Windsor is a solid, comfortable community that takes pride in itself. Apart from the decadent knight Sir John Falstaff, Master Fenton, Justice Shallow, and Slender, all the characters in the play are citizens of Windsor.

*Garter Inn

*Garter Inn. Windsor meeting place of Falstaff and his cohorts. The setting provides another perspective of Windsor society and affords Falstaff a place in which to hatch his scheme to replenish his finances by wooing Mistress Ford and Mistress Page, the wives of two substantial citizens.

Caius’s house

Caius’s house. Home of the stupid French doctor Caius that is the scene of sheer farce, in which the eccentric Frenchman is satirized. Production designers avail themselves of the opportunity to embellish the set with extra doors and paraphernalia that add to the scene’s zaniness.

Herne’s oak

Herne’s oak. Site of Falstaff’s third adventure, where he appears at midnight, disguised as Herne the Hunter with antlers on his head. The forest is appropriate for the references to Diana and Actaeon, with Falstaff’s becoming a parodic Actaeon figure.