The Merry Wives of Windsor "Wives May Be Merry, And Yet Honest Too"
by William Shakespeare

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"Wives May Be Merry, And Yet Honest Too"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

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Context: Sir John Falstaff, an old, fat, and foolish lecher, imagines that two light-hearted married women, Mistress Ford and Mistress Page, desire him. He sends them duplicate love letters. They compare notes, have a hearty laugh, and resolve to teach him a lesson. First, Mistress Ford arranges an assignation with him. He comes to her house. Shortly, Mistress Page arrives with news that Master Ford, accompanied by the Constabulary, is on the way home. Falstaff, alarmed, hides in a large basket of dirty laundry. Almost smothered in greasy linen, he is unceremoniously dumped in a ditch. Undaunted, he makes arrangements for another rendezvous with Mistress Ford. Again an alarm is raised. Falstaff is seeking another mode of escape. While Mistress Ford is finding a disguise for him in another room, Mistress Page talks to the audience.

MISTRESS PAGEHang him dishonest varlet, we cannot misuse him enough.We'll have a proof by that which we will do,Wives may be merry, and yet honest too.. . .