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Free Study Guide-All's Well That Ends Well by William Shakespeare-Free Notes
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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS

SETTING

The setting of All's Well That Ends Well begins in Rousillon, which is in southwest France. The setting alternates between Rousillon, Paris, and Florence, Italy.

LIST OF CHARACTERS

Major Characters

Helena

The heroine and orphaned daughter of the famous physician, Gerard de Narbon. She loves Bertram and is determined to marry him in spite of the vast difference in their social rank.

Bertram, Count of Rousillon

The young Count of Rousillon, whose father has also recently passed away. Bertram is forced to marry Helena on the insistence of the King. He dreams of great military honors and values his high social rank as extremely important. He is young and very impetuous.

King of France

The ailing King who is suffering from painful, incurable ulcerous sores. He is physically weak until he is cured by Helena's potion. In return, he tells Helena to select any lord she likes as husband and says that he will force him to marry her. As King, he has absolute reign over his subjects and does not take kindly to disobedience. He is a strong believer in personal virtue's superiority to inherited rank.


Countess of Rousillon

Bertram's mother and Helena's guardian. She is a powerful woman who is sometimes ashamed of her immature and often dishonorable son. She thinks lovingly of Helena.

Minor Characters

Lafeu, an old Lord

A sagacious old lord who is the confidante of the King of France and the Countess of Rousillon. He cautions Bertram to be careful of Parolles. He displays fatherly feelings towards both Bertram and Helena.

Parolles, a follower of Bertram

Bertram's confidante and flatterer. He is a mercenary soldier, a braggart, and a liar. He is disliked by the other characters who seek to expose his true character.

Lavache

A clown who was formerly employed by Bertram's late father. He is now a dependent of the Countess. He is a sometimes sarcastic, sometimes melancholy, court-jester.

Widow

She is an old woman of Florence with whom Helena lodges. She accepts a large sum of money to help Helena trick Bertram.

Duke of Florence

A duke that is involved in the Florentine wars. He welcomes the French Lords who offer him their help. He appoints Bertram general of his army and provides him with letters of commendation for his bravery in the war.

Diana

The daughter of the widow of Florence with whom Helena lodges. She is named after the virgin goddess of hunting and moon. She is a spunky young woman so incensed by Bertram's behavior toward his wife that she willingly helps Helena trick him and vows never to marry.

Mariana

A young Florentine girl who is solicited by Parolles. She warns Diana against the visiting Frenchmen and tells her to beware of their false promises and oaths.

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Free Study Guide-All's Well That Ends Well by William Shakespeare-Free Notes
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