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MonkeyNotes-The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare
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Act III, Scene 2

Mrs. Page and Robin are walking down the street when they meet Mr. Ford. Mrs. Page reveals that they are on their way to meet Mrs. Ford. On hearing that Robin is Falstaff's servant, Ford becomes all the more irritated and is certain that both Mrs. Page and Mrs. Ford are involved with Falstaff. After Mrs. Page and Robin's departure, Page, Shallow, Slender, the host, Sir Evans, Caius, and Rugby enter. Ford has decided to surprise Falstaff and his wife, and he invites all the others to his home. Slender, however, declines the offer because he has to meet Anne Page for dinner. There is some discussion as to whether Caius or Slender has the best chance of winning Anne's hand, and even Fenton is mentioned; Page, however, dismisses the young man from consideration, for he is penniless. Ford again implores everyone to come home with him, promising them a spectacle. Shallow and Slender leave to keep their appointment with Anne. Rugby also leaves, and the host bids farewell to Ford in order to join Falstaff on a drinking binge. Everyone else departs with Ford to see his "spectacle".


Notes

Ford's thoughts are centered on his wife's guilt, and he is certain that Mrs. Page is an accomplice. His belief is strengthened when he sees Rugby, Falstaff's servant, with Mrs. Page, and learns that they are on the way to see his own wife. Not for a moment does he assume that Mrs. Page could be meeting his wife for a legitimate reason; he is certain that both women are involved with Falstaff. He decides that he will expose Falstaff and his wife by catching them together; his anger is so strong that he even invites the other gentlemen to be present for the "spectacle" that should occur. Everyone agrees to go except Slender, who is having dinner with Anne, and the host, who has planned a drinking binge with Falstaff.

When the host suggests Fenton as a suitor for Anne, her father refuses to give the young suitor any consideration, saying that "he shall not knit a knot in his fortunes with the finger of my substance." Mr. Page is not about to allow Fenton to use his family's wealth to cover his own financial losses from squandering his fortune in his wild days with Prince Hal. Ironically, Mr. Page will have little to say about whom the independent Anne chooses as a husband.

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