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MonkeyNotes-The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare
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Act IV, Scene 1

Mistress Page, Mistress Quickly, and William, the Pages' son, are seen walking down the street. Quickly informs Mrs. Page of Falstaff's meeting with Mrs. Ford and urges her to join them there. Sir Evans enters and speaks to them. On Mrs. Page's urging, he quizzes William in Latin. Mistress Quickly makes humorous remarks throughout this tutorial. Evans then sends the boy away and compliments Mrs. Page on her son's good memory.


Notes

This scene is inconsequential as far as the plot is concerned. Mrs. Quickly, when speaking about Falstaff, calls him "courageous." She probably means outrageous, but her malapropism (a humorous misapplication of a word) is surprisingly and ironically appropriate at this point. The Pages' son, William, is with his mother during this scene. When she spies Evans, she asks him to test the boy's memory of his Latin. Shakespeare's audience would have understood the puns and word play in Latin, but any audience can appreciate the contrast between the scholarly Evans and the simple Mistress Quickly. She humorously misinterprets the Latin words, revealing her ignorance. She even finds sexual references where there are none and curses Evans for teaching a child such words.

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