Item description for All's Well That Ends Well (Arkangel Complete Shakespeare) by William Shakespeare...
As a reward for her service, the King of France allows Helena to choose a husband from among his court, but Count Bertram heads off to battle rather than marry beneath his station. Helena's daring plan to win the man she loves highlights this dark comedy.
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William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in April 1564, and his birth is traditionally celebrated on April 23. The facts of his life, known from surviving documents, are sparse. He died on April 23 1616, and was buried in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford. Russ McDonald is a professor of English in Goldsmiths College at the University of London. He is the author of The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare. He has served as a trustee of the Shakespeare Association of America and was a director of the Teaching Shakespeare Institute at the Folger Shakespeare Library."
William Shakespeare lived in Stratford-Upon-The Avon. William Shakespeare was born in 1564 and died in 1616.
William Shakespeare has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about All's Well That Ends Well (Arkangel Complete Shakespeare)?
Complex story, Superb comedy, and room for controversy Aug 19, 2008
I loved it.
"All's Well That End's Well" is a convoluted story of guys who want to marry the girl who doesn't want to marry them, but wants the guy that doesn't really want her but, wants to go off with another guy. There's a coward, homoerotic undertones, slapstick, deceit, and a king who is in charge and apparently clueless.
The significance of a devious, influential, and brilliant young woman as a heroine is easy to understand when Queen Elizabeth was in the audience. In a period of sophisticated intrigues and war, this was a relevant bit of entertainment. Knowing the original context, much of this play's relevance is retained after almost 400 years.
The subtle insinuation that Bertram would rather hang with his buddy that his lady is easily lost if you don't pay attention, and would be easy to play down on stage. It shouldn't be, it was part of the play, and adds a subtle and arch touch to the script.
I really enjoyed this one, especially when the coward Parolles gets burned.
E. M. Van Court
Fascinating Jul 2, 2008
In giving this play 4 stars, I am comparing it against Shakespeare's other work, not against any other writer. This is supposedly one of Shakespeare's "problem plays", but I don't see the problem. We have characters who have extreme emotions (a favorite Shakespeare motif) and some situations that border on ridiculous, but the emotion and heart of the conflict reflects reality in a way that only Shakespeare can produce. Although modern audiences may balk at Helena's throwing of herself at a man who disdains her, we must remember that Helena is in love, and thus, not always rational. Love wants its desires, not practical solutions. Alls Well also includes a wonderful Shakespearian character in Parolles. The man is a coward, a fool, and a braggart. The irony (and joy) of his character is that he knows and accepts these faults in himself. Despite his poor qualities, he is really the most honest character in this work. Read this play if for no other reason than to introduce yourself to this this great character. Existential questions about self worth and the paradoxical nature of humanity are the real crux of this play, and once again, Shakespeare shows us what it means to be human. As one character says in Act IV, "The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together..." Alls Well demonstrates this in the dual nature of almost every character and plot device.
Fascinating and rich Jan 12, 2008
All's Well has been unfairly treated. It's supposed to be one of Shakespeare's worst plays, but it is truly fascinating. It is subtle, and the conflicts are rich. Here, no one is purely good or bad, and perhaps it's the difficulty of feeling drawn to a variety of characters who are in conflict that makes people dislike this play. The female lead is bravely determined. The male lead is completely controlled by the political situation. Of course he wants his freedom! The adoration that the female lead feels for him must seem like a trap. . . And yet she does feel it, and she's willing to do everything to realize her dream. I love the reality of this play. It isn't glorious like Hamlet, it isn't abject like Lear. Instead, it's a picture of a middle class reality that gives us insight into sex, liberty, love, and authority.
Excellent Rendition of a Mediocre Play (Arkangel Shakespeare) Jun 15, 2007
Try as you might, you will have a hard time finding any redeeming social merit to the "hero" of this play. In an era of arranged marriages, "our hero" abandons his bride and runs off to the wars because she is not good enough for him. This opinion makes him a majority of one, since everyone else thinks she is too good for him. Before he leaves, however, he sets her an impossible task which will win his devotion, if not his love. The heroine then undertakes to fulfill the terms of the task. In order to accomplish the task she devises a plan which will wound everyone who loves her and take advantage of his unworthiness of her.
It's hard to see what she sees in him, but as the saying goes, love is not only blind, it is also deaf and dumb. The plot moves snappily along toward its foreordained happy conclusion, with the hero's aide-de-camp, a sort of cross between Iago and Falstaff, providing "comic" relief.
Arkangel Shakespeare has put on a five star production of a three star play. Many recordings of Shakespeare plays add poor sound quality to poor diction, resulting in a product that is difficult, if not impossible, to follow. The sound is good, the lines are well-spoken, and the dialog is easily followed.
Shakespeare's black comedy May 24, 2007
This play is probably not as great as others of Shakespeare's comedies, but it is still worth the effort. The play is quite ribald. It is a short play. The plot is a familiar one - a woman is set an almost impossible task, and if she succeeds in completing it, she will get her dearest wish. Worth a read.