All's well that ends well
Part of the Dover Thrift Editions series
Virtuous maidens, vulgar soldiers, and witty fools populate this extraordinary play, a lively romp that ranges from low farce to moments of great insight.
Although the play is a romantic comedy, Shakespeare offers some serious and thought-provoking dramatic fare before fulfilling the promise of the title.
In the fine tradition of the Bard's plucky heroines, All's Well That Ends Well concerns Helena, the daughter of a renowned physician, and her dauntless passion for the elusive Bertram, Count of Rousillon.
Risking her very life for the opportunity to choose Bertram as her husband, Helena's bid for Bertram's hand turns out to be only the beginning of a series of trials and tribulations.
Finally, at the end of a comic maze of mistaken identities, betrayals, repentance, and dramatic revelations, Helena's efforts to corral her unwilling lover achieve joyful fulfillment.
An ambiguous work in which mirthful entertainment is interwoven with a powerful subtext condemning class prejudice, this play possesses a singular combination of amusement and profundity that has intrigued scholars and theatergoers for four centuries.