All's Well that Ends Well

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A kind of jester in the service of the countess at Rossillion. High-ranking characters like Lafew and the countess order him around, but he is generally disobedient and teases his superiors with his clever wit and wordplay. Through his joking, he is able to exercise a slight bit of power against his social superiors who outrank him in the society’s rigid social hierarchy.

The Fool Quotes in All's Well that Ends Well

The All's Well that Ends Well quotes below are all either spoken by The Fool or refer to The Fool. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Virginity, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Simon & Schuster edition of All's Well that Ends Well published in 2006.
Act 1, Scene 3 Quotes

Countess:
Tell me thy reason why thou wilt marry.

Fool:
My poor body, madam, requires it. I am driven on by the flesh, and he must needs go that the devil drives.

Countess:
Is this all your Worship’s reason?

Related Characters: The Countess of Rossillion (speaker), The Fool (speaker)
Page Number: 1.3.28-32
Explanation and Analysis:

In another comic interlude, the Countess, Bertram's mother, exchanges jokes with her fool as the two discuss the topic of marriage. The Fool, who claims that he means to marry, says that he will do so because his body "requires it"--basically, he wishes to marry in order to engage in sexual intercourse.

The Fool's retorts go against the generally accepted idea that marriage is a holy institution, driven by a combination of love and piety. His view, however joking, is not without merit: people in All's Well often enter into relationships for reasons other than love, and the connection between marriage and sex is both stronger and more complicated than the characters want to admit. 

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The Fool Character Timeline in All's Well that Ends Well

The timeline below shows where the character The Fool appears in All's Well that Ends Well. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 3
Virginity, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Character and Judgment Theme Icon
Back at Rossillion, the countess asks a steward about Helen. She sees that a fool (a servant whose job is to entertain the court) is listening in, and tells him... (full context)
Virginity, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Social Classes Theme Icon
The fool talks at length about how he wants to have friends for his wife’s sake, and... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Social Classes Theme Icon
At Rossillion, the countess orders the fool to bear a letter to the royal court. The fool speaks contemptuously of the court,... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
Virginity, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Social Classes Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Helen receives the countess’ letter from the fool, and asks the fool whether the countess is well. The fool jokes that the countess... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Virginity, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Social Classes Theme Icon
Character and Judgment Theme Icon
At Rossillion, the fool delivers a letter from Bertram to the countess. He says that Bertram appeared melancholy, and... (full context)
Virginity, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Social Classes Theme Icon
The fool returns and tells the countess that Bertram has run away. He says that Helen can... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 5
Social Classes Theme Icon
Character and Judgment Theme Icon
...and Lafew blames Bertram’s bad behavior on the influence that Parolles had over him. The fool teases Lafew with some clever wordplay and doesn’t stop annoying him until Lafew gives him... (full context)
Virginity, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Remedy and Resolution Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
After the fool leaves, Lafew tells the countess that he has spoken to the king about Bertram possibly... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Social Classes Theme Icon
Parolles arrives in Rossillion and meets the fool. He asks the fool to give a letter to Lafew, and says that he is... (full context)