All's Well that Ends Well

The King of France Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
The king of France is at the absolute top of the social hierarchy in the play, and is able to order others around, as when he compels Bertram to marry Helen against his will. Gravely ill at the beginning of the play, the king has given up all hope of recovery and is resigned to his own death. At the end of the play, the king tries to push the play to move toward a happy ending. He encourages everyone to forget about Helen and wants Bertram to move on and marry Lafew’s daughter. When Helen returns and everything seems resolved, he emphasizes how all the problems of the play have come to happy conclusions both at the end of Act 5 and in the brief epilogue.

The King of France Quotes in All's Well that Ends Well

The All's Well that Ends Well quotes below are all either spoken by The King of France or refer to The King of France. 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

But think you, Helen,
If you should tender your supposed aid,
He would receive it? He and his physicians
Are of a mind: he that they cannot help him,
They that they cannot help. How shall they credit
A poor unlearned virgin, when the schools
Emboweled of their doctrine have left off
The danger to itself?

Related Characters: The Countess of Rossillion (speaker), Helen, The King of France
Page Number: 1.3.249-256
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 2, Scene 1 Quotes

Those girls of Italy, take heed of them.
They say our French lack language to deny
If they demand. Beware of being captives
Before you serve.

Related Characters: The King of France (speaker)
Page Number: 2.1.21-24
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lafew:
I have seen a medicine
That’s able to breathe life into a stone,
Quicken a rock, and make you dance canary
With sprightly fire and motion, whose simple touch
Is powerful to araise King Pippen, nay,
To give great Charlemagne a pen in ‘s hand
And write to her a love line.

King:
What “her” is this?

Lafew:
Why, Doctor She. My lord, there’s one arrived,
If you will see her. Now, by my faith and honor,
If seriously I may convey my thoughts
In this my light deliverance, I have spoke
With one that in her sex, her years, profession,
Wisdom, and constancy hath amazed me more
Than I dare blame my weakness. Will you see her—
For that is her demand—and know her business?
That done, laugh well at me.

King:
Now, good Lafew,
Bring in the admiration, that we with thee
May spend our wonder too, or take off thine
By wond’ring how thou took’st it.

Related Characters: The King of France (speaker), Parolles (speaker), Helen
Page Number: 2.1.84-104
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 2, Scene 3 Quotes

'Tis only title thou disdain'st in her, the which
I can build up. Strange is it that our bloods,
Of colour, weight, and heat, pour'd all together,
Would quite confound distinction, yet stand off
In differences so mighty. If she be
All that is virtuous, save what thou dislikest,
A poor physician's daughter, thou dislikest
Of virtue for the name: but do not so:
From lowest place when virtuous things proceed,
The place is dignified by the doer's deed:
Where great additions swell's, and virtue none,
It is a dropsied honour. Good alone
Is good without a name. Vileness is so:
The property by what it is should go,
Not by the title. She is young, wise, fair;
In these to nature she's immediate heir,
And these breed honour: that is honour's scorn,
Which challenges itself as honour's born
And is not like the sire: honours thrive,
When rather from our acts we them derive
Than our foregoers: the mere word's a slave
Debosh'd on every tomb, on every grave
A lying trophy, and as oft is dumb
Where dust and damn'd oblivion is the tomb
Of honour'd bones indeed. What should be said?
If thou canst like this creature as a maid,
I can create the rest: virtue and she
Is her own dower; honour and wealth from me.

Related Characters: The King of France (speaker), Helen, Bertram
Page Number: 2.3.128-155
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident,

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Act 3, Scene 2 Quotes

I have sent you a daughter-in-law. She hath recovered the King and undone me. I have wedded her, not bedded her, and sworn to make the “not” eternal.

Related Characters: Bertram (speaker), Helen, The Countess of Rossillion, The King of France
Page Number: 3.2.19-22
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 5, Scene 3 Quotes

I wonder, sir, since wives are monsters to you
And that you fly them as you swear them lordship,
Yet you desire to marry.

Related Characters: The King of France (speaker), Bertram
Page Number: 5.3.176-178
Explanation and Analysis:

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If thou be’st yet a fresh uncropped flower,
Choose thou thy husband, and I’ll pay thy dower.
For I can guess that by thy honest aid
Thou kept’st a wife herself, thyself a maid.
Of that and all the progress more and less,
Resolvedly more leisure shall express.
All yet seems well, and if it end so meet,
The bitter past, more welcome is the sweet.

Related Characters: The King of France (speaker), Diana
Page Number: 5.3.372-379
Explanation and Analysis:

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Epilogue Quotes

All is well ended if this suit be won,
That you express content, which we will pay,
With strift to please you, day exceeding day.

Related Characters: The King of France (speaker)
Page Number: Ep.2-4
Explanation and Analysis:

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The King of France Character Timeline in All's Well that Ends Well

The timeline below shows where the character The King of France appears in All's Well that Ends Well. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Remedy and Resolution Theme Icon
Bertram, the young count of Rossillion, is preparing to leave to go to the king of France, whose ward he will be because his own father has recently passed away.... (full context)
Social Classes Theme Icon
Remedy and Resolution Theme Icon
Character and Judgment Theme Icon
...skilled doctor that he “would have made nature immortal,” and likely could have cured the king. Sadly, this doctor is dead. Lafew says that the king has mentioned this doctor before,... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Remedy and Resolution Theme Icon
At the royal court, the king decides not to interfere in a dispute between the Italian cities of Siena and Florence.... (full context)
Remedy and Resolution Theme Icon
Character and Judgment Theme Icon
The king describes the wit, honor, and virtue of Bertram’s father, and says that the current generation... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
Remedy and Resolution Theme Icon
Character and Judgment Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...Of rare and proved effects,” which she thinks may be able to help cure the king. She admits, though, that her real motive in going to Paris would be to see... (full context)
Social Classes Theme Icon
Remedy and Resolution Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...made by her father, the famous doctor, and she is confident they could help the king, if she were given the chance to go to Paris. She asks the countess’ permission... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Character and Judgment Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Back at the royal court, the king of France bids farewell to some noblemen who are leaving to fight in the war... (full context)
Remedy and Resolution Theme Icon
Character and Judgment Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Lafew asks the king if he will try any remedies for his illness, and the king refuses. Lafew tells... (full context)
Remedy and Resolution Theme Icon
Character and Judgment Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Helen tells the king who her father was, and the king says that he knew of her father, the... (full context)
Remedy and Resolution Theme Icon
Character and Judgment Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Helen says she will not force the medicine on the king, and the king again thanks her for her thoughts of helping him, but tells her... (full context)
Virginity, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
The king asks Helen how quickly she thinks she can heal him, and she answers that he... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Remedy and Resolution Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
At the king’s court, Parolles, Bertram, and Lafew discuss the miracle of the king’s recovery. Lafew remarks on... (full context)
Virginity, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Social Classes Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
The king has all his noblemen line up and tells Helen to make her choice. Helen speaks... (full context)
Social Classes Theme Icon
Character and Judgment Theme Icon
Bertram is immediately upset, and does not want to marry Helen. The king tells him that Helen has “raised” him from his “sickly bed,” and demands that he... (full context)
Virginity, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Character and Judgment Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Lies, Deceit, and Trickery Theme Icon
The king even promises Bertram to supply Helen’s dowry from his own wealth, but Bertram is stubborn,... (full context)
Lies, Deceit, and Trickery Theme Icon
...to head to Italy tomorrow, and send Helen to Rossillion immediately. Parolles says that the king has wronged Bertram by forcing him into this marriage, and the two leave to make... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 5
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Lies, Deceit, and Trickery Theme Icon
...that she has made arrangements for her departure from the royal court. She says the king wants to speak with Bertram. Bertram apologizes for not fulfilling his husbandly duty on their... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Gender Roles Theme Icon
The duke of Florence welcomes the French noblemen who have come from the king’s court. He remarks that he is surprised the king of France has chosen not to... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 4
Remedy and Resolution Theme Icon
Lies, Deceit, and Trickery Theme Icon
The next day, Helen journeys with the widow and Diana to go find the king of France in Marseilles. She thanks Diana and her mother for helping her in her... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 5
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 marrying his (Lafew’s) daughter, now that Helen is dead. The countess says... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Remedy and Resolution Theme Icon
Helen, the widow, and Diana arrive in Marseilles to find the king of France. Helen sees a gentleman whom she recognizes from the royal court and greets... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
Remedy and Resolution Theme Icon
Character and Judgment Theme Icon
Speaking to the countess, the king laments the death of Helen and says that Bertram didn’t... (full context)
Virginity, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Lies, Deceit, and Trickery Theme Icon
The king tells Lafew that Bertram will marry Lafew’s daughter. Bertram enters and apologizes to the king.... (full context)
Remedy and Resolution Theme Icon
The king says that there is no use in talking about Helen’s virtues now that she is... (full context)
Character and Judgment Theme Icon
Lies, Deceit, and Trickery Theme Icon
...advances and told her he was married, but she wouldn’t take the ring back. The king is sure the ring is Helen’s and demands that Bertram “confess ‘twas hers and by... (full context)
Virginity, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Character and Judgment Theme Icon
Lies, Deceit, and Trickery Theme Icon
The king says that he is “wrapped in dismal thinkings,” and suspects that Bertram may have had... (full context)
Virginity, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Lies, Deceit, and Trickery Theme Icon
Bertram is brought back in, and the king asks him why he wanted to marry Lafew’s daughter, when apparently “wives are monsters” to... (full context)
Virginity, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Character and Judgment Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Lies, Deceit, and Trickery Theme Icon
Diana asks the king to ask Bertram if he took her virginity. Bertram calls Diana “a common gamester to... (full context)
Character and Judgment Theme Icon
Lies, Deceit, and Trickery Theme Icon
Diana says that Parolles can testify to her case, and the king orders for Parolles to be brought to court. Bertram says that Parolles cannot be trusted... (full context)
Virginity, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Lies, Deceit, and Trickery Theme Icon
...have,” and “did love her . . . as a gentleman loves a woman.” The king asks Parolles to speak clearly about what Bertram did or didn’t do, and Parolles says... (full context)
Remedy and Resolution Theme Icon
Lies, Deceit, and Trickery Theme Icon
...She says that he will claim she is not a virgin, but she is. The king is frustrated with her confusing talk and is about to have her dragged to jail,... (full context)
Remedy and Resolution Theme Icon
Lies, Deceit, and Trickery Theme Icon
Bertram and the king are shocked to see Helen alive. Helen shows Bertram the letter he wrote her long... (full context)
Virginity, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Remedy and Resolution Theme Icon
Lafew starts to cry at seeing that Helen is not dead. The king asks Helen to explain what has happened, and then turns to Diana. He tells her... (full context)
Epilogue
Remedy and Resolution Theme Icon
The king comes out on stage and tells the audience that the play is over. He says... (full context)