A line-by-line translation

The Merry Wives of Windsor

The Merry Wives of Windsor Translation Table of Contents

Now you can read The Merry Wives of Windsor alongside a modern translation that anyone can understand. Use the translation to enrich your understanding of Shakespeare's original and avoid getting bogged down in archaic language.

Act 1, Scene 1

Shallow and others voice complaints against Falstaff, and Sir Hugh plans for Slender to marry Anne Page.

Act 1, Scene 2

Sir Hugh enlists Mistress Quickly to help persuade Anne Page to marry Slender.

Act 1, Scene 3

Falstaff plans to seduce Mistresses Ford and Page to get their husband's money. His servants plot to reveal his plan.

Act 1, Scene 4

Doctor Caius, who hopes to marry Anne, becomes angry when he learns that Sir Hugh plans to marry Anne to Slender.

Act 2, Scene 1

Mistresses Ford and Page receive Falstaff's love letters and plot revenge. Ford fears Falstaff might woo his wife.

Act 2, Scene 2

Falstaff is told that Mistress Ford wants to meet with him; Ford, disguised, learns of their meeting and grows jealous.

Act 2, Scene 3

Doctor Caius grows angry when Sir Hugh does not show up for their duel; the Host intervenes.

Act 3, Scene 1

The Host prevents a fight between Sir Hugh and Doctor Caius by directing them to different places. But he angers them.

Act 3, Scene 2

Ford, increasingly jealous, plans to catch Falstaff and his wife in the act. Page plans for Slender to marry Anne.

Act 3, Scene 3

The wives smuggle Falstaff out of the house in a laundry basket; unable to find Falstaff, jealous Ford looks foolish.

Act 3, Scene 4

Fenton and Anne want to get married, but Page, wanting Anne to marry Slender, won't permit it.

Act 3, Scene 5

Falstaff gets another invitation from the wives. He tells Ford, in disguise, how he escaped in the laundry basket.

Act 4, Scene 1

Mistress Page's son William enjoys a comically botched Latin lesson with Sir Hugh Evans.

Act 4, Scene 2

Falstaff once again visits Mistress Ford and escapes from Master Ford, this time by disguising himself as an old woman.

Act 4, Scene 3

Bardolph tells the Host that three mysterious "Germans" wish to borrow his horses.

Act 4, Scene 4

Once the wives have revealed their plot to their husbands, they all plan together to play a final trick on Falstaff.

Act 4, Scene 5

The Host learns his horses have been stolen. Falstaff, though shaken, prepares to accept the wives' new invitation.

Act 4, Scene 6

Fenton tells the Host about Anne's plot to thwart her parents' plans for her marriage and elope with Fenton instead.

Act 5, Scene 1

Falstaff prepares to meet the wives in the forest disguised as Herne the hunter.

Act 5, Scene 2

Page arranges for Slender to elope with Anne during the night's sports.

Act 5, Scene 3

Mistress Page arranges for Doctor Caius to elope with Anne during the night's sports.

Act 5, Scene 4

Sir Hugh prepares the townspeople to surprise Falstaff in their disguise as fairies.

Act 5, Scene 5

Falstaff is humiliated in front of everyone; so are the Pages when Fenton reveals he eloped with Anne. All reconcile.
Maria devlin
About the Translator: Maria Devlin

Maria Devlin received her Ph.D. in English Literature from Harvard University, where she specialized in Renaissance drama. She has worked as a bibliographical and editorial assistant for The Norton Anthology of English Literature and for The Norton Shakespeare. She is currently working with Stephen Greenblatt to design online courses on Shakespeare, including the modules "Hamlet's Ghost" and "Shylock's Bond" offered through HarvardX. She is writing a book on Renaissance comedy.

Maria Devlin wishes to credit the following sources, which she consulted extensively in composing her translations and annotations:

William Shakespeare. The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition. Eds. Gary Taylor et al. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.

William Shakespeare. The Norton Shakespeare, 3rd ed. Eds. Stephen Greenblatt et al. New York: W.W. Norton& Company, Inc., 2016.