All's Well That Ends Well
This article is about Shakespeare's play. For other uses, see All's Well That Ends Well (disambiguation).
All’s Well That Ends Well, one of William Shakespeare's plays, is the story of its heroine, Helen, more so than the story of Bertram, for whose love she yearns. Helen wins Bertram as her husband despite his lack of interest and higher social standing, but she finds little happiness in the victory as he shuns, deserts, and attempts to betray her.
The play suggests some sympathy for Bertram. As a ward to the French king, he must remain at court while his friends go off to war and glory. When Helen cures the King, he makes Bertram available to her. To exert any control over his life, Bertram goes to war in Italy.
Helen then takes the initiative in furthering their marriage, undertaking an arduous journey and a daring trick. Few today, however, see a fairy-tale ending.
Most scholars believe that Shakespeare wrote All’s Well That Ends Well between 1601 and 1605. Its first known publication was in the 1623 First Folio. Among Shakespeare’s sources was William Painter’s Palace of Pleasure, an English translation of the story as told in Boccaccio's Decameron.
Productions at the Folger
Hamnet link to Folger Edition: PR2753 .M6 2003 copy 2 v.04
In popular culture
The Folger owns at least seven stand-alone translations of All's Well That Ends Well in various languages (not including collected works). Cataloging of these works is ongoing as of early 2015, and many have full-level catalog records, but some works still have only partial records. Translations can be found Hamnet in by searching for "Translations"in the Genre/Form Term field, or by searching the Call Number (Left-Anchored) field for call numbers starting with PR2796 (see the list of Sh.Col. translations call numbers for specific language call numbers). Since not all translations are fully cataloged, some items may only turn up in one of these searches.
Explore the curated image group for All's Well That Ends Well in the Folger digital image collection.
- Adapted from the Folger Library Shakespeare edition, edited by Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. © 2001 Folger Shakespeare Library.