All’s Well that Ends Well minimized

Rossillion is a region in the south of France. The Count of Rossillion has just died, as has his physician. The Count’s son, Bertram, and the physician’s daughter, Helen, are the play’s leads. Helen has a crush on Bertram, both probably teenagers.  The Count’s widow, the Countess, is caught in the middle, saying “Her father bequeathed her to me.”

1. Bertram leaves for Paris under a guardianship with the king, too young to be Rossillion’s count.  The king has a health problem.  Helen misses Bertram and wants an excuse to get to Paris. She concludes that if she can secure an audience with the king and when there convince him that through her father’s “prescriptions of rare and proved effects” she can cure him, she can perhaps get him to help her; that is if she can cure him.  Bertram is warmly greeted in Paris by the king, the king well remembering his father.

2. Helen arrives in Paris. Through good connections she does meet with the king and convinces him to give her father’s prescriptions a try. She says “not helping, death’s my fee. But if I help, what do you promise me?”  If she cures him, he agrees to help her get the husband of her choice. She cures him. She tells him Bertram is her choice. They marry, Bertram very reluctantly, but the king is the king. Bertram promptly leaves for the wars in Italy, sending Helen back to Rossillion.

3. Bertram sends a letter from Italy to his wife in Rossillion saying “show me a child begotten of thy body that I am father to, then call me husband.” Despondent Helen leaves on a pilgrimage. She meets the Widow of Florence and her daughter, Diana.  Bertram has been chasing Diana, having plans to meet privately with her late that night. Helen takes Diana’s place during the rendezvous, in a dark room, during a dark night.  Helen plans to get his ancestral ring.

4. All works as planned during the rendezvous. Helen gets his ring and gives him one, a ring the king had given her to use if she ever needed his help. Helen, the Widow and Diana leave for the south of France to meet with the king.  Rumor has it that Helen has died.

5. Bertram has returned to Rossillion and has agreed to marry the daughter of a friend of the king’s. He gives his fiancée’s father a ring for his daughter. The girl’s father shows it to the king who says “This ring was mine. I gave it to Helen.”  Bertram denies the possibility. Diana shows Bertram’s ancestral ring to the king. The Widow enters with a pregnant Helen who reads Bertram’s letter that had said “Call me husband when from my finger you can get this ring and are by me with child.” Helen wins Bertram back, Bertram saying “I’ll love her dearly, ever, ever dearly.”

 

 

Copyright © 2010 Minimized Shakespeare

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