William Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well

Louise Harrington (Cardiff University)
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Along with

Measure For Measure

 and 

Troilus and Cressida, All’s Well That Ends Well

 is traditionally labeled a “problem play”. This term derives from F. S. Boas’s 1896 study, 

Shakespeare and His Predecessors,

 which considered 

All’s Well That Ends Well

Measure For Measure

Troilus and Cressida

, and 

Hamlet

 to be “dramas so singular in theme and temper [that they] cannot be strictly called comedies or tragedies”. In common with the other “problem plays”, 

All’s Well That Ends Well

follows a comic trajectory that ends in marriage, but that marriage is imposed on an unwilling groom and does not resolve the tensions aroused in the play. Shakespeare also used mixed modes in

All’s Well

, combining fairy tale improbabilities (magic potion, miraculous recoveries, and…

1885 words

Citation: Harrington, Louise. "All's Well That Ends Well". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 April 2004; last revised 07 June 2020. [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=6776, accessed 22 June 2024.]

6776 All's Well That Ends Well 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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