The Merry Wives of Windsor Characters

Bardolph: Bardolph is one of Falstaff’s cronies. Falstaff dismisses him from his service, and Host offers him a job as a tapster (one who serves liquor). It appears that Falstaff relents, however, since Bardolph’s appearances later in the play suggest he is still in Falstaff’s service.

Dr. Caius: Dr. Caius is a French physician who seeks to marry Anne Page. He speaks bad English with a French accent. He is also hot-tempered and challenges Evans to a duel. Mistress Quickly, his housekeeper, devises a scheme whereby he will be able to marry Anne, but the plan fails.

Sir Hugh Evans: Sir Hugh Evans is a pompous, verbose and foolish Welsh parson who does his best to arrange a marriage between Slender and Anne Page. Evans also takes part in the tormenting of Falstaff in Windsor Park, leading the children who are disguised as fairies.

Sir John Falstaff: Sir John Falstaff is a fat old knight who lives a dissolute, disreputable life. He likes to eat and drink and take advantage of others. His followers, such as Pistol, Bardolph and Nym, are all rogues and thieves. Falstaff is running out of money, however, and plans to seduce Mrs. Ford and Mrs. Page, so he can get control of their money. He is conceited enough to believe that these respectable married women will welcome his romantic attentions. His scheme does not work, however, and the “merry wives of Windsor” trick and humiliate him on no less than three separate occasions. Falstaff, although he is quick-witted and a master of words, simply does not realize that the women are deliberately leading him on only to make a fool of him.

Fenton: Fenton is a young gentleman who is in love with Anne Page and seeks to marry her. At first he sought her hand only because of the money she is inheriting, but he soon fell in love her for her admirable qualities. Anne’s father opposes Fenton, however. He believes Fenton is unsuitable because he comes from a higher social level and is too sophisticated and worldly for Anne. He also thinks that Fenton is motivated by a desire for monetary gain. But Fenton wins Anne in the end by devising a scheme that outwits the rival plans of Page and his wife, who have their own ideas about whom their daughter should marry.

Francis Ford: Francis Ford is Alice Ford’s husband. He is a jealous man and is very ready to believe Pistol’s story that Falstaff is having an affair with his, Ford’s, wife. Whipping himself up into a fury over the matter, he disguises himself as a man named Brook and tricks Falstaff into admitting his amorous designs on Ford’s wife. But Ford fails to catch Falstaff in the act, since Falstaff escapes in a dirty laundry basket. On the second occasion, the still jealous Ford beats Falstaff, thinking that he is the witch of Brainford, a woman whom he hates. Ford eventually discovers that his wife did not deceive him, and he asks for her forgiveness.

Mrs. Alice Ford: Mrs. Alice Ford is Ford’s wife. Like her close friend Mrs. Page, she is outraged when she receives Falstaff’s love letter. She resolves to get her own back on him by leading him on and then humiliating him.

Host: Host is the innkeeper at the Garter Inn who likes to meddle in the affairs of his guests. He keeps Caius and Evans apart when they want to fight a duel. Near the end, he is robbed of his horses by some of his German guests, and this gives him an incentive to support Fenton’s plan to marry Anne Page, since Fenton promises to pay him more money than he has lost.

Nym: Nym is one of Falstaff’s disreputable followers. He falls out with Falstaff by refusing to deliver his love letter. In response, Falstaff dismisses him from his service. Nym gets his revenge by divulging to Page Falstaff’s plan to seduce Mrs. Page.

George Page: George Page is the husband of Mrs. Margaret Page. He is not a jealous man and does not believe that Falstaff is trying to seduce his wife. When his wife explains to him what has happened, he joins in the mocking of Falstaff in Windsor Park, although not as much as the others, and he is quick to forgive. His main concern is in marrying off his daughter to Slender, but he is quick to bless Anne and Fenton when he realizes that they have outwitted him.

Mrs. Margaret Page: Mrs. Margaret Page is the wife of George Page. She is a virtuous woman who has no intention of deceiving her husband. When she receives Falstaff’s love letter, she is furious and vows to get revenge on him. She and Mrs. Ford gleefully plan to humiliate Falstaff, and they both enjoy every minute of it. It is Mrs. Page who plans the final trick on Falstaff in Windsor Park.

Anne Page: Anne Page is the daughter of Page and his wife. She is about seventeen and about to inherit some money. This makes her a very desirable bride, and she is sought by Slender, Caius and Fenton. Fenton is the only one she has any regard for, however, since the other two are the choices of her father and her mother, respectively. She marries Fenton.

William Page: William Page is the young son of the Pages.

Pistol: Pistol is one of Falstaff’s companions. But he refuses to deliver Falstaff’s love letter, which causes Falstaff to reject him. In revenge, Pistol divulges Falstaff’s scheme to Ford. Pistol also takes part in Falstaff’s final humiliation, dressing up as a hobgoblin.

Mistress Quickly: Mistress Quickly is Dr. Caius’s housekeeper. She also acts as a go-between for marriage negotiations. She promises to help Caius, Slender and Fenton in their marriage suits, even though they are all seeking the hand of the same girl, Anne Page. But Mistress Quickly does nothing to help any of these suitors.

Robin: Robin is Falstaff’s page.

John Rugby: John Rugby is Dr. Caius’s servant.

Robert Shallow: Robert Shallow is an old man and a justice of peace. He is Slender’s uncle. At the beginning of the play, Shallow is angry at Falstaff for various abuses and threatens to take the matter to the Council and also inform the king. But nothing comes of it. Shallow also plots to ensure that Slender marries Anne Page.

Peter Simple: Peter Simple is Slender’s servant.

Abraham Slender: Abraham Slender is Shallow’s cousin. He is shy and self-effacing, and always defers to his uncle, who wants him to marry Anne Page. Slender’s servant Simple describes him as having “a little whey-faced, with a little yellow beard” (whey means pallid.) Slender is not particularly interested in marrying Anne Page, but he is willing to go along with what his uncle has arranged for him. However, Anne Page thinks he is an idiot and has no intention of marrying him.