Merry Wives of Windsor: Novel Summary: Act IV Scene 3-4

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Act IV
Scene 3-4
In scene 3, Bardolph tells the Host that the Germans who have been staying at the Garter Inn need to have three of his horses, to meet the Duke at court. The Host agrees, but says he will make them pay for the horses.
In scene 4, Ford, who has been shown the letters Falstaff wrote and how the women responded to them, asks forgiveness of his wife.
Then Page, Ford, their wives, and Evans plan yet another trick on Falstaff. The women will ask him to meet them in the wood at night, disguised as Herne the Hunter, the spirit of a man who used to be a keeper in the forest. Herne is said to appear with great horns and cause mischief in the wood. When Falstaff comes and meets the women, Anne Page and a few more children will pretend to be fairies and rush at him. The women will run away, and the children will encircle him and pinch him and ask him why he dares to tread on their sacred paths.
Mrs. Ford suggests that the fairies will continue to pinch him and burn him with tapers until he admits the truth. Then everyone else will appear and mock Falstaff all the way back to Windsor.
Page plots to allow Slender to marry his daughter immediately after the joke in Windsor forest, while Mrs. Page lays plans to marry Anne off to Caius. She thinks Slender is an idiot, whereas Caius has money, as well as friends at the royal court.
Analysis
The horse-stealing described in scene 3 begins a new subplot. Since it emerges so suddenly, is not connected to the main action, and never fully resolves itself, some scholars posit the idea of a "lost scene" of the play, in which this sub-plot was resolved. Others have argued that the horse-stealing is a plot hatched by Caius and Evans, who in Act 3, scene I resolve to be revenged on the Host because he has deceived them. But this revenge is never enacted, unless it takes place through this horse-stealing episode.
The role of wealth and social position in producing a desirable marriage is again emphasized in scene 4, when Mrs. Page says that her daughter will marry Caius because he has money and favor at court. She is determined to stick to her choice even if twenty thousand worthier men come to court Anne.

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