All's Well That Ends Well
All’s Well That Ends Well is a play written by William Shakespeare. Although it has traditionally been classified as one of his comedies, many modern scholars refer to it as a “problem play” as it is difficult to tell if it is a comedy or tragedy.
Shakespeare wrote the play in 1604 or 1605, and based it off of a tale from Boccaccio’s Decameron. There is no record of it being performed during Shakespeare’s lifetime. A 1741 performance attempt was beset by problems, including the death of the lead actor, giving the play an “unlucky” reputation.
The plot revolves around the orphan Helena, who is in love with Count Bertram, courtier at the court of the King of France. When Helena is able to cure the King’s illness, she is promised the hand of any man, and chooses Bertram. Appalled, Bertram flees to fight in the Duke of Florence’s army. Bertram promised to be her husband only if Helena can gain his ring and become pregnant with his child, two conditions he promises will never happen.
Bertram becomes a general and is wooing Diana. Along with Diana’s help, Helena tricks Bertram into surrendering his ring. Thinking it is Diana, Bertram sleeps with Helena. Helena fakes her death, and Bertram returns to France. In the end, Helena reappears and Bertram promises to fulfill his obligations and be a good husband.