All's Well That Ends Well Literary Elements

All's Well That Ends Well Literary Elements





Setting and Context

The action of the play is set in a not so distant time from the period when Shakespeare lived; the action takes place at the Countess’s court, in France and in Italy.

Narrator and Point of View

Since All’s Well That Ends Well is a play, there is no narrator. Every character presents the actions through a subjective point of view.

Tone and Mood

Comic, ironic, tragic

Protagonist and Antagonist

The protagonist of the play is Helena and the antagonist is Bertram, her husband.

Major Conflict

The major conflict is between Helena and her husband Bertram and is the result of Bertram’s refusal to treat Helena as his lawful wife.


The play reaches its climax when Bertram unknowingly gives Helena his ring and has sexual intercourse with her, thinking that she is another woman.


Bertram’s refusal to go on the battlefield foreshadows his refusal to marry Helena.


When Parolles claims that he will retrieve the drum himself it is an understatement because he doesn’t retrieve the drum and he doesn’t exhibit the courage he boasted to have.


The play alludes on numerous occasions to Greek mythology and beliefs in general. Despite the action being set in a time when France would be more than sure Christian, the characters invoke the help of the Greek goddess of war when they go into the battlefield. Also, the names of the major female characters are also Greek and are also the names given to goddesses from the Greek mythology.


The way the play ends is highly suggestive because of the image portrayed at the end. Until the last act, Helena may be considered as being the one who lost everything, not being accepted by her husband and knowing that he wants to bed other women. At the end of the play, the tables have turned and Bertram is the one who becomes the submissive one. He is forced to admit that his wife had won and that he must treat her as his lawful wife.


The whole play can be considered as being a paradox. Helena is a beautiful woman who falls in love with the wrong man. Bertram is arrogant and just like the rest of the characters noticed, not worthy enough to deserve a girl like Helena. Despite this, Helena obsessively runs after Bertram even after he straightforward refused to marry her and live with her as her husband.


A parallel can be drawn between Parolles and Helena regarding the way they react to bad news. Parolles, instead of being affected by the fact that he was discovered for whom he is, chose to move on and try finding his place somewhere else. Helena as well, instead of letting herself be destroyed by her husband’s refusal, she chose instead to think of ways to get him back.


‘’under whose practises he hath persecuted time with hope, and find no other advantage in the process but only the losing of hope by time.’’

Use of Dramatic Devices

The dramatic devices are important because they offer information both about the characters and offer background stories the reader or viewer could not know otherwise. Also, the writer offers a direct description on his characters through the use of dramatic devices.

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