Shakespeare Society: All's Well That Ends Well

West End Library

Shakespeare Society: All's Well That Ends Well

When was the last time you swore?

No, not with those choice, largely unprintable four-letter words uttered when you realize that you forget your wallet after a fancy dinner or step on a Lego in the middle of the night.

Instead, I mean the kind of swearing you make when you're trying to convince the object of your affection that your love is sincere and eternal. The kind of swearing that renders the denouement in rom-coms aspirational, Shakespeare sonnets gorgeous, and reality a total disappointment. The kind of swearing so desperate and intense -- so full of cringingly heartfelt, logically impossible qualifiers like very, always, forever --  that you physically dry-heave fifteen years later when you randomly remember just much you embarrassed yourself with all those, quite frankly insane, declarations of love and fidelity.

Let us hope, for your sake, that such swearings have never occurred or have receded so far into the past that they’re about as old as a boneshaker. Unfortunately for the main characters of All’s Well That Ends Well, love swearings -- oaths -- are alive and well to be made and broken. But it’s the maiden, Diana, who insightfully observes

'Tis not the many oaths that makes the truth,
But the plain single vow that is vow'd true

On Feb. 17, 2022, nine participants gathered virtually on Webex for two hours to discuss the act -- and art -- of oathmaking in All’s Well That Ends Well. Along with this topic, we also discussed the themes of marriage, wellness and sickness, the meaning of worthiness in one’s spouse, and possibilities. And, I hope for all our sake, that whatever misguided oaths we’ve made in life can safely be cataloged under this brilliant line from the play:

All's well that ends well; still the fine's the crown;
Whate'er the course, the end is the renown.

Learn more about the Shakespeare Society here.

-- My Nguyen