dying King recovers his health through the ministrations of Helena. He
rewards her with marriage to the unwilling Bertram. Bertram's disdain for a
commoner sparks the King's most important speech, a lecture on the value of
individual virtues over social rank, a trenchant summary of one of the
play's important themes. He forgives Bertram's flight from Helena, but he
then presides over the exposure of the young man's perfidy towards Diana and
his justice is as stern as his forgiveness had been yielding. When Helena
finally unravels the plot and the final reconciliation takes place, the King
behaves with great magnanimity, granting a dowry to Diana and offering a
final statement that, although qualified, insists on the traditional happy
ending of Comedy: 'All yet seems well, and if it end so meet, ‘The bitter
past, more welcome is the sweet'.
With the Countess and Lord Lafeu, the King helps provide an atmosphere of
generosity and wisdom that offsets the play's unpleasant aspects. His
gracious welcome of Bertram in 1.2 stimulates in the audience a sense that
the young man, despite his faults, is basically worthy. Similarly, his
immediate appreciation of Helena in 2.1 helps to establish her virtue. The
King is himself a wholly sympathetic figure, a stereotypically 'good' ruler:
wise and moderate in deciding not to go to war while still permitting his
young noblemen to distinguish themselves on campaign in Italy; touching in
his nostalgic remembrance of Bertram's father; and generous in friendship
and ; forgiveness to the young people.
The ruler of Florence.
In 3.1 the Duke welcomes the French noblemen who have come to fight for him
against Siena, and in 3.3 he appoints Bertram to command his cavalry. The
Duke is merely an example of a courtly ruler, offering a contrast with the
less chivalrous behavior of Bertram and Parolles.
Count of Rousillon.
Bertram is a young French nobleman, the errant husband of Helena. Bertram is
an imperfect man whose decline from callous self-absorption to more serious
sin s arrested only by Helena's forceful entrapment. That his peccadilloes
make him seem unworthy of Helena's love is one of the play's most bothersome
features; as Samuel Johnson complained, Bertram is 'dismissed into
happiness' that he clearly does not deserve. Moreover, his highly qualified
acceptance of Helena in the play's final scene does much to dilute any sense
of resolution. This is one of the aspects of All's Well that places it among
the ‘Problem Plays’.
Helena persuades the King to make Bertram marry her as her reward for curing
the monarch. Under the influence of the foppish coward Parolles, Bertram
defies the King and abandons Helena, an act that the other characters
uniformly deplore, and he departs from her with casual cruelty in 2.5.
Bertram then declines into further immorality as he attempts to seduce the
virginal Diana. As his mother, the Countess, remarks, he 'cannot thrive'
(3.4.26) without Helena's influence.
attitude towards this undeniably dubious figure must color our sense of the
play as a whole, and many commentators have felt that he is important
evidence that All's Well is a bitter satire. However, we can see that
Shakespeare took considerable pains to mitigate Bertram's failings: the
playwright altered his source, a tale by Boccaccio, in Bertram's favor, and
because of his youth his youth he is excused for his misdeeds, and his
virtues, by way of compensation for them. In Boccaccio, the character
corresponding to Bertram goes to the wars expressly to avoid his wife, while
Shakespeare's young man displays an earlier desire to leave, a noble urge to
distinguish himself in battle. His unwelcome marriage makes flight all the
more alluring, and Parolles encourages him in this rebellion. Parolles is
himself an addition to the tale, and although Bertram's in thinking
acceptance of Parolles advice reveals his own shallowness, it is also clear
that Parolles' chief function is to deflect blame from Bertram. Not only
does he encourage Bertram s flight, but he is also the go-between who
furthers his seduction of Diana. Other characters, particular y the First
Lord and the Countess, explicitly hold Parolles responsible for corrupting
Bertram's youth, another plausible excuse for his folly is repeatedly
referred to. He is in his 'minority (4 5 69), a ward of the King, who feels
he is too young be a soldier. Lord Lafew is asked to advise him for he is 'unseason'd'
(1.1.67). When he rejects Helena, the King calls him a 'proud, scornful boy'
(2.3.151) and when his mother learns of his flight, she calls him a •rash
and unbridled boy' (3.2.27). Even Parolles describes him as 'a foolish idle
boy', 'a dangerous and lascivious boy', 'that lascivious young boy’. In 5.3
the Countess asks the King to forgive Bertram his 'natural rebellion done i'
th' blade of youth' (5.3.6), and he himself confesses to having seduced
Diana 'i' th' wanton way of youth' (5.3.210).
only is Bertram excused for his youth, but he is also aggrandized for his
virtues. The Duke of Florence appoints him a cavalry commander despite his
age, and he triumphs, being reported 'high in fame'. In Boccaccio, his
counterpart was merely an officer. He receives the praise of both the
Countess and the King, as well as the intense approval of Helena. Even the
First and Second Lords, though they deplore his morals, nonetheless
recognize that 'he contrives against his own nobility' (4.3.23-24). Further,
Bertram is linked with the virtues of his late father by both the Countess
and the King in 1.1 and 1.2. The hope that Bertram will grow into nobility
does much to enhance our acceptance of his youthful faults.
5.3 Bertram is exposed as a moral coward and a liar, falsely maligning Diana
and retreating ignomimously before the King's interrogation. His disgrace is
complete. Then suddenly he is rescued by Helena's return. Bertram's
wickedness is stressed mercilessly just before he is restored to favor, in
order to emphasize the power of his redemption through Helena's love. His
central position in the reconciliation that closes the play elevates him to
Helena's level of goodness. However, Bertram's ignominy cannot be
completely ignored, and Shakespeare acknowledges the truth of the situation
by keeping Bertram in character to the end. His initial response to Helena's
arrival is ambiguous: his '0 pardon!' (5.3.302) has been seen as genuine
repentance but also as a self-serving effort to lessen his disgrace, for
when Helena asks him to acknowledge that he is truly her husband, he does
not reply to her but speaks only to the King and only with a qualification:
'If she, my liege, can make me know this clearly / I'll love her dearly,
ever, ever dearly.
Shakespeare tried to merge the traditional happy ending demanded by comedy
with the psychological realism of Bertram's portrayal as a callow,
thoughtless youth. The attempt is generally regarded as a failure; hat
Bertram is all too human is part of the problematic nature of All's Well
That Ends Well.
Lord Lafew is a an old and trusted member of the King’s court and a friend
of the Countess. Lafew is an elderly gentleman who comments on the main
action. He also introduces Helena to the King, whom she cures, thereby
winning Bertram as her husband. Lafew counsels Bertram, the Countess' son,
to accept marriage to Helena and to reject the friendship of Parolles, but
Bertram ignores him. Lafew is most prominent in 2.3.184-260, where he
mercilessly insults Parolles, recognizing that the foppish, boastful
courtier lacks the nerve to fight. Lafew's temper justifies his name, the
French for 'fire'. The episode clinches our recognition that Parolles is a
coward and blusterer, though Bertram does not see this until later in the
5.3 Lafew accepts the thoroughly defeated Parolles into his household as a
Fool, or jester, a generous gesture that exemplifies the play's spirit of
reconciliation. Thus Lafew demonstrates the wisdom to be found in the
courtly world of honor and patronage, both by exposing Parolles as a
scoundrel and by sympathizing with him later. Throughout the play, Lafew,
with the Countess and the King, represents a world of wisdom and generosity
that stands in contrast to the less pleasant major plot.
a follower of Bertram.
Parolles is a bragging and cowardly follower of Bertram. As his name, the
French for 'words', suggests, Parolles is a blusterer who pretends to be a
warrior and nobleman but whose deeds cannot match his boasts. Shallow and
thoughtless, he influences Bertram to follow his worst in- Instincts.
Parolles aggravates Bertram's tendencies to self indulgence, and he
encourages him to disobey the King and run away to the wars in Italy. After
Parolles' humiliation in 2.4 by Lord Lafeu, who has seen through his
pretensions to gentlemanly status, he is ready to leave the court; he sees
his chance in Bertram's wish to abandon Helena, whom the King has made him
marry. 'A young man married is a man that's marr'd. Therefore away'
(2.3.294-295), he urges. Once in Italy, Parolles again supports Bertram's
inclinations to vice, serving as a go-between in the young man's attempt to
seduce the virginal Diana . Bertram's friends, led by the First Lord, then
'capture' Parolles and expose his cowardice and treachery in 4.3.
Parolles' defects have been recognized all along by everyone around Bertram.
Upon his first appearance, Helena calls him 'a notorious liar ... a great
way fool, solely a coward' (1.1.108-109), and the Lords agree with Bertram's
mother, the Countess, that her son has been corrupted by Parolles, who is a
'very tainted fellow, and full of wickedness' (3.2.87). Parolles thus serves
an important dramatic function, deflecting the negative image that might
otherwise be attached to Bertram, whose stature must not sink too low, lest
the central element of the plot—the determination of Helena to marry
his evil influence on Bertram, Parolles is most nearly the play's villain.
However, after his exposure as a charlatan, Parolles shows a striking
resilience. Though his self-promoted career as a noble warrior is over, he
will make the most of his new situation. 'Simply the thing I am / Shall make
me live' (4.3.322-323), he observes, realizing that he can, 'being fooi'd,
by fool'ry thrive' (4.3.327). He resolves to become a jester, or Fool,
among the French lords, a role well suited to his nature. In a line that is
richly suggestive of Shakespeare's generous vision of humanity, he declares
that 'There's place and means for every man alive' (4.3.328). In becoming a
fool and acknowledging his defects, Parolles shows himself wiser than
Bertram, preceding him in self-knowledge, just as he has preceded him in
delinquency. His acceptance of life on any terms demonstrates a tremendous
vitality, and he is certainly the most dynamic character in the play, with
the possible exception of Helena.
Significantly, Parolles sparks Helena's energy in 1.1. In this scene Helena
is understandably depressed; the household is in mourning for both Bertram's
father and her own, and Bertram, her secret love, is leaving. Then Parolles
appears, and his broadly humorous exercise in fashionable cynicism about
virginity has a two-fold effect on the heroine. First, she sees that the
courtly life that Parolles represents will offer sexual opportunities for
Bertram, which she fears he will accept. Second, Parolles' vitality inspires
Helena to declare, 'Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie' (1.1.212), and to
decide to pursue Bertram. Thus Parolles' energy pervades All's Well,
infusing the spirits of both major characters for good and evil alike.
Finally, in becoming the jester for his old enemy Lafew at the close of the
play, Parolles accepts—unconditionally, in contrast to Bertram—the
reconciliation that is at the heart of Shakespearean Comedy. Although he has
a distinct and credible personality, Parolles is descended from an ancient
comic character type, the Miles Gloriousus of ancient Roman drama and the
braggart soldier of Italian Commedia Dell’Arte; he shares his ancestry with
several other Shakespearean characters, most notably Falstaff.
Lavatch is the, court jester to the Countess of Rossillion. The Clown
comments on aspects of the play, both through parody and by direct
references. He professes to be a rustic suggests), 'a wood-land fellow'
(4.5.44) who enjoys ridiculing the royal court, but he is clearly a
sophisticated professional Fool. His somewhat cynical worldliness adds an
element of realism that counters the improbabilities of the play.
Sometimes the Clown is overtly contemptuous, as in his insults to Parolles
in 2.4 and his disparagement of Bertram in 3.2, but usually his function is
more indirectly carried out; his concerns parallel those of the main plot,
drawing our attention to it in odd ways. For instance, he expounds upon his
proposed marriage to 'Isbel the woman' (1.3.16) just after we have been
introduced to Helena and Bertram. He goes on to equate Helena with Helen of
Troy, a digression that suggests the sexual conflict emerging in the main
story line. Later, in 3.2, he rejects Isbel, apparently out of sexual
exhaustion, just as the Countess is reading the letter in which Bertram
tells of his rejection of Helena. The Clown's parody of courtly manners in
2.2 immediately precedes Parolles' assumption of gentlemanly airs in 2.3 and
is itself a commentary on the vanity of social rank, a theme of the play. In
his final lines, in which he asserts exuberantly that Parolles smells bad,
he not only emphasizes Parolles' loss of status, but the rankness of his
'similes of comfort' (5.2.24-25) seems to sum up the play's obnoxious
developments to this point. At the same time, he offers some sympathy for
Parolles, declaring 'I do pity his distress' (5.2.24), thus maintaining our
hope of a milder outcome, which is indeed about to develop.
Clown is an oddly melancholy jester, with his low-key parodies of theology
and his claim to be in the service of'the black prince ... alias the devil'
(4.5.39- 40). He is sometimes somewhat nasty, as when he rejects Isbel, and
he can be overly wordy, as Lafeu reminds us when he tells him 'Go thy ways;
I begin to be aweary of thee' (4.5.53). However, the Countess clearly enjoys
him, though she recognizes that he is a 'shrewd knave and an unhappy'
(4.5.60). He reminds her of her late husband, 'who made himself much sport
out of him' (4.5.61-62). The pleasant relation-ship between the Countess and
her jester contributes to our sense of her household as a source of
generosity and kindness that helps to offset the unpleasant aspects of the
play. It is presumed that the Clown's part was intended for Robert Armin,
the actor who specialized in jesters for the King’s Men. His name, Lavatch
(sometimes rendered Lavache), name is usually regarded as a corruption of
the French la vache ('the cow'), though some scholars believe it represents
the French lavage or the Italian lavaggio ('washing, cleansing').
of Rousillon. Mother to Bertram
Countess is the mother of Bertram and guardian of Helena). The Countess
comments on the main action of the play, overseeing from her estate at
Rossillion the relationship between her son and her ward. Loving Helena, she
promotes their marriage; loving Bertram, she rues his foolishness in
abandoning his bride, and she is present to see them reconciled at the
play's close. With Lord Lafeu and the King, the Countess helps to create a
world of kindness and generosity that counters the play's unpleasant
aspects. One other most important functions is to guide the audience's
responses to the major characters through her own, exalting Helena and
forgiving Bertram. Her love for Helena is as generous as her affection for
her son is natural. Her sympathy for Helena's love, based on her
'remembrances of days foregone' (1.3.129), is touching, and her
collaboration with Helena serves to start the heroine on her way. She is
also aware of Bertram's defects, while at the same time remaining willing to
make allowances and forgive.
Countess loves her son, but, when he abandons Helena, she recognizes that he
is a 'rash and unbridled boy' (3.2. 27) and sends letters that she hopes
will bring him to his senses. The Countess is an especially sympathetic
character in a play full of moral ambiguity. George Bernard Shaw called hers
'the most beautiful old woman's part ever written'.
gentlewoman protected by the Countess.
Helena's pursuit of Bertram constitutes the main plot of All's Well, and his
lack of interest, combined with her use of the vulgar 'bed
trick'—substituting herself for another woman in bed and thus inducing him
to father her child—help to give the work the dark and troubling quality
that places it among the so-called Problem Plays. The central figure in the
play, Helena is subject to quite contradictory interpretations, depending
largely on one's view of the play as a whole.
Some commentators have found Helena wholly good. Samuel Taylor Coleridge
called her Shakespeare's 'loveliest character', and her persistent efforts
to win Bertram despite his feelings have been seen as an allegorical
representation of Christian grace, chiefly on the strength of a remark by
the Countess, Bertram's mother, that her son 'cannot thrive, Unless her
prayers, whom heaven delights to hear / And loves to grant, reprieve him
from the wrath / Of greatest justice' (3.4.26-29). However, other critics
have seen in Helena a satirical portrait of an ambitious, possessive woman,
intent on marrying a man who does not love her and unscrupulous in using her
body to deceive him.
1.1 Helena is introduced as a young woman of great energy and determination.
She is first seen dressed in mourning, with the elderly Countess and Lafeu.
They discuss the late Count's death and then her own father's and the
seemingly terminal illness of the King. Helena is especially depressed
because her secret love, Bertram, is leaving, and, as she puts it, 'there is
no living, none, / If Bertram be away' (1.1.82-83), and she prepares to
'sanctify his relics' (1.1.96). Then Parolles, the play's comic villain,
appears, and his cynical banter about virginity makes Helena realize that
she must fear the influence of such worldly wisdom on Bertram: 'The court's
a learning place', she reflects, 'and he is one—' (1.1.173); she suppresses
the observation that Bertram is likely to be an apt pupil. More important,
Parolles' vitality stimulates a similar energy in Helena. He leaves, and in
the ensuing soliloquy, written in formal couplets intended to suggest her
elevated mood, she firmly decides to pursue Bertram.
Thus the main plot opens with the establishment of Helena's initiative. But
whether she is an admirably plucky young woman or an ambitious schemer
remains a matter of interpretation. This unresolved question is often
considered part of the play's larger failure to combine naturalistic
elements with the scheme of reconciliation and love that Comedy
traditionally demands. To some extent, the contradictory points of view may
be taken to represent different aspects of the same personality, and, as so
often in Shakespeare, the resulting paradox offers us a rewarding sense of
the complexity of human nature.
However, there are numerous clues that Shakespeare intended Helena as a
virtuous and spunky heroine. Most significantly, the play's final resolution
is accomplished only by a highly dramatic, carefully planned appearance by
Helena late in the closing scene, in which she disentangles the plot's
complications in a few lines, like a deus ex machina. A satirical figure
used in this manner could only inspire sardonic reflections on the hypocrisy
of happy endings, and nothing in the dialogue suggests any such intent on
the playwright's part. Further, the fairy-tale motif of the maiden who cures
the King is presented in the solemn music of rhymed couplets and mystical
language that would be utterly inappropriate to a satirical purpose.
Similarly, Helena has several other striking and lyrical speeches, such as
her declaration of love in 1.3.186-212 and her dramatic renunciation in
3.2.99-129, whose evident sincerity tends to enforce a view of her as an
addition, Shakespeare altered the story that he took from his source, a tale
by Boccaccio, and some of his changes were plainly designed to elevate the
moral character of the heroine. For instance, he added such sympathetic
characters as the elderly Countess and her friend Lord Lafew, whose chief
purpose is to shape our opinions of the major characters. They convincingly
inform us of Helena's virtues, as does the King Shakespeare also added
another theme to the tale in which Helena is clearly an heroine: the King,
responding to Bertram's rejection of her as a commoner, defends her as an
illustration of the value of an individual's spiritual nature regardless of
his or her rank in society. In Boccaccio, the pursuer and pursued are
aristocrats of equal status, and no social question is raised.
When Boccaccio's protagonist triumphs at the end, she presents her reluctant
husband with twin sons. In All's Well, only the merest mention is made of
Helena's pregnancy, in 5.3.307; Shakespeare plainly wished to de-emphasize
the physical aspect of the bed trick because this ruse is clearly the most
embarrassing episode of Helena's story. In another significant departure
from his source, Shakespeare altered the circumstances of Helena's
appearance in Florence. In Boccaccio, she hears other husband's attempt at
seduction, devises the bed trick, and goes to Italy to perform it. In All's
Well, she wanders to Florence as a pilgrim and must be informed by the Widow
of Bertram's presence. Thus the bed trick seems a product of fortunate
happenstance, rather than a calculated ploy.
Shakespeare also used dramatic structure to mitigate the bed trick's bad
impression and maintain Helena's heroic stature. After 3.2 Helena is much
less frequently on-stage than before. She appears in only four brief scenes
and has no important speeches before returning 30 lines from the end of the
play. We remember her in the highly positive light in which she was
presented in the first half of the play, and we are influenced by the
Countess' observations on the efficacy of Helena's prayers, the similarly
complimentary remarks of the two Lords in 4.3, and the loving regrets of the
Countess' household when they believe her dead—even the cynical Clown is
moved to call her 'the sweet-marjoram of the sallet' (4.5.15). Shakespeare
therefore establishes Helena as an heroine early in the play, and later,
when her actions seem less heroic, he downplays her, permitting only brief
and positive glimpses.
Thus Helena seems intended as a delightful romantic heroine. Lafew says she
can 'quicken a rock, and make you dance canary / With sprightly fire and
motion' (2.1.73-74)—and her infatuation with Bertram s •arched brows, his
hawking eye, his curls' (1.1.92) is no less endearing for her healthy
interest in sex. In this light, she seems to be a lively, virtuous young
woman to whom divine favor offers opportunity and then success. And in the
second half of the play, the possibly manipulative exploiter of sex is more
properly regarded as a contrite, self-sacrificing wife whom fortune has led
to a happy resolution other problems. At the play's conclusion she is
received with the awe due a goddess, and her summation of the play's final
statement of reconciliation suggests that she deserves this which the play
opened has been dispelled
Widow of Florence. (Widow)
Widow Capilet is a landlady of Florence who befriends Helena and is the
mother of Diana. The Widow permits Diana to make a sexual assignation with
Bertram, Helena's runaway husband, though Helena will occupy Diana's bed.
When she first appears, in 3.5, the Widow has charm as a stereotypical
gossip, and she shrewdly recognizes Bertram for the cad he is, but
thereafter she serves merely as a pawn of the plot.
Diana is a young woman of Florence and the daughter o the Widow who assists
Helena to entrap her runaway husband, Bertram. The lustful Bertram wishes to
seduce Diana, who is respected in Florence for 'a most chaste renown'
(4.3.14). She, honorably determined to remain a virgin, resists his advances
until in 4.2, as part of Helena's plot, she agrees to sleep with him (though
Helena will in fact occupy her bed). She is demure and pliant in making this
arrangement, but she expresses herself zestily after Bertram's departure,
brusquely critiquing male morals and declaring,'. . . in this disguise, I
think to no sin / To cozen him that would unjustly win (4.2.75-76) In 5 3
she confronts Bertram in the presence of the King and accuses him of
violating his promise to marry her. She is denounced as a whore, and then,
when she claims to be a virgin although Bertram has seduced her, she is
further subjected to the irritated King's threat of imprisonment before
Helena appears and resolves matters. The King thereupon grants her a
sumptuous dowry as part of the final reconciliation that closes the play.
Diana has little real personality, being a stereotype of the virginal
maiden, but her symbolic importance is considerable. As the object of
Bertram's attempts at seduction, she serves by contrast to emphasize his
evil nature; as the long-suffering complainant of 5.3, she Exemplifies
victimization, making the final outcome more dramatically satisfying.
Though distinguished as the First Lord and the Second Lord, these two
characters are very similar and serve the same dramatic purpose. Reappearing
throughout the play, they offer a distinct viewpoint on its developments,
especially on the progress of Bertram and Parolles, and they help to mould
the audience's opinions. Recognizing the dishonorable cowardice of Parolles,
they devise a plan to expose him to Bertram. They recognize Bertram's moral
weakness, but they believe in his capacity for improvement, thereby
offsetting our possible distaste for him. In addition, their fond admiration
of the King in 1.2 and 2.1 stimulates our appreciation of him, which in turn
influences our opinions of Bertram and Helena when the King shows affection
for them. The Lords encourage our positive response to Helena when they
sympathies with her abandonment by Bertram in 3.2, while at the same time
they downplay Bertram's guilt by blaming Parolles for his behavior.
Other lords include several in the King's court that he presents to Helena
as possible suitors.
Mariana is a neighbor of the Widow Capilet, a Florentine innkeeper. In
3.5.16-28 Mariana roundly condemns Parolles and Bertram as unscrupulous
womanizers, thus helping to establish the situation when Helena arrives in
Florence. She has no personality beyond that of a stereotypical gossip.
Gentleman is a minor character in the show who helps Helena. In 5.1 the
Gentleman tells Helena that the King has left Marseilles. He takes her
message to the King, appearing in 5.3 with the letter that entraps Bertram
at the play's climax. The Gentleman is merely a stereotypical courtier and a
pawn of plot development.
Steward is the chief officer of the household of the Countess. The Steward
twice offers information about Helena. In 1.3, he reports having overheard
her musing on her love for Bertram, stimulating the Countess to assist
Helena's plan to pursue Bertram. In 3.4 he reads aloud Helena's letter to
the Countess telling of her departure from Rossillion so that Bertram, now
her unwilling husband, may live there in peace. This letter touchingly
reveals the wretchedness of Helena's position. The Steward's name—rendered
by different editors as Rynaldo, Rinaldo, and Reynaldo—is mentioned only (in
3.4.19, 29) after his role is almost complete. Many commentators think that
this offers a glimpse of Shakespeare's creative processes, for he appears to
have been continually developing even this minor character as he wrote.
soldiers are any of several troop members in the army of Florence. The First
Soldier is the pretended interpreter during the interrogation of Parolles.
In 4.1 and 4.3 Parolles is captured by the First Lord, who proposes to
demonstrate the foppish courtier's cowardice and treachery to his deluded
friend, Bertram. The captors pretend to speak a foreign language so that
their victim will not realize that they are French, and the First Soldier
pretends to interpret between the Lord and the prisoner. Parolles
treasonably discloses secrets, and the First Soldier induces him to insult
the Lords and Bertram, which maintains a humorous tone to the scene. The
Second Soldier is a messenger who is sent in 4.1 to tell Bertram of
Parolles' capture. His submission to orders helps suggest the strength and
efficiency of the military, which is contrasted with the cowardice and
treason of Parolles.
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