Garter Motto in the Merry Wives of Windsor

Garter Motto in the Merry Wives of Windsor,” the author discusses the application of alternative Elizabethan translations of the motto sifts the play’s characters ultimately surrendering to an idea of “knightly” behavior in The Merry Wives of Windsor. In other words, while everything takes place in knighthood and celebrated there, things can be held by non-knights. Since the author argues that the Garter motto has a more extensive application in The Merry Wives of Windsor than those in the past, a survey of different Elizabethan ways of translating-or reading it needs to be discussed. “Editors agree that Mistress Quickly alludes here, in her directions to the fairies for scouring, to the stalls of the Knights of the Order of the Garter in the choir of Saint George’s Chapel of Windsor Castle, specifically to “the coat of arms fixed to the back of each stall and [the] separate heraldic device decorating the helmet placed on top of the stall” as well as to “each banner bearing the coat of arms [of each knight], hanging from the wall above each stall.”5 Shakespeare also alludes in the above-quoted passage to the blue garter itself, slipped onto the knight’s calf just below the knee on the occasion of his induction, as well as to the Order’s French motto sewn thereon” (Hunt, 2010). Therefore, the Garter motto has a more extensive application in The Merry Wives of Windsor than those in the past, a survey of different Elizabethan ways of translating needs to be addressed since Shakespeare’s plays can be analyzed in many different ways where he could have meant one way and the audience could have seen it differently.

I agree that the Garter motto has a more extensive application in The Merry Wives of Windsor than those in the past, a survey of different Elizabethan ways of translating it should be addressed because there are so many translations of play that it would be easy to miss an important point. By not having a translation, Shakespeare makes his auditors and seventeenth-century Folio readers translate it instead in their minds, which might not be what he wanted. For example, in Shakespeare’s Let me not to the marriage of true minds, he admits that love is not love. Therefore, within the first two lines, he suggests that people should not marry unless they are faithful. For example, in the line he says “let me not” which means that he does not believe the untrue or unfaithful minds should marry. In the second line, it clearly shows that Auden is a poet that thinks with her emotions which is unlike Shakespeare because he is logical. This is due to the fact that people must face their obstacles and overcome them. If not, “love is not love” and a person will not experience love at its most true. However, this may not have been what he wanted to convey, but his plays and poetry leave room for interpretation.

Furthermore, in “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” there is too much room to apply ideas to what Shakespeare is trying to convey to the audience. As the author of the article suggests about the character, Ford, the audience would not understand the meaning of the names are used to refer to the devil until later on as seen from the following example.

“The cuckold’s horns that Ford feels himself growing when he “buffets himself on the forehead, crying ‘peer out, peer out!'” (IV.ii.22-3) in this conflation become the devil’s horns that Falstaff wears in citizens’ imagination and then figuratively in the forest. Shakespeare suggests this transference in the associative overtones of Ford’s outburst concerning the abominable terms that he conceives will be used for him when his wife is convicted of adultery: “Terms, names! Amaimon sounds well; Lucifer, well; Barbason, well; yet they are devils’ additions, the names of fiends. But cuckold? Wittol? Cuckold! The devil himself hath not such a name!” (Hunt, 2010).

In other words, the audience would not understand the reference to the devil with the words that Shakespeare used, which would caused the audience not to connect to the play. The most important element to plays is making a connection with the audience. For example, in the story, “The Story of an Hour ” by Kate Chopin, the audience can understand the theme, which finding independence from a bad marriage is in great detail by the symbolism of the open window as the character goes upstairs after hearing about her husband’s death. The open window shows great opportunity for a new beginning and new life for her, which the author wanted to convey to the audience. The fact that she wants to be alone and has sorrow in her eyes that also symbolizes she is not ready to embrace that new life, which is something that the audience does not have to interpret like in Shakespeare’s play as seen from the following example..

“She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister’s arms. When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her” (Chopin, 1894).

From the above quote, the audience can feeI this is true for Mrs. Mallard because some women suffer from sorrow and depressed when they are separated or divorced, which is not a connection Shakespeare’s audience have because there is too much interpretation that needs to be done by them.

With that, I agree with the author that the Garter motto has a more extensive application in The Merry Wives of Windsor than those in the past. Therefore, a survey of different Elizabethan ways of translating-or reading it needs to be discussed. “Shakespeare creates a glass, for Garter knights possibly but also for anyone who wants to know more fully what the motto might mean for the practice of knightly behavior. Given its subtlety, this mirror would most likely not be apparent in performance. Instead, it could be perceived through a reading experience and then almost certainly only retrospectively, after a reader has grasped the presence of the motto at the end of the play and then apprehended its several applications during a rereading. The Folio text of The Merry Wives of Windsor was not published until 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death. Nevertheless, Lukas Erne, among others, has argued that strong evidence exists that Shakespeare as a rule wrote his plays as a literary craftsman with an eye toward eventual publication.52 This assumption could account for the thoroughness with which he interrogated, so to say, the famous motto of the chivalric Order of the Garter” (Hunt, 2010). I agree that he may have left his plays to be open so that there would be many discussions about them, however this does not help the audience to connect with them. Therefore, there is too much room for interpretation.

Works Cited

The Garter Motto in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Hunt, Maurice. Studies in English Literature, 1500-190050. 2 (Spring 2010): 383-406

(1894). Kate Chopin The Story of an Hour. 24 April 2012.

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