Outside Mr. Page’s house in Windsor, Justice Shallow, his cousin Slender, and Parson Hugh Evans gather. They are ready to confront Sir John Falstaff, a local knight who has insulted Shallow: “You have beaten my men, killed my deer, and broke open my lodge.” What’s more, Falstaff’s followers (Bardolph, Pistol, and Nym) drank with Slender at a local tavern and when he was drunk, the three robbed him. Falstaff admits to being a scoundrel, even though his men deny doing anything wrong. With nothing resolved, Mr. Page invites everyone to dine in his house so that they might make peace. While most go in, Shallow and Slender hang behind--Shallow wants his cousin to marry Mr. Page’s daughter, Anne. However, Slender has no interest in marrying her, and is actually terrible at flirting and wooing. In order to secure Slender’s chances with Anne, Shallow sends his servant Simple with a message to Mistress Quickly, requesting her help in matchmaking.
Later at the Garter Inn, Falstaff and
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