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Act V, Scene 4
The scene is a street in London. Two minor officers are pushing the Quickly and Doll across the stage. Quickly cries in pain and says that the second man has dislocated her shoulder and she will see to it that he is hanged. The first declares that Doll is going to get a public whipping, the punishment given to convicted prostitutes. As is clear from the previous scenes, Doll speaks all sorts of epithets at him and says that as a result of his rough handling she may lose her fetus. Quickly ardently wishes for Falstaff’s presence. She says he will be able to manage this situation more efficiently and he “would make this a bloody day to somebody.” She also hopes that Doll loses her fetus. The first man says scornfully that if Doll loses her fetus, she would have a full dozen cushions. Doll demands justice.
This is a comic scene and it shows that order is restored in all levels of society. The prostitutes are punished and the comic elements are removed.
Quickly complains that her shoulder is dislocated because of the rough handling of the beadle. This refers to the rough way of dealing with people by the officers, irrespective of the fact that they are women. It also represents a degree of melodrama on the part of both women. Doll shouts at the first beadle and says that she may lose her fetus due to his rough handling. This is one of her tactics to plead for postponing her sentence (for one, pregnant women could not be executed). Quickly hopes for the death of the fetus so that the officers will be charged with murder; ironically, the death of the fetus would also allow Doll to be executed if a judge so decided. One officer says that if Doll loses this child, she is sure to get a full dozen more children.