All’s Well That Ends Well: Shakespeare’s treatment of anal fistula.
“Textual and contextual evidence suggests that the French king’s fistula, a central plot device in Shakespeare’s play All’s Well That Ends Well, is a fistula-in-ano. Anal fistula was known to the lay public in Shakespeare’s time. In addition, Shakespeare may have known of the anal fistula treatise of John Arderne, an ancestor on Shakespeare’s mother’s side. Shakespeare’s use of anal fistula differs from all previous versions of the story, which first appeared in Boccaccio’s Decameron and from its possible historical antecedent, the fistula of Charles V of France. This difference makes sense given the conventions of Elizabethan comedy, which included anal humor. “