All's Well That Ends Well
Old Age and Youth Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Sit, my preserver, by thy patient's side. (2.3.1)
When young Helen uses her dead father's medicine to cure the dying monarch, the king of France is grateful; he even calls her his "preserver." In a previous passage (1.2.7), the king of France worries that the younger generation isn't capable of taking over when he's dead and gone. The fact that he's cured by a girl completely contradicts the idea that all young people are shallow, foolish, and incompetent. Maybe there's some hope for the future after all.
You are too old, sir; let it satisfy you, you are too old.
I must tell thee, sirrah, I write man; to which
title age cannot bring thee. (2.3.18)
There's something amusing about an old man threatening to beat up a guy who's half his age, especially when we know he could probably do it. Shakespeare seems to be writing this for a laugh, but the whole scene makes a bigger point: the older guys like Lafeu are better men than their younger counterparts.
The devil it is that's thy master. Why dost thou
garter up thy arms o' this fashion? dost make hose of
sleeves? do other servants so? Thou wert best set
thy lower part where thy nose stands. By mine
honour, if I were but two hours younger, I'd beat
thee: methinks, thou art a general offence, and
every man should beat thee: I think thou wast
created for men to breathe themselves upon thee. (2.3.34)
If adults constantly criticize the way you dress, you're not alone. Here, Lafeu hassles Paroles about his clothes; he's so annoyed by the younger guy's outfit that he says he'd like to "beat" him. This isn't the only time an older character makes a big deal about how the younger generation of men dress themselves. At one point, Lavatch makes a sarcastic crack about how Bertram's friends are all wearing "delicate fine hats, / and most courteous feathers" (4.5.15). In this play, clothing emphasizes the generation gap.
Check out this short clip where a famous costume and set designer talks about how she designed costumes to play up the generation gap in a 2009 production of All's Well.