The Merry Wives of Windsor
Language and Communication Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
I had rather than forty shillings I had my book of songs and sonnets here. (1.1.165-166)
When it comes time to woo Anne Page, Slender's got absolutely no game. Think about it. Slender is so bad at hitting on Anne that his friends try to do it for him, prompting Anne to tell them to "let him woo for himself" (3.4.48). No wonder Slender says he wishes he had his nifty book of love poetry with him when he shows up at Anne's house. Why does any of this matter? Well, if you're going to have any street cred in one of Shakespeare's play, you've got to be able to master the English language.
If he should intend this voyage towards my wife, I would turn her loose to him; and what he gets more of her than sharp words, let it lie on my head. (2.1.160-163)
When Page finds out that Falstaff wants to hook up with his wife, he isn't at all worried that his wife will cheat on him. Here, Page says something like "Fine, let him have her and her big mouth." Basically, Page repeats an age-old stereotype about women being sharp-tongued and shrewish—in other words, women's weapon is words. (How's that for some alliteration?)
Good morrow, good wife.
Not so, an't please your worship.
Good maid, then.
I'll be sworn,
As my mother was, the first hour I was born.
I do believe the swearer. What with me? (2.2.32-37)
Shakespeare sure has a lot of fun at Mistress Quickly's expense. When Falstaff addresses Mistress Quickly as a "good maid" (maid being an unmarried virgin), Mistress Quickly tries to swear that, yep, she's a virgin all right. But, that's not actually what she ends up saying. When she declares that she's a "maid" just like her mom was at the "hour" her mom gave birth to her, Mistress Quickly ends up saying that she's not a virgin, since obviously her mom couldn't have been a virgin if she was pregnant and giving birth. Oops. Words matter.