The Merry Wives of Windsor
How we cite our quotes:
Mistress Anne Page? She has brown hair, and speaks small like a woman? (1.1.40-41)
So much for romance. Is this the best Slender can do when he describes Anne Page (the girl he's going to try to marry)? This isn't exactly the kind of talk that's going to sweep someone off her feet. Don't go anywhere, because it only gets worse.
[...] Can you love the maid?
I will marry her, sir, at your request: but if there be no great love in the beginning, yet heaven may decrease it upon better acquaintance, when we are married and have more occasion to know one another; I hope, upon familiarity will grow more contempt: but if you say, "Marry her," I will marry her; that I am freely dissolved, and dissolutely.
Oh, dear. Slender is pretty clueless. First of all, there's zero passion when he talks about Anne. Instead, he's all, "Sure, Evans, if you say I should marry her, I will." Second, there are two interesting slips of the tongue here. What Slender means to say is that he hopes heaven will "increase" his love for Anne and make him grow "content" as he gets to know her. But what he accidentally says is that he hopes heaven will "decrease" his love and fill him with "contempt." Hmm. We wonder what a good psychotherapist would have to say about this?
I have writ me here a letter to her: and here another to Page's wife, who even now gave me good eyes too, examined my parts with most judicious oeillades; sometimes the beam of her view gilded my foot, sometimes my portly belly. (1.3.49-53)
Wow. Falstaff thinks he's quite the Leon Phelps. When Falstaff tries to convince himself that the housewives are always undressing him with their eyes and checking out his "portly belly" and his sexy "foot," we're reminded that this guy knows nothing about romance.