Romeo and Juliet
How we cite our quotes:
True; and therefore women, being the weaker vessels, are ever thrust to the wall: therefore I will push Montague's men from the wall, and thrust his maids to the wall.
The quarrel is between our masters and us their men.
'Tis all one, I will show myself a tyrant: when I have fought with the men, I will be cruel with the maids, and cut off their heads.
The heads of the maids?
Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads, take it in what sense thou wilt.
Sampson and Gregory equate sex with violence and aggression. Here, Sampson crudely puns on the term "maidenhead" (virginity) when he equates sword fighting with men with raping women.
O, she is rich in beauty, only poor,
That when she dies with beauty dies her store.
Then she hath sworn that she will still live chaste?
She hath, and in that sparing makes huge waste,
For beauty starved with her severity
Cuts beauty off from all posterity.
Romeo uses a metaphor of wealth and spending to suggest that Rosaline's vow of chastity is akin to hoarding ("sparing") her "rich[es]" (her "beauty). By refusing to have sex and, therefore, children who might carry on her legacy, Rosaline is basically "wast[ing]" her "beauty," which will "die" with her instead of living on in her children.
We see the same kind of metaphor at work in Shakespeare's "procreation" sonnets (Sonnets 1-17), where the poet urges his friend to have children instead of being miserly with his beauty.
Compare Romeo's speech above to Sonnet #4, below:
Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend
Upon thyself thy beauty's legacy?
Nature's bequest gives nothing but doth lend,
And being frank she lends to those are free.
Then, beauteous niggard, why dost thou abuse
The bounteous largess given thee to give?
Profitless usurer, why dost thou use
So great a sum of sums, yet canst not live?
For having traffic with thyself alone,
Thou of thyself thy sweet self dost deceive.
Then how, when nature calls thee to be gone,
What acceptable audit canst thou leave?
Thy unused beauty must be tomb'd with thee,
Which, used, lives th' executor to be. (Sonnet #4)
We're pretty sure there's some version of this pickup line still in use today.
And then my husband--God be with his soul!
A' was a merry man--took up the child:
'Yea,' quoth he, 'dost thou fall upon thy face?
Thou wilt fall backward when thou hast more wit;
Wilt thou not, Jule?' and, by my holidame,
The pretty wretch left crying and said 'Ay.'
The Nurse is a lower-class woman in a Shakespeare play, which means that she thinks sex is mostly good for a few laughs. The problem? Her flippant attitude toward sex helps Romeo and Juliet end up dead.