Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Racy Language in Shakespeare

I recently read Shakespeare's play, Cymbeline, for the first time. I came across this passage - where the hot-headed Cloten tries to woo the fair Imogen, by having music played outside her bed-chamber:
Cloten. I would this music would come: I am advised to give her music o' mornings, they say it will penetrate.
Enter Musicians.
Come on, tune; if you can penetrate her with your fingering, so; we'll try with tongue too; if none will do, let her remain: but I'll never give o'er.
Surely this doesn't mean what I think it means. No wonder we didn’t do this play at school.

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