Notes on Act II, scene iv

best of wishes: just what I wished for

Prithee: I pray thee (I ask you)

anchorite: religious hermit

inconstant: unfaithful

approv'd: given in to those feelings

Sooth: in truth, indeed

generally: I find this tendency of unfaithfulness in all women in general

malleable: bendable; that is, it would be easier to bend glass than to find a faithful woman

fixed: constant, faithful

glass: telescope (an anachronism at the time of the play's action, 1504: Galileo didn't develop the telescope until 1609); the Cardinal thinks that one would have to look to another world to find a faithful woman, as there are none on earth.

cuckold: a husband whose wife cheats on him; husbands who do not love their wives wisely will become cuckolds. Julia cannot make the Cardinal a cuckold since she is not married to him.

perch ... fly at it: he compares her to a tame falcon

tame elephant: elephants were tamed by being kept awake for so long that they would do anything to sleep.

only kisses: he implies that Castruchio is impotent, as his name suggests

lute: a stringed instrument

tune: play a tune on it; marriage without sex is like having a musical instrument which you cannot play

liver: the liver was thought to be the source of emotions; as we refer to the heart today.

in physic: under a physician's care, that is, he was love-sick

to't: compared to it

post: in haste

lie: keep lodging

prelates: churchmen

breech: backside

pity: you laugh at my pitiful situation, being married to such a pathetic man.

want: lack, need

cassia: spice

civet: perfume

physical: medicinal

fond: foolish

seeth't in cullises: boil it in a broth

Duke of Calabria: Ferdinand

honesty: chastity

They pass ... done: those who consider the consequences before they act avoid trouble

Back to Act II, scene iv

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