Twelfth Night

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 3 Scene 1
No Fear Act 3 Scene 1 Page 2

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FOOL

Why, sir, her name’s a word, and to dally with that word might make my sister wanton. But, indeed, words are very rascals since bonds disgraced them.

FOOL

Well, her name’s a word, and if you fooled around with it you might make her into a whore. But, you know, words have been rascals ever since people started using written contracts rather than their word of honor.

VIOLA

20Thy reason, man?

VIOLA

Why do you say that?

FOOL

Troth, sir, I can yield you none without words, and words are grown so false, I am loath to prove reason with them.

FOOL

Honestly, sir, I’d need to use words to explain why, and since words are so unreliable and false, I’d rather avoid using them in a serious discussion.

VIOLA

I warrant thou art a merry fellow and carest for nothing.

VIOLA

I bet you’re a happy fellow who doesn’t care about anything.

FOOL

Not so, sir, I do care for something. But in my conscience, sir, I do not care for you. If that be to care for nothing, sir, I would it would make you invisible.

FOOL

You’re wrong, sir, I do care about something. But I’ll admit I don’t care for you. If that means I don’t care about anything, you should disappear right now, since you’re nothing.

VIOLA

Art not thou the Lady Olivia’s fool?

VIOLA

Aren’t you Lady Olivia’s fool?

FOOL

No, indeed, sir; the Lady Olivia has no folly. She will keep no fool, sir, till she be married, and fools are as like husbands as pilchards are to herrings; the husband’s the bigger: I am indeed not her fool, but her corrupter of words.

FOOL

No, sir. Lady Olivia doesn’t want to have anything to do with foolishness. So she won’t have a fool until she gets married. Fools are to husbands as anchovies are to sardines—husbands are the bigger ones. I’m not her fool. I just make words into whores for her.

VIOLA

I saw thee late at the Count Orsino’s.

VIOLA

I saw you at Count Orsino’s recently.