A monologue from the play "All's Well That Ends Well" by William Shakespeare

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About this Monologue

  • Character: Parolles
  • Gender: Male
  • Age Range(s): Young Adult (20-35), Adult (36-50)
  • Type of monologue / Character is: Persuasive
  • Type: Comic
  • Period: Renaissance
  • Genre: Romance, Comedy
  • Description: Parolles talks to Helena about virginity
  • Location: ACT I, Scene 1

Summary

Helena is a beautiful young woman who lives with the Countess of Rousillon. Her father, a famous doctor, has just died and she is now the protege´ of the Countess. The play starts with the Countess' son, Bertram, leaving for France where he is supposed to attend the King who is dying. Helena, we find out, is madly in love with Bertram and laments the fact that he is leaving and also that he is above her since he is a nobleman and she is a commoner. In the first scene of the play Helena and Parolles, a shady friend of Bertram's, have a discussion about virginity. Helena wants to keep her virginity but Parolles ...

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Excerpt

PAROLLES
Virginity being blown down, man will quicklier be
blown up: marry, in blowing him down again, with
the breach yourselves made, you lose your city. It
is not politic in the commonwealth of nature to
preserve virginity. Loss of virginity is rational
increase and there was never virgin got till
virginity was first lost. That you were made of is
metal to make virgins. Virginity by being once lost
may be ten times found; by being ever kept, it is
ever lost: 'tis too cold a companion; away with 't!

[HELENA
I will stand for 't a little, though therefore I die a virgin.]

PAROLLES
There's little can be said in 't; 'tis against the
rule of nature. To speak on the part of virginity,
is to accuse your mothers; which is most infallible
disobedience. He that hangs himself is a virgin:
virginity murders itself and should be buried in
highways out of all sanctified limit, as a desperate
offendress against nature. Virginity breeds mites,
much like a cheese; consumes itself to the very
paring, and so dies with feeding his own stomach.
Besides, virginity is peevish, proud, idle, made of
self-love, which is the most inhibited sin in the
canon. Keep it not; you cannot choose but loose
by't: out with 't! within ten year it will make
itself ten, which is a goodly increase; and the
principal itself not much the worse: away with 't!

[HELENA
How might one do, sir, to lose it to her own liking?]

PAROLLES
Let me see: marry, ill, to like him that ne'er it
likes. 'Tis a commodity will lose the gloss with
lying; the longer kept, the less worth: off with 't
while 'tis vendible; answer the time of request.
Virginity, like an old courtier, wears her cap out
of fashion: richly suited, but unsuitable: just
like the brooch and the tooth-pick, which wear not
now. Your date is better in your pie and your
porridge than in your cheek; and your virginity,
your old virginity, is like one of our French
withered pears, it looks ill, it eats drily; marry,
'tis a withered pear; it was formerly better;
marry, yet 'tis a withered pear: will you anything with it?



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