Monday, February 13, 2012

What drinking specially provokes

What are the effects of drinking? I've found a beautiful account narrated by one of the characters of Shakespeare's Macbeth in act 2, scene 3. He is a porter, a gate keeper, who has been drinking all night. When asked what is that that drink specially provoke he says:

Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine. Lechery*, sir, it provokes and unprovokes. It provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance. Therefore much drink may be said to be and equivocator with lechery. It makes him, and it mars him; it sets him on, and it takes him off; it persuades him and disheartens him; make him stand to and not stand to; in clonclusion, equivocates him in a sleep and, giving him the lie**, leaves him.

*Lechery: unrestrained or excessive indulgence of sexual desire.

**Give him the lie: lying to him.

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