In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, what are some puns said by the Nurse in Act I?
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Act I Scene iii
Lines 15-16: I'll lay fourteen of my teeth—(15)/ And yet, to my teen be it spoken, I have but four—
And then my husband (God be with his soul!
A’ was a merry man) took up the child.
‘Yea,’ quoth he, ‘dost thou fall upon thy face?(45)
Thou wilt fall backward when thou hast more wit;
Wilt thou not, Jule?’ and, by my holidame,
The pretty wretch left crying, and said ‘Ay.’
To see now how a jest shall come about!
I warrant, an I should live a thousand years,(50)
I never should forget it. ‘Wilt thou not, Jule?’ quoth he,
And, pretty fool, it stinted, and said ‘Ay.
Yes, madam. Yet I cannot choose but laugh
To think it should leave crying and say ‘Ay.’(55)
And yet, I warrant, it had upon it brow
A bump as big as a young cock'rel's stone;
A perilous knock; and it cried bitterly.
Yea,’ quoth my husband, ‘fall'st upon thy face?
Thou wilt fall backward when thou comest to age;(60)
Wilt thou not, Jule?’ It stinted, and said ‘Ay.
Nay, he's a flower, in faith—a very flower.
No less? Nay, bigger! Women grow by men.
In Act 1, Scene 3, one pun the nurse speaks is found in the line the Nurse quotes her husband as saying to Juliet when she was a toddler, "'Yea,' quoth he, 'dost thou fall upon thy face? Thou wilt fall backward when thou has more wit." The pun is a sexual innuendo making a double meaning of the phrase "fall backward." Fall backward can literally refer to falling, as baby Juliet just did, or it can be interpreted with sexual connotations.
A second pun can be found in the line referring to the bruise on baby Juliet's face after falling, "a parlous knock," meaning a "perilous knock." The term knock can refer to a hit or blow, but it can also have sexual connotations that the slang term "knocked up" comes from.
A third pun can be found in Nurse's response to Lady Capulet's advice that Juliet open herself up to getting to know Paris: "by having him, making yourself no less," Nurse responds with, "No less! nay, bigger; women grow by men." The pun is a play on the word grow. Lady Capulet is using less as a paradox for Juliet getting to know Paris, but Nurse uses the paraodx with grow as a pun with sexual reference. She is using grow to refer to growing in pregnancy.
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