Pericles, Prince of Tyre Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What does Shakespeare mean in this quote from his play Pericles, Prince of Tyre?: "Help, master, help! here's a fish hangs in the net, like a poor man's right in the law; 'twill hardly come out. Ha! bots on't, 'tis come at last, and 'tis turned to a rusty armour"?

In this quotation from Pericles, Prince of Tyre, Shakespeare puts into the mouth of the second fisherman a piece of cutting commentary about the rights of poor people before the law. He is suggesting that poor people are regularly thrown into prison and have little recourse to escape. Ultimately the "fish" is not a fish at all, but a piece of armor.

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This quotation is taken from act 2, scene 1 of Pericles, Prince of Tyre, one of Shakespeare's less well-known plays. It is spoken by the Second Fisherman to the titular character, Prince Pericles. The fisherman is pulling up his net when he becomes aware that something very heavy is stuck in the net. He therefore calls to his master to help him, presumably with lifting the unexpectedly heavy burden. In the dialogue quoted here, he is telling Pericles that what he...

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