What does this mean? "My love, inflame me no more, lest you consume all my wit & betray my will. Let men not censure my name..."This is a quote that I want to use in a class discussion. If...

What does this mean? "My love, inflame me no more, lest you consume all my wit & betray my will. Let men not censure my name..."

This is a quote that I want to use in a class discussion. If anyone can answer this, please do.

Asked on by lizzyliz56

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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"Inflame me know more" is a way of saying one of two things. Either the speaker is addressing a second person asking them to stop inciting them to anger or asking them to stop inciting them to romantic passion. Since the context is "My love," the speaker is here asking the other person to stop doing and saying things that are romantically enticing.

"[L]est you consume all my wit" is a word play referring back to "inflame." A flame of fire consumes the things it touches (most things, except things like granite...) rendering them unrecognizable ashes. The speaker is saying that if the other persists, then "all my wit" will be reduced to ashes. Wit here means intelligence. In this context "intelligence" means that faculty by which we reason and make sound decisions: "lest you consume all my wit" means the speaker will be reduced to a feeling but unthinking and uncircumspect puddle of ashes unable to reason and choose sound decisions.

"[A]nd betray my will" is another word play, but this time playing against itself by calling up its two meanings. First, "betray my will" refers to the other willfully acting against the speakers express will: to not be inflamed. (This is what today is referred to as sexual coercion.) Second, "betray my will" refers to a self-betrayal of will. If all the speakers wit, intelligence and reasoning power, is a heap of metaphorical ashes, then, witless, the speaker cannot be true to chosen intents and convictions. Honoring our will, intentions and convictions and choices, requires our wit be in good working order. When seduced, by whatever means, away from our wit (intelligence, reasoning power) we are betrayed and we conjointly betray ourselves.

"Let men not censure my name..." refers to the fact that friends, family and society can and will reprimand and reprove, to one degree or another, those who discard intelligence and reasoning power, make emotional choices that defy logic and common sense and self-preservation, and, in so doing, betray their own desires, intentions, dreams and decisions.

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