What is the nurse saying to Romeo Act II, scene iv, lines 157-163?  

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In this scene, the Nurse and Romeo meet for the first time. Mercutio is with Romeo, and he makes bawdy jokes at the Nurse's expense. She gets angry as Mercutio leaves and turns to Romeo to ask what Mercutio thinks he's doing. Romeo says that Mercutio just likes to hear himself talk and is spouting nonsense. As line 157 begins, the Nurse is still annoyed and, in fact, getting more steamed, and says angrily that if Mercutio says anything to defame her character (An 'a speak anything against me") she will take him down a peg, even if he "were lustier than he is," by which she means stronger but with a pun on "lustier" as bawdier or more sexual. She goes on to say she will take on twenty "Jacks" (young men) like him if need be. In other words, she's stating she's not afraid of him. She elaborates and says that even if she can't take him on by herself, she'll find somebody who can ("if I cannot, I'll find those who shall.") She calls Mercutio a "scurvy knave," meaning he is not a gentleman (he's a "knave") and "scurvy" meaning he's diseased (diseased scum might be a good translation). She says she's not a flirt girl or prostitute (flirt-gill) he can talk to this way, then says she's not a "skain mate," which the Bevington edition of Shakespeare defines as a prostitute-gangster. Finally, she turns on Peter, her attendant, and scolds him for not defending her, saying, what, are you going to just stand there and let any low-class guy do whatever he wants to me? 

We can see from this passage that the Nurse has a temper and doesn't like to be insulted, even in "good fun."

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Romeo and Juliet

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