Shakespeare Quotes

There was never yet philosopher that could endure the toothache patiently

There was never yet philosopher that could endure the toothache patiently

Therefore give me no counsel,
My griefs cry louder than advertisement.
Therein do men from children nothing differ.
I pray thee peace, I will be flesh and blood;
For there was never yet philosopher
That could endure the toothache patiently,
However they have writ the style of gods,
And made a push at chance and sufferance.

Debating with his brother the merits of stoic endurance, Leonato scoffs. Having watched as his daughter was accused by her fiancé, on the morning of her wedding, of fornication; having had his own honor thus indirectly besmirched; having been taken in by the accusations and then having threatened his daughter; and after she has nearly died of shame, Leonato is in no mood to forgive and forget. Antonio insists that it is childish to indulge in grief and self-pity. Leonato retorts that however much even philosophers might pretend to godlike detachment from the pains and passions of life, they nonetheless howl when they've got a toothache.

Obscurely, Leonato sneers at the philosophers' having "made a push at chance and sufferance"; "push" could either be a form of "pish"—a scornful dismissal, as in "pish-posh"—or could mean "counterattack, resistance." While stoics disdain the reversals of chance and the gnawings of "sufferance" (suffering), they're really just using highfalutin language to fool themselves.

Themes: philosophy, anguish

Speakers: Antonio, Legnato, Leonato