"He That Complies Against His Will Is Of His Own Opinion Still"

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Last Updated on May 23, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 217

Context: Hudibras, a parody of the typical Puritan, whose love affair with a widow is not thriving, contemplates making war upon her. But he reflects that actual warfare is out of style; armies now prey not on one another, but on one another's food supplies. Running away from a conflict is far more popular than standing and fighting. Ralpho, Hudibras's squire, says that since open war is now out of fashion, the only way for Hudibras to win the lady is by resorting to the law. Lawyers, says Ralpho, are much more intelligent than other people: they never come into open conflict with one another, but get rich by mutual agreements. The lawyers will reduce the lady to being Hudibras's wife or make her weary of her existence. Hudibras disagrees with Ralpho, saying that there is nothing certain in law but the expense; a man who goes to law to redress his injuries is like a man who goes to fortunetellers to give him information about who robbed his house–he throws good money after bad. And anyway, anyone who is coerced into changing his opinion does not really change it. He says:

He that complies against his will
Is of his own opinion still,
Which he may adhere to, yet disown,
For reasons to himself best known.

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