The Merry Wives of Windsor "The World's Mine Oyster"
by William Shakespeare

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"The World's Mine Oyster"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

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Context: This famous saying is associated with eager, ambitious, even arrogant youth. It is usually heard today in a modified form, "the world's his oyster," about a young man who cannot wait to conquer the world. In the play, Pistol, a braggart follower of Sir John Falstaff, a self-fancied lady-killer, refuses to do Sir John a service the latter requests. Now, at the Garter Inn, Pistol asks a loan of Sir John, who indignantly refuses. Pistol, only half in jest, whips out his sword, and compares the fat, round knight to the world and his purse to an oyster.

FALSTAFFI will not lend thee a penny.PISTOLWhy then the world's mine oyster,Which I with sword will open.FALSTAFFNot a penny. . . .