Shakespeare on How to Get to a Girl’s Heart

Shakespeare advice to get to a girl's heart “Flatter and praise, commend, extol their graces,
Though ne’er so black, say they have angels’ faces.”
(Two Gentlemen of Verona, act 3, sc. 1)

Comments. On flattery there is general consensus, it works. Oscar Wilde succinctly proclaimed that “flattery is the infantry of negotiations.” And Ovid, in his ‘Art of Love’, vol. 2 writes, “…each woman thinks herself lovable; hideous though she be, there is none her own looks do not please…Now be the time to ensnare the mind with crafty flatteries, as the water eats away an overhanging bank. Nor be weary of praising her looks, her hair, her shapely fingers, her small foot: even honest maids love to have their charms extolled; even to the chaste their beauty is a care and a delight.”
You may object that a compliment does not necessarily constitute flattery. The frontier between flattery and compliments is undefined. Let the object of the compliment (or of the flattery) decide for herself.
According to Archdeacon Ruiz, author of  “The Book of Good Love”, flattery can take the place of gifts, ‘If you will not give gifts to her, be generous with your words, do not be silly in your speech: who does not hold honey in a container let him have honey on his mouth – so does the merchants when he wants to sell or to barter well’. A bit cheap, I should say, but who can argue with success…
A few words should be added for the sake of political correctness. For reasons too long to explain, a fair skin, during Shakespeare’s time, was a pre-condition for glamor and beauty. Therefore ‘blackness’ also referred to sun-tanned skin. Whereas today many ladies go to extremes to appear tanned, therefore in their own way black, or at least very brown.

Tips for Use.  The application is self-explanatory.

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In the play. The Duke declares or  pretends to have lost his seducing skills and enlists the help of Valentine to learn how to conquer the heart of a lady the Duke is after

This entry was posted in Amusing Shakespeare, Compliments, Philosophical, Psychological & Historical Considerations, Presentation Ideas, Romantic Shakespearean Quotes, Shakespeare on Sex & Gender Roles, Social Exchanges Shakespeare style, William Shakespeare Love Quotes and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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