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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: February ::
Re: Die as a Metaphor for Sex
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0593  Thursday, 28 February 2002

[1]     From:   Alec Wild <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Feb 2002 12:14:52 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0586 Die as a Metaphor for Sex

[2]     From:   Todd Pettigrew <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Feb 2002 13:54:26 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0586 Die as a Metaphor for Sex

[3]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Feb 2002 18:00:01 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0586 Die as a Metaphor for Sex

[4]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Feb 2002 15:17:38 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0586 Die as a Metaphor for Sex

[5]     From:   Kevin De Ornellas <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Feb 2002 20:34:11 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0586 Die as a Metaphor for Sex

[6]     From:   Andy White <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Feb 2002 20:01:34 -0500
        Subj:   Die as a Metaphor for Sex


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Alec Wild <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Feb 2002 12:14:52 -0500
Subject: 13.0586 Die as a Metaphor for Sex
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0586 Die as a Metaphor for Sex

> A colleague needs help with a question. Is there a reference, on-line or
> in print, dealing with the use of the verbs to die and to kill as
> metaphors for sex?  I'm much obliged for any guidance here.
>
> Cheers,
> Skip Nicholson

Eric Partridge, in SHAKESPEARE'S BAWDY (Routledge), lists the following:

die; die in a woman's lap. To experience a sexual orgasm. 'Benedick [to
Beatrice]. I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be buried in
thy eyes', MUCH ADO, v ii 99-101. --Cf. quotation at BURIED. --'I will
die bravely, like a smug bridegroom', Lear, iv vi 201.

Cheers,
Alec Wild

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Todd Pettigrew <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Feb 2002 13:54:26 -0400
Subject: 13.0586 Die as a Metaphor for Sex
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0586 Die as a Metaphor for Sex

>A colleague needs help with a question. Is there a reference, on-line or
>in print, dealing with the use of the verbs to die and to kill as
>metaphors for sex?  I'm much obliged for any guidance here.

OED 7d cites "die" as meaning having an orgasm beginning with
Shakespeare in 1599 -- but the examples it cites seem to be cases where
if that meaning is present it is as a pun on the regular meaning of the
word. No doubt this doubling (if that's what it is) comes in part from
the natural tendency to hyperbole when it comes to sexual climax

But don't we have to identify unequivocal meanings of words before we
identify puns? Does anyone know of an instance in the period where "die"
means have an orgasm and could not also mean "cease to live" in context?

t.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Feb 2002 18:00:01 -0000
Subject: 13.0586 Die as a Metaphor for Sex
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0586 Die as a Metaphor for Sex

"Is there a reference, on-line or in print, dealing with the use of the
verbs to die and to kill as metaphors for sex?" asks Skip Nicholson.

Don't know any scholarly references, I'm afraid - but here is one of my
favourite examples:

"If you seek to spill me,
Come kiss me sweet,
Come kiss me sweet,
Come kiss me sweet
And kill me".

John Dowland, "Lady If You So Spite Me", A Musical Banquet, ed. Robert
Dowland (pub. 1610)

I'm afraid you will have to hum the tune yourself.

m

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Feb 2002 15:17:38 -0500
Subject: 13.0586 Die as a Metaphor for Sex
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0586 Die as a Metaphor for Sex

> Is there a reference, on-line or
> in print, dealing with the use of the verbs to die and to kill as
> metaphors for sex?  I'm much obliged for any guidance here.

See Eric Paertidge, "Shakespeare's Bawdy" (Routledge).  Partridge treats
the well-known "die" but not "kill."  I have not seen "kill" in this
context either.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kevin De Ornellas <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Feb 2002 20:34:11 +0000
Subject: 13.0586 Die as a Metaphor for Sex
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0586 Die as a Metaphor for Sex

>Is there a reference, on-line or in print, dealing with the use of the
>verbs to die and to kill as metaphors for sex?

I don't know about 'kill', but see the 'OED' for die, v.1, 7.a.  And see
the entry on 'Death' in Gordon Williams, comp., 'A Dictionary of Sexual
Language and Imagery in Shakespearean Literature, 3 vols (London:
Athlone Press, 1994), vol. I, pp. 371-74.

Kevin De Ornellas
Queen's University, Belfast

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andy White <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Feb 2002 20:01:34 -0500
Subject:        Die as a Metaphor for Sex

Sir Ian McKellan, in his one-man Shakespeare show, did Juliet and made a
point of telling the audience what it meant for Romeo to "die" in her
arms -- his delivery of the line was by far the most persuasive for that
interpretation that I have ever experienced.  And he made a point of
speaking the word in an almost reverential tone, very sweetly done, not
as dirty adolescent innuendo.

We love Shakespeare's double-entendres, but there are times when words
like this can be spoken directly and with grace, not a speck of shame to
'em.

Andy White

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