It's evening at the Duck and Whistle. William Shakespeare and his actor friend Thomas Swann are rehearsing the opening scene of Shakespeare's comedy The Taming of the Shrew.
Thomas: I'll answer him by law. I won't budge an inch…
Will: Just a minute Thomas: Christopher Sly is drunk, but we do need to understand the words!
Thomas: You're criticising my acting, Will. Again.
Will: Thomas, Thomas. You're a great actor. A wonderful actor. But Thomas, can the audience please actually hear the words I wrote for your character to say…?
Thomas: The audience can see what's happening! I'm in the pub, I'm drunk, there's broken glass everywhere and -
Bess: Thomas Swann! If you've broken one of my glasses, I'll have your guts for garters…
Will / Thomas: No, no, no!
Thomas: Bess, it's in the play.
Will: The innkeeper - in the play, Bess - is going to call the police unless Christopher Sly pays for the glasses he broke. But Sly says he doesn't care about the police, he's entitled to be in the pub, and he's not moving.Bess: Oh… well just you be careful. I won't have people breaking glasses in my pub.
Will: Of course, Bess. Now, Thomas. Please. Speak more clearly.
Thomas: No. I'm an artist, and I have to do it my way.
Will: Bess, please read the innkeepers lines. I'll be Christopher Sly. Thomas, just listen.
Bess: Alright Mr Will, the innkeeper's lines: I know my remedy. I must go fetch the third-borough.
Will as Christopher Sly: Third, or fourth, or fifth borough, I'll answer him by law. I'll not budge an inch, boy. Let him come, and kindly.
Will: Now please Thomas, do it like that.
Thomas: I will not do it like that.
Bess: He's just like Christopher Sly isn't he Mr Will? He won't budge an inch either.
We'll leave them there for now. Christopher Sly is just one of several stubborn characters in The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare's early comedy about the battle of the sexes. The phrase not budge an inch is used these days to describe not only objects that won't move but also people who won't change their minds. Take Simon Walker, the director general of the British Institute of Directors, who said that the British chancellor George Osborne…
…must not budge an inch on the crucial job of deficit reduction.
That stupid dog refused to move. I kept pulling on the lead, but he wouldn't budge an inch.
Thomas: Will, it's my way or –
Will: Now look here Thomas -
Bess: Now stop arguing you two or I'll knock your heads together. Thomas, do what Mr Will says. It's his play.
Thomas: Grrrr. To budge, or not to budge: that is the question.
20 A tower of strength 中流砥柱
19 Wild-goose chase 徒劳无果
18 A fool's paradise 黄粱美梦
17 The world's mine oyster 随心所欲
15 Forever and a day 永远
14 Spotless reputation 清白的名声
13 Strange Bedfellows 同床异梦的伙伴
12 A pound of flesh 合法但极不合理的要求
11 I'll send him packing 收拾东西走人
10 Give no words but mum 什么都不要说
09 As dead as a doornail 彻底死去
08 I must be cruel, only to be kind 忠言逆耳
07 All that glisters is not gold 闪光的未必都是金子
06 Wear my heart upon my sleeve 表露真心
05 In a pickle 身处困境
04 Though this be madness 看似疯狂 实则有因
03 Greek to me 一窍不通
02 What's done is done 木已成舟
01 The green-eyed monster 嫉妒之心
珍藏版 | 小岳岳的经典现场