Shakespeare expressions (6): too much of a good thing

Shakespeare expressions: too much of a good thing in a managerial context


Too much of a good thing: I’m Rosalind. I’m the daughter of a banished Duke. When my uncle tries to get rid of me, I decide to dress as a dude and go into the Forest of Arden to make my own way in life. And you know what I think?

Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing?
Come, sister, you shall be the priest and marry us.
Give me your hand, Orlando. What do you say, sister?

Rosalind flees after her uncle threatens her in As You Like It. She is well aware that rape and theft are very real threats on the lane, so she chooses to disguise herself as a man called Ganymede in order to be a little safer. When our bossy, opinionated, and brave girl disguises herself and ventures into Arden, she defies all sorts of stereotypical 16th-century stereotypes regarding women’s roles. Rosalind runs into Orlando in the woods before we know it. He is the object of her adoration. She thinks Orlando is the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen, and he thinks the same thing about her—Rosalind. The two fall in love faster than Ramen noodles can be made.

The only thing is that she is still pretending to be Ganymede. But why should she reveal her true identity when she can take advantage of it? She keeps her male disguise on so she can interrogate Orlando about his true feelings for Rosalind. It also functions. Orlando admits that he’s madly in love with her, despite the fact that he thinks he’s talking to a nice guy. This quote comes to us during one of Rosalind and Orlando’s many animated discussions. “Ganymede” kindly offers to play Rosalind so Orlando can practice all of his best romantic moves.

The two have a back-and-forth banter. Rosalind/Ganymede eventually proposes that they have a mock wedding in the spirit of pretend-wooing. Rosalind retorts that Orlando may have “too much of a good thing” when it comes to marrying her. She’s just that laid-back. Celia, her cousin, will perform the role of priest and marry the couple. Oh, please. As children, we all did it.

What’s the meaning of the phrase ‘too much of a good thing’? We now use the phrase “too much of a good thing” to describe excess. Even though chocolate and vacation are both good things, they can be harmful to your health.

We’re willing to bet that most people who say this have no idea what the double entendre behind “thing” means. This is one of those jokes that has become mild over time.

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