In a pickle - Shakespeare Speaks

source: BBC Learning English    2016年4月8日
Learn the meaning and use of the phrase 'in a pickle' from William Shakespeare's play The Tempest
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Narrator: It was a chilly November evening. William Shakespeare's play The Tempest, full of music, magic and monsters, is being performed for the first time. King James I and the Queen are having dinner while they watch.

King James: I do like a good play… mmm… and this meat is delicious - bring me more of that pickle… Mmmm… I love a bit of pickle with my dinner… and a nice glass of wine…

Queen: Don't you think you've had enough wine, dear?

King James: Oh do be quiet dear: I can't hear the actors. Now, Mr Shakespeare, is that a King I see on the stage?

Will: Your Majesty, that is King Alonso of Naples. He is lost on a magical island.

King James: And who is this fellow in the jester's costume?

Will: Your Majesty, that is Trinculo. He drinks a lot, and plans to murder people.

King James: A drunken jester? Murder? No good will come of it… does the King know about this?

Will: Yes, your Majesty. Now, the King is going to find Trinculo - in a drunken mess. Your Majesty might care to listen…

King James: Ooh yes, yes, I want to hear this, be quiet everybody.

Alonso: How camest thou in this pickle?

Robert Harley as Trinculo: I have been in such a pickle since I saw you last that, I fear me, will never out of my bones: I shall not fear fly-blowing.

King James: Hahaha! He's in a pickle! I like it, Will, very good, very good!

Narrator: We'll leave them there for now. Pickles are a very messy food, made from fruit and vegetables, crushed and preserved in vinegar and spices - sometimes with alcohol too. When Trinculo says he is in a pickle, he's probably saying that he is very drunk - but he's also got himself into a mess - a very difficult situation. Nowadays, when someone has drunk a lot of alcohol, they can say: I'm pickled - and when they've got problems, they can say: I'm in a pickle. Take The Hunger Games actor Liam Hemsworth, who said:

Clip 1: Most of the time if I'm in a pickle I'll call one of my brothers. They've usually got somewhat uplifting advice.

Clip 2: Ooh, you're in a pickle with those bags aren't you? Let me help.

King James: Now Mr Shakespeare, sit down and eat with us. Have some cold meat!

Servant: Anything with that?

Will: Hmmm… To pickle, or not to pickle: that is the question.

source: BBC Learning English   2016年4月11日
Nowadays, when someone says they are in a pickle they mean that they are in a mess - a very difficult situation. For more about this phrase, visit our Shakespeare Speaks pages on BBC Learning English: There's more about our Shakespeare Speaks course at The Open University website, here: