General Question

mirifique's avatar

Looking for the Shakespeare(?) line/quote whose meaning is "the more excuses you provide, the less believable you appear."?

Asked by mirifique (1537points) March 25th, 2010

Cannot find anywhere—but I remember this from college (and yes, I forgot which play (if it was indeed Shakespeare).

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20 Answers

janbb's avatar

“Methinks thou do protest too much”?

dpworkin's avatar

Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

dpworkin's avatar

jinx, you owe me a coke.

faye's avatar

Aw, I am too late, one I knew too.

CMaz's avatar

“The lady doth protest too much, methinks”... Bitch!

janbb's avatar

@dpworkin Why don’t we just get out our tophats and tails and go on the stage?

You want a coke or a Dr. Brown’s at 2nd Avenue?

mirifique's avatar

@janbb @dpworkin Close, but it’s more along the lines of a didactic quote, with the moral all wrapped into one nice little quote.

janbb's avatar

Picky, picky

dpworkin's avatar

Creme Soda, not Cel-Ray tonic.

janbb's avatar

Oh, for sure, only mine is Black Cherry.

janbb's avatar

@mirifique Sounds like it could be something from Othello but I’m not that familiar with it. If you had a key word, you could try a Shakespeare concordance.

AstroChuck's avatar

From Hamlet: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” – Queen Gertrude

janbb's avatar

@AstroChuck A day late and a dollar short, my young man. We’ve all said that but that’s not what he or she wants.

AstroChuck's avatar

@janbb- Not the first time. Not likely the last.

faye's avatar

Hmm, I didn’t know it then. Any more information?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I can’t believe he said it anywhere near as well as (and certainly not better than) the quote that you’ve had read back to you several times… and no one else here knows it. (I would have quoted the exact same passage except I thought it was from Macbeth.)

So… what else is it that you’re looking for?

absalom's avatar

From Henry IV, the first part, one of my favorite plays.

“Give you a reason on compulsion! If reasons were as plentiful as blackberries, I would give no man a reason upon compulsion, I.” (II.4.227–231)

Maybe? This is the only thing I could think of. It’s spoken, kind of ironically, by Falstaff, someone who lies all the time.

Edit: And this, more explicitly, from King John:

When workmen strive to do better than well,
They do confound their skill in covetousness;
And oftentimes excusing of a fault
Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse,
As patches set upon a little breach
Discredit more in hiding of the fault
Than did the fault before it was so patch’d.
(IV.2)

Spoken by Pembroke.

mirifique's avatar

@absalom YES! that is it!

janbb's avatar

Ah shoot – shown up by a scholar! Good work, @absalom.

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