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Phần 19

William Shakespeare and actor Thomas Swann have a disagreement. Can Bess the barmaid make Thomas see sense, or will he refuse to budge an inch? We explore the phrase not budge an inch and introduce some useful responses for when you are asked to do something you don’t want to do.

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Bài tập 1

Not budge an inch

The battle of the sexes
The Taming of the Shrew is one of William Shakespeare's earliest plays. It's often referred to as the battle of the sexes. Many people have criticised the way this play portrays women. But the story of the wild Katharina who is tamed by her husband has inspired many films and television shows, including the American movie '10 Things I Hate About You'.

To do

Will and his actor friend Thomas Swann are fighting while they rehearse The Taming of the Shrew. Before you watch the video, look at this image and try to guess - what are Will and Thomas arguing about? And whose side do you think Bess the barmaid is on?

Then, watch the video to find out the answer. (The answer's under the video – no looking!).

Xem video và hoàn thành bài tập

Hiển thị văn bản ghi âm (hay video) Giấu văn bản ghi âm (hay video)

Narrator
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.

Narrator
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…

Clip 1
…must not budge an inch on the crucial job of deficit reduction.

Clip 2
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.

Answer
Thomas and Will are arguing because Will doesn't like the way Thomas is reading his lines. Thomas is refusing to do what Will wants. Well done if you guessed correctly.

Bess is on Will's side - of course! 

To do

Check your understanding of the video by answering these true / false questions about the video before you move on to the next page.

Fight! Fight!

5 Questions

Answer these true / false questions about the video.

Chúc mừng bạn đã hoàn thành Trắc nghiệm
Excellent! Bạn làm rất tốt! Bad luck! Điểm bạn đạt được:
x / y

Fight! Fight!

5 Questions

Answer these true / false questions about the video.

Chúc mừng bạn đã hoàn thành Trắc nghiệm
Excellent! Bạn làm rất tốt! Bad luck! Điểm bạn đạt được:
x / y

How did you do?
3-5 correct - congratulations, it's time for you to move on!
0-2 correct - oh dear, have a look at the transcript and try again...

Next

We hope you aren't going to refuse to budge an inch. Come with us to the next page where we'll explore the phrase not budge an inch - and we'll introduce you to some great expressions for refusing to do things!

Session Vocabulary

  • For more great Shakespeare content visit our partner,The OU

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    Not budge an inch

    Meaning
    The phrase not budge an inch is used these days to describe objects that won't move, and also people who won't change their minds. 

    Example sentence

    That stupid dog refused to move. I kept pulling on the lead, but he wouldn't budge an inch.

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    Extra vocabulary

    an inch
    2.54 centimeters

    budge
    move

    the battle of the sexes
    the fight for power between men and women

    tame
    change something wild so that it is easier to control

    stubborn
    describes a person who refuses to change their ideas or behaviour 

    strong-minded
    not easily influenced by others 

    stand your ground
    refuse to change your opinion or behaviour, even when other people disagree with you

    dig your heels in
    refuse to change your ideas or behaviour

    back down
    admit that you are wrong

    No way!
    Definitely not!

    not even if you paid me!
    I would never do that, even if you gave me a lot of money

    it's out of the question
    it's impossible; I won't let it happen

    never in a million years 
    absolutely never

    oh go on then
    I agree to do or allow something that I didn't want to do before

    I suppose so
    I agree to something that I am not certain or happy about

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    About Shakespeare Speaks

    Shakespeare Speaks is a co-production between:

    BBC Learning English

    The Open University

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