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  • It was a sunny August morning. William Shakespeare is at the market.

  • Get your cherries, lovely ripe cherries! Come over here and get your cherries.

  • Ahhhsweet, ripe cherries!

  • Two pounds, please, Mary.

  • Here you are Mr. Will.

  • And how's the family Mary? All well?

  • Growing up fast, you know how it is.

  • My Janet's a worry though.

  • That Robert Harley says he wants to marry her, but I don't trust him.

  • I think he just wants to have his way with her, and what will we do Mr. Will if she ends up just 14 years old with a baby and no husband?

  • Now Mary, I'm sure young Robert will do right by Janet.

  • Why Look at me!

  • Didn't I marry my Anne when she was in trouble? And here we are now, still together with three children.

  • You're not too happy, though, are you Mr. Will?

  • Marriage isn't easy, Mary, you know that.

  • Oh, Mr. Will., last week he was in love with that Rosie from the village, and this week it's my Janet's turn.

  • He's promised her clothes, money, ribbons for her hair, and she's so in love with him she believes all of it!

  • I tell you, she's living in a fool's paradise!

  • A fool's paradisehmmm

  • That might sound good in my play: Romeo and Juliet, the star-crossed lovers!

  • Romeo says he'll marry Juliet, but Juliet's nurse doesn't trust him.

  • She warns him not to make false promises just to get Juliet into bed.

  • Listen, Mary, it'll go like this:

  • Let me tell ye, if ye should lead her

  • Let me tell ye, if ye should lead her into a fool's paradise, as they say, it were a very gross kind of behaviour.

  • That's really good Mr. Will.

  • Thank you, Mary, you can use it if you like.

  • We'll leave them there for now.

  • In Shakespeare's day, it was legal for girls to marry at the age of 14, although people usually got married when they were older.

  • It was not uncommon for women to already be pregnant when they got married - as was the case with William Shakespeare's own marriage.

  • These days, the phrase 'a fool's paradise' describes any situation that somebody thinks is good, without realising that it won't last - or that it's actually bad.

  • Take this 2015 BBC news headline, written when the value of the single European currency fell to record lows - making it cheap to buy for investors, but not particularly safe:

  • The euro: Good bet or a fool's paradise?

  • Jack's work is terrible.

  • He's living in a fool's paradise if he thinks he's getting a pay rise.

  • Just wait till I catch up with that Mr. Robert.

  • If you see him Mr. Will, you be sure to tell me.

  • Hmmmto tell, or not to tell: that is the question.

It was a sunny August morning. William Shakespeare is at the market.

Subtitles and vocabulary

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B1 US paradise fool juliet ye janet marry

A fool's paradise - Learn English vocabulary & idioms with 'Shakespeare Speaks'

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    Elise Chuang posted on 2021/04/20
Video vocabulary