This monologue from Porolles in Act 1, Scene 1 of Alls Well that Ends Well is a lot of fun and a great chance for the actor to play with their words. Believe it or not, in Shakespeares time they weren’t as prudish as you might think. Shakespeares plays were always filled with a lot of double entendres and adult jokes. Many of which are lost in the change of accent and loss of common words and phrases. But you’ll have a hard time missing them in this one. Let’s take a look.
Helena is the low-born ward of the Countess of Rousillion and she is madly in love with her son Bertram. At the start of the play, her father has recently passed away and Bertram is off to go and see the King of France to serve him while he’s sick with an Ulcer. After some discussion about that the aforementioned party leaves and Helena is left alone… until Porolles, one of Bertrams followers walks in where they discuss the ethics of virginity and the military capabilities of virgins…
Virginity being blown down man will quicklier be blown up; marry, in blowing him down again, with the breach yourselves made you lose your city. It is not politic in the commonwealth of nature to preserve virginity. Loss of virginity is rational increase, and there was never virgin got till virginity was first lost. That you were made of is mettel to make virgins. Virginity, by being once lost may be ten times found; by being ever kept it is ever lost. ‘Tis too cold a companion. Away with ‘t!
There’s little can be said in’t; ’tis against the rule of nature. To speak on the part of virginity, is to accuse your mothers; which is most infallible disobedience. He that hangs himself is a virgin; virginity murthers itself, and should be buried in highways out of all sanctified limit, as a desperate offendress against nature. Virginity breeds mites, much like a cheese; consumes itself to the very paring, and so dies with feeding his own stomach. Besides, virginity is peevish, proud, idle, made of self-love which is the most inhibited sin in the canon. Keep it not; you cannot choose but loose by’t. Out with ‘t! Within the year it will make itself two, which is a goodly increase, and the principal itself not much the worse. Away with ‘t!
Infalliable: Unable to fail
If virginity gets blown up, soldiers will quickly get blown up. Indeed, in blowing him up your city has lost its defences. It’s not strategic in civilised society to preserve virginity. Loss of virginity increases population as no one ever became a mother by holding onto their virginity. The material you’re made can make more virgins. If you lose your virginity you can make ten more virgins, and if you don’t they’re lost forever. It’s a cold hearted friend, get rid of it!
There’s no argument in favour of it, it goes against the laws of nature. To be pro virginity is to be anti-mother which is disobedient no matter what. A virgin is like a man who hangs himself because virginity should be hanged and buried far away from holy ground for its holy crimes. Virginity grows mites like cheese, and the same as cheese grows mouldy and rotten like it’s being fed to itself. Besides, virginity is silly, over-proud, lazy and made of self indulgence which is the worst sin of all. Don’t hold onto your virginity, no matter what it’s a losing game. Get rid of it! Within ten years it will bring you ten babies which is a good return on investment. Get rid of it!
Notes on Performance
This monologue is absolutely filled to the brim with double entendres and word play so have fun with the language!
This character is very opinionated so don’t hold back and give the speech the confidence it needs.
Chase your objective: Convince Helena that your way of thinking is right. As far the character knows she may just change her mind.
For more Male Shakespeare Monologues