Quote of the Week – “A Plague on Both Your Houses”

Happy Tuesday, blogmeisters.

It’s time for the Quote of the Week. Like last week’s quote, this one also comes from Shakespeare:

ROMEO tries to break up the fight. TYBALT stabs MERCUTIO under ROMEO’S arm.


Away, Tybalt.

Exeunt TYBALT, PETRUCHIO, and the other CAPULETS


I am hurt.
A plague o’both your houses! I am sped.
Is he gone and hath nothing?


What, are thou hurt?


Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch. Marry, ’tis enough.
Where is my page? – Go, villain, fetch a surgeon.



Courage, man. The hurt cannot be much.


No, ’tis not so deep as a well nor so wide as a
church-door, but ’tis enough, ’twill serve.
Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man.
I am peppered, I warrant, for this world.
A plague o’both your houses!
Zounds, a dog, a rat, a mouse, a cat to scratch a man to death!
A braggart, a rogue, a villain that fights by the book of arithmetic!
Why the devil came you between us?
I was hurt under your arm.


I thought all for the best.

– William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Poor Mercutio – just an innocent guy who got caught up in the middle of the Montague vs. Capulet feud and ended up getting stuck like a pin cushion. Well, scratched like a nickel on a winning lottery ticket would be more precise but as he said, a scratch is enough.

“A plague on both your houses!” Generally, this quote has become an expression used to criticize two warring factions, so hellbent on destroying one another, that they fail to realize that innocents are being hurt in the process.

Seems a bit relevant, given the news as of late, doesn’t it?

Here at bookshelfbattle.com (where the reviews are as awesome as the author’s humilty), I try not to get political. That’s because, whether you’re a Republican, or a Democrat, or a Libertarian, a Green Party member, or even a member of some odd party that thinks America should turn itself over to intergalactic space alien rule, all I want is for everyone to come together and partake in the joy of good literature.

Also, I want your clicks. Your sweet, sweet clicks. Click on a few links while you’re in here, will you? So far my only visitors are my cat and my Aunt Gertrude.

But I digress. There are some news stories that transcend politics. Stories where we can all agree, something really craptacular happened. Such is the case with the downing of Malyasian Airlines Flight MH17 over the Ukraine last week.

Pro-Russian separatists want to break off from the Ukraine and join Russia. Ukraine claims that the separatists aren’t exactly poor farmers turned rebels but rather are trained flunkies of Mother Russia. The passengers of MH17, a bunch of poor, innocent Mercutios, if you will, got caught in the middle of a brutal Civil War. They had nothing to do with the conflict. Most of them were on their way to an AIDS conference. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

All signs indicate that the plane was blown up by bumbling pro-Russians who mistook the civilian passenger plane for a Ukranian military plane. The rocket launcher used to blow up the plane isn’t exactly something you can pick up at the 7-11, and training on how to use one can’t be provided at the local community college, so Russia, now suspected of providing the weapon in question, definitely has a lot of explaining to do.

Russia points the finger back at Ukraine – claiming the appearance of a Ukranian fighter jet in the area needs to be explained. All facts need to be accounted for, but so far if the explanations are:

A) The separatists goofed and mistook a civilian plane for an army plane (or worse did it intentionally?)


B) The Ukraine government shot down a civilian plane in an elaborate attempt to frame the separatists and garner the world’s sympathy

Then Arkham’s Razor, which dictates that the simplest explanation must be true, yields that A is the safest bet.

It is an understatement of epic proportions to say that Russia and the rebels look bad here. And perhaps “A plague on both your houses” isn’t the most fitting of quotes in this particular situation, as it appears Russia and the Rebels hold the lion’s share of the blame when it comes to this particular tragedy. However, in the long run, if I may dare be sappy – it would be great if somehow all sides could come together and find a way to end the conflict before more innocents are hurt. It probably won’t happen – but it would be great if they could at least find a way to keep Mercutios from being caught in the middle.

We live in a world where it’s possible to beam any TV show you want to your phone. We also live in a world where girls being kidnapped in Nigeria and sold on the black market is a common occurrence.

We live in a world where it’s possible to think of something you want, order it on Amazon, and have it arrive at your house in a couple days. We also live in a world where parts of Iraq and Syria have been taken over by ISIS – a radical group so bad that Al-Qaeda has even basically said, “Whoa, hold on, don’t lump us in with those guys…”

We live in a world where it’s possible to create a website where the proprietor has little to no knowledge of website production techniques – kind of like bookshelfbattle.com, for example. We also live in a world where a long lasting peace between the Middle East and Israel is unlikely.

So much violence has taken over the world. People take sides, throw down their gauntlets, the innocent Mercutios be damned. It’s not my intention to start a debate over who’s wrong and who’s right. I have my views of who’s wrong and right in all these conflicts and I’m sure you do too. All I’m saying is that if the various warring factions of the world can’t to find peace, then maybe they can find a way to at least avoid hurting people who have nothing to do with it.

Wow, the mood got a little too somber in here. Luckily, that’s about as political as bookshelfbattle.com ever gets. Join us next time as we discuss which True Blood vampires are hot and which are not.

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5 thoughts on “Quote of the Week – “A Plague on Both Your Houses”

  1. EllaDee says:

    This is the best commentary I’ve read yet on the MH17 tragedy-debacle. Nothing stays the same but not much changes…

    • Thanks. I hope I didn’t come off as critical as the Ukrainian side because in my opinion, it seems as though Russia and the rebels are at fault here. But overall, “A Plague on Both Your Houses” can be seen as a quote to use to try to get humanity as a whole to understand that all too often innocent people are caught up in the middle when two sides fight.

  2. Mei-Mei says:

    That scene is one of my favorite parts of the Baz Luhrmann movie.

    • The one with Claire Danes when they’re all modern and whatnot? That movie started a surge of films where Shakespeare was modernized. Somehow the Bard always manages to stand the test of time.

  3. […] didn’t make Joffrey read about “A Plague on Both Your Houses!” though I wish I […]

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