Posted by Lewis on October 20, 2003
In Reply to: Your future's a clam? posted by ESC on October 19, 2003
: : Please does any one know what the following meaning means:-
: : The worlds your oyster
: : But your futures a clam
: : thanks
: I can help with the first part.
: THE WORLD IS AN (ONE'S) OYSTER - "If you have a lot of money, you can have anything you want. The proverb first appears in Shakespeare's play 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' .'Falstaff: I will not lend thee a penny. Pistol: Why, then, the world's mine oyster, Which I with sword will open.' Act II, Scene II." From "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).
: A second reference says the phrase means: "All the pleasures and opportunities of life are open to someone because he is young, rich, handsome, successful, etc. Shakespeare invented or popularized this expression." From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).
it is interesting that the Shakespearean use requires that the speaker does something about it - often the phrase is used is a glib way - that all opportunities are available, without the note that opening an oyster requires strength,skill and the tools for the job.
As an oyster is usually opened by inserting a tough blade into the crack between the two parts of the shell, the mention of using the sword in martial skill to ensure success was particularly apposite.
Usually a bit of depth with Shakespeare...