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Posted by ESC on October 26, 2003

In Reply to: Phrase posted by frank on October 26, 2003

: Hello. I noticed that you didn't have a meaning for the phrase "wear the heart on the sleeve." I'm not sure of the origin, but I believe that someone who wears his or her heart on the sleeve is prone to act on emotional rather than reasonable aspects of a situation or relationship.

: Frank

From "Brush Up Your Shakespeare!" by Michael Macrone (Gramercy Books, New York, 1990):
"Heart on My Sleeve.
It is sure as you are Roderigo,
Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago.
In following him, I follow but myself;
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so, for my peculiar end;
For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In complement extern, 'tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve.
For daws to peck at. I am not what I am.
Othello, Act 1, scene 1, 56-65

.when your heart is displayed so openly, as if upon your sleeve, the 'daws' (jackdaws) will accept the invitation to pick away at it. By admitting to his treachery, Iago would seem, in effect, to 'wear his heart on his sleeve' for Roderigo. Yet, while Iago tells the truth, he doesn't tell all of it, and keeps hidden his true 'native act and figure' - his intention to dupe Roderigo out of even more jewels and cash."

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