I bet you didn’t know that! Yes folks, the man who reads books upside down and only for the pictures is actually more refined than any of us knew. And now let’s get to the proof.
In the lyrics to The Mob Song from Beauty and the Beast, Gaston sings:
Raise your torch, mount your horse
Screw your courage to the sticking place
To this the people making up the mob reply:
We’re counting on Gaston to lead the way
And so on. But it’s only the line ‘Screw your courage to the sticking place’ that we are concerned with. This a direct quote from Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, where a conversation between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth goes like this:
Macbeth: “If we should fail?”
Lady Macbeth: “We fail? But screw your courage to the sticking place, and we’ll not fail.’
They are talking about their plan to kill King Duncan of Scotland. Macbeth is afraid of the consequences if they fail and are caught, so Lady Macbeth is clearly trying to get him to show some courage, and guts, and get the job done!
But what exactly does it mean to ‘screw’ one’s courage to a ‘sticking place’?
THEORY ONE: It may refer to the act of twisting a tuning peg until it becomes set in its hole.
THEORY TWO: It may refer to the mark to which a soldier screwed up the cord of a crossbow.
Either way, it basically means to bolster up your courage to a level necessary to achieve the presumably unpleasant task at hand.
So the man who uses antlers in all of his decorating may also have a book or two from the old Bard on his bookshelf. Probably right next to his copy of ‘1001 Ways to Kill Anything – Illustrated Edition’.