An oft modified quote on desperation, originally from Shakespeare
's Richard III
, Act 5, scene 4
. In the original context, it is in Richard's last utterance, for when he next enters he is slain in silence.
Read the e2 writups on Richard III for a character discourse on Richard. For my business, suffice to say he was feeling a little frustrated having just gone into the battle of his life and having had his horse slain. Shit happens and then you die.
For me and most, the quote goes on to be a regular roll of verbal duct tape. My kingdom for an anything. My kingdom for an internet connection. My kingdom for a tank of gas. My kingdom for a date with that girl over there before the bar closes.
What it comes down to is that what I need now may well matter more to me than all my earthly belongings; to Richard naught else matters if he can't survive and win the battle, to me naught else matters if I can't get my homework done tonight, or whatever the case may be. It sounds crazy until you've been there. IE, you are in the desert and without water. It has been three days. My kingdom for a cactus, right about now. You have just jumped out of a plane. My kingdom for a parachute, right about now. You are the sole survivor of a shipwreck, my kingdom for a liferaft. It's an easy drift to catch.
The flipside is the rare occasion your wish is granted. In literature it's usually a bargain with the devil like The Devil and Daniel Webster involving selling your soul or something like that. In Biblical history it's a Herod giving away the head of John the Baptist to a dancing girl. Sometimes it's really not the right thing to say. But sometimes you don't know any better, and then you learn and hopefully) live.