Who the F… Needs to Study Shakeapeare?

There are many quotable lines and speeches taken from Shakespeare: “Beware the Ides of March”, “It was Greek to me” , “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”, but some have a greater ring of truth than others and I have selected some below which have stood out for or influenced me significantly. A veritable mine of wisdom and life lessons here.


“Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind.” -Midsummer Night’s Dream

“Nothing can come of nothing.” -King Lear

“Can one desire too much of a good thing? -As You Like It

“True it is that we have seen better days.” -As You Like It

“Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.” -Romeo and Juliet

“True nobility is exempt from fear.” -Henry VI, Part II

“I bear a charmed life.” -Macbeth

“The play’s the thing.”

“The native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought.”

“There is a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will.”

“We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.”
-The Tempest

“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
-As You Like It

“Lord, what fools these mortals be!”
-Midsummer Night’s Dream

“There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.”
-Julius Caesar

“What’s gone and what’s past help
Should be past grief.”
-Winter’s Tale

“Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.”

“Forbear to judge, for we are sinners all.”
-Henry VI, Part II

“Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgement.”

“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”

“The course of true love never did run smooth.”
-Midsummer Night’s Dream

“Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.”
-Twelfth Night

“To hold, as t’were, the mirror up to nature.”

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”
-Troilus and Cressida

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

“I am a man
More sinn’d against than sinning.”
-King Lear

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

“To thine own self be true.”

“Brevity is the soul of wit.”

“For I am nothing if not critical.”

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.”
-Twelfth Night

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts.”
-As You Like It

“The quality of mercy is not strain’d…
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”
-The Merchant of Venice

“We have heard the chimes at midnight.”
-Henry IV, Part II

“When sorrows come, they come not single spies,
But in battalions!”

“If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it”
-Twelfth Night

“The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.”
-A Midsummer Night’s Dream

“In delay there lies no plenty.”
-Twelfth Night

“Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care,
The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast.”

“Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie.
Which we ascribe to heaven.”
-All’s Well That Ends Well

“All that live must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.”

“Use every man after his desert and who would ‘scape whipping?”

“We must speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us.”

“The readiness is all.”

“The time of life is short;
To spend that shortness basely were too long.”
Henry IV, Part 2

“O! for a Muse of fire, that would ascend,
The brightest heaven of invention.”
-Henry V

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in the stars
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
-Julius Caesar

“But I am constant as the northern star,
Of whose true fixed and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament.”
-Julius Caesar

“How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is
To have a thankless child!”
-King Lear

“I am tied to the stake, and must stand the course.”
-King Lear

“The wheel is come full circle.”
-King Lear

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair.”

“Nothing is, But what is not.”

“There’s nothing serious in mortality.”

“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death,
Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

“Men should be what they seem,”

“Then you must speak
Of one that loved not wisely but too well.”

“He jests at scars, that never felt a wound.”
-Romeo and Juliet

“These violent delights have violent ends.”
-Romeo and Juliet

“How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world
That has such people in ‘t!”
-The Tempest

“When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state.”
-Sonnet 29

“Haply I think on thee–and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
that then I scorn to change my state with kings.”
-Sonnet 29

“Not marble, nor gilded monuments
of princes shall outlive this powerful rhyme.”
-Sonnet 55

“Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or tends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark.”
-Sonnet 116

“Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come.”
-Sonnet 116

“The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust.
-Sonnet 129

“All that glisters is not gold.”
-Merchant of Venice

“The dog will have his day.”

“Thereby hangs a tale.”
-Taming of the Shrew

“If it were done, when ’tis done, then ’twere well
it were done quickly.”

“Dost thou think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale?”
-Twelfth Night

“I must be cruel only to be kind.”

“I am not what I am.”

“For ’tis sport to have the engineer
Hoist with his own petard”

“More matter with less art”

“What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals.”

“There is special providence in the fall of a sparrow.”

“Who steals my purse steals trash.”

“But I have that within which passes show.’

“I do not know
Why yet I live to say this thing’s to do,
Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means to do ‘t.”

“The time is out of joint–O cursed spite,
that ever I was born to set it right!”

“To be, or not to be, that is the question.”

“What’s done, is done.”

“The whirligig of time”
-Twelfth Night

“Now is the winter of our discontent”
-Richard III

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