50 Best Quotes of William Shakespeare from His Plays And Poetries

Quaint quotes by The Bard of Avon!

Vartika Srivastava

10 months ago|10 min read

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In the words of Charles Dickens: “The life of Shakespeare is a fine mystery, and I tremble every day lest something should turn up.” And we can't disagree with him.

William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 (baptised) – 23 April 1616) was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon”. 

‘Wear your heart on your sleeves.' is one of the most relatable and most memorable Shakespeare quotes. And if you are searching for William Shakespeare quotes from his plays and poetries, then here is Feeding Trends, bringing to you the best we can!

1. “But soft, for light through yonder window breaks?”

Romeo utters this Act II, Scene II, lines 2-3,  expressing his sincere belief that when Juliet appears above, on her balcony, she appears like the sun at dawn, her light overpowering the moon’s merely reflected resplendence. This is one of the romantic lines from William Shakespeare plays.

2. “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”

The quote states the irrational ideology of Helena about love in 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' play of Shakespeare, as Demetrius thinks that Hermia is more beautiful than Helena and has been swayed by her beauty. 

3. “Though she be but little, she is fierce!”

It is a quote from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, spoken by Helena in act 3, scene 2, referring to her friend Hermia.

4. “If music be the food of love, play on.”

This is the famous opening line from Shakespeare's comedy Twelfth Night, by lovelorn Orsino who is frustrated in his courtship of Countess Olivia. This Shakespeare quote highlights the relation between music and love.

5. “I am not bound to please thee with my answers.”

It is a great memorable quote of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice said by Shylock. In the present scenario, when nobody cares about anybody, explanations are not worth it. Shakespeare quotes are relatable even in present times.

6. “Neither rhyme nor reason.” 

William Shakespeare ingeniously popularised this phrase in his play 'Comedy of Errors' in 1590, which means if something is done without a rhyme nor a reason, there seems to be no logic or reason for it to happen or to be done.

7. “To die, to sleep – to sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub, for in this sleep of death what dreams may come…” 

This quote is from the very famous play of Shakespeare 'Hamlet', in which Shakespeare has described the death as a deep long sleep, as Hamlet thinks of death for escaping from the earthy troubles.

8. “Off with his head!”

Often in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, this phrase can be found as far back as 1591 in Henry VI Part III, spoken by Queen Margaret, and is repeated in Richard III.

9. “I cannot tell what the dickens his name is my husband had him of. What do you call your knight’s name, sirrah?”

The above quote can be found in Shakespeare's play The Merry Wives Of Windsor Act 3, Scene 2, in which he has used this famous phrase 'what the Dickens' by Mistress Margaret Page which is an exclamation used to emphasize surprise, shock, or bafflement.

10. “My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or else my heart concealing it will break.” 

In Shakespeare's 'The Taming of the Shrew', Katherina adds this saying as she cannot hold back her words even when they are driven by anger because otherwise, this hiding would be likely to make her heart burst.

11. “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet.” 

This is a popular quote from William Shakespeare's play 'Romeo and Juliet', in which Juliet seems to argue that it does not matter that Romeo is from her family's rival house of Montague, that is, that he is named "Montague".

12. “He hath eaten me out of house and home, he hath put all my substance into that fat belly of his: but I will have some of it out again, or I will ride thee a-nights like the mare.”

From Shakespeare's Henry IV Part II, 1597, this quote has been extracted, which contains the very famous phrase 'eaten out of house and home's' which actually means  to eat so much as to deplete someone's resources.

13. “I pray you, in your letters, when you shall these unlucky deeds relate, speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice. Then must you speak of one that lov’d not wisely but too well; Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought, perplex’d in the extreme…” 

This is Othello's swan song: his attempt, before killing himself, to justify having suffocated his blameless wife Desdemona. You may get to read it in Shakespeare's famed play 'Othello'.

14. “Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires.” 

In Shakespeare's Macbeth Act I, Scene 4, Macbeth speaks of his "black and deep desires." Aren't these phrases used by Shakespeare in his plays quite appealing?

15. “Love all, trust a few,
Do wrong to none: be able for thine enemy
Rather in power than use, and keep thy friend
Under thy own life’s key: be cheque’d for silence,
But never tax’d for speech.”

Shakespeare quotes teach us the righteous path to lead a life. This quote is from The Countess of Roussillonin act 1, scene 1 of All's Well that End's Well, dispensing some motherly wisdom to Bertram before he departs for France. 

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

Hamlet here is explaining to Horatio the appearance of a ghost suggesting that human knowledge is limited.

17. “Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once .”

Caesar, to his wife, in Julius Caesar, Act II, scene ii, by William Shakespeare, making the difference between a craven and a valorous person.

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

Above is a line from the play The Tempest, by William Shakespeare, spoken by the magician Prospero reflecting the transient nature of life and drama. This helps us conclude that Shakespeare quotes are good to understand the reality of life.

19. “…be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.”

' Some people are born into power; others work for it; still, others are forced to accept it.' One of the characters in the play Twelfth Night, Malvolio, utters this quote as he reads a letter by Maria which he believes to be from Olivia.

20. “Ay me, for aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth,
But either it was different in blood—”

A Midsummer Night's Dream, a Well known drama by playwright William Shakespeare, we may find that Lysander, arguing with Hermia about love compares romance with a river current and includes affairs complicated by differences in class ("blood") or age, or dictated by relations ("friends").

21. “By all the vows that ever men have broke,
In number more than ever women spoke”

Even in Shakespeare's time, young men were stereotypically depicted as making extravagant vows of love in order to get a woman into bed — only to break that vow once the woman had given in. Hermia, in 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream', play by Shakespeare, uttered these words.

22. “Young men’s love then lies
Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.”

Friar Lawrence, in the romantic drama 'Romeo & Juliet', censures Romeo for abandoning Rosaline for his new love, Juliet Capulet. This Shakespeare quote brings out beautifully what young lovers feel and the glee they carry all around.

23. “My words fly up, my thoughts remain below:
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.”

Shakespeare quotes give us the strength to fight and stay calm in difficult situations. In the tough times, we always feel as if our prayers are not heartfelt, as in the play Hamlet King Claudius, admits to himself that his prayers are being unanswered.

24. “Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

Cassius, in 'Julius Caesar' here can be seen priming Brutus to join the conspiracy against Caesar. However, it is not right.

25. “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

Shakespeare here directs the quote to those who rely on fate and deny working hard.

26. “Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?”

This metaphor goes throughout the whole Sonnet 18, which is one of the best-known of the 154 sonnets written by the English playwright and poet William Shakespeare, which beautifully compares the youth with the summer's day.

27. “But thy eternal summer shall not fade” 

This metaphor suggests that the beloved no matter how old his lover gets, her beauty (summer) will never die.

28. “Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow, That I shall say good night till it be morrow.”

Juliet greets goodnight to her lover, Romeo in the romantic drama 'Romeo and Juliet' during the sorrowful parting which gives them pleasure and hope to see each other again the next morning.

29. “By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes. Open, locks, Whoever knocks!”

This is a couplet from Macbeth, spoken by the second of the three witches in act 4, scene 1 of the play. 

30. “hell is empty and all the devils are here”

This is a line from William Shakespeare's play: The Tempest: Act 1, Scene 2, uttered by Ferdinand, after recognizing his father's evil nature and  of those with whom he has travelled.

31. “The lady doth protest too much, me thinks” 

 This is a line from the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, spoken by Queen Gertrude in response to the insincere overacting of a character in the play within a play created by Prince Hamlet to prove his uncle's guilt in the murder of his father, the King of Denmark.

32. “These violent delights have violent ends...”

The fanciful drama by Shakespeare, 'Romeo and Juliet' character Friar Laurence is here begging Romeo not to act too impulsively in his love for Juliet.

33. “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” ...

Shakespeare in the above lines refers to the cognizance and modesty that a wise man has towards knowledge and life. 

34. “A woman’s face with nature’s own hand painted
Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion;
A woman’s gentle heart, but not acquainted
With shifting change as is false women’s fashion;”

Shakespeare is discussing the effeminate beauty of the Fair Youth in the above couplets of Sonnet 20.

35. “Brevity is the soul of wit.”

36. “Fair is foul and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air.”

37. “Now is the winter of our discontent.”

Here The Bard expresses the idea that we have reached the depth of our sorrow and that better times will come soon.

38. “Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet prince;
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

39. “Do you not know I am a woman? when I think, I must speak.”

The above Shakespeare quote is from his play, As You Like It. It beautifully captures the instinct that women have with respect to speaking, even if they make no sense!

40. “I do love nothing in the world so well as you – is not that strange?”

The above quote is from Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.

41. “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”

The above quote is taken from Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor. It reflects upon the significance of time and punctuality. If you don't value time, you won't be valued.

42. “Oft expectation fails, and most oft there where most it promises.”

Shakespeare quotes from All’s Well That Ends Well are truths painted in black and white. This one talks about expectations, which when anticipated too much, are bound to bring distress.

43. “Therefore when he sees reason of fears, as we do, his fears, out of doubt, be of the same relish as ours are: yet, in reason, no man should possess him with any appearance of fear, lest he, by showing it, should dishearten his army.” 

44. “What’s past is prologue.”

The above quote is from Shakespeare's play, The Tempest. Nobody remembers what is has gone by and so, its the present and future that are worth it.

45. “Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble!”

This Shakespeare quote is taken from his play, Macbeth.

46. “Thou cold-blooded slave, hast thou not spoke like thunder on my side, been sworn my soldier, bidding me depend upon thy stars, thy fortune and thy strength, and dost thou now fall over to my fores?”  

The above quotes if from Constance (King John, Act III, Scene I).

47. “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.”

This quotes is from Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice.

48. “All that glisters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told:
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold:
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.”

This Shakespeare quote is also from his play, The Merchant of Venice.

49. “Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs.”

Shakespeare quotes are known for the love and romance they convey. This quote from Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet certainly melts our hearts.

50. “One may smile, and smile, and be a villain.”

This Shakespeare quote is from his play Hamlet. It talks about the dual personality of selfish people. What they show is not what they are.

Tremendous!

Did you experience a strange and magical effect of each and every word, while going through the best ever Shakespeare quotes? Well, the greatest dramatist the world has seen is capable of casting his charm on everyone. 

To end this on a lighter note, let me tell you that William Shakespeare is credited by the Oxford English Dictionary with the introduction of nearly 3,000 words into the language. And we are not surprised!

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Vartika Srivastava

If only our eyes saw souls instead of bodies, how very different our ideas of beauty would be. So, let's connect our souls to experience this divine world through this enticing platform of Feeding Trends.

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