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Home » The Best William Shakespeare Quotes: Insights from The Bard

The Best William Shakespeare Quotes: Insights from The Bard

William Shakespeare was a master of words. He has given us some of the most memorable quotes in history. His insights into human nature are as relevant today as they were four hundred years ago. In this article, we will explore some of his best quotes and what they mean for us today.

About William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. He was the third of eight children born to John Shakespeare, a leatherworker, and Mary Arden.

As a young man, William probably attended the local grammar school, where he would have studied Latin grammar and literature. Around the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, and they had three children: Susanna, twins Judith and Hamnet.

Shakespeare began his career as an actor in London around 1592. He soon became a member of Lord Chamberlain’s Men, one of the city’s leading theater companies. By 1594, he had begun to write plays for the company.

Over the next two decades, Shakespeare wrote approximately 38 plays, including comedies, histories, and tragedies such as “Romeo and Juliet,” “Macbeth” and “King Lear.” His plays were performed at the Globe Theatre, which he co-owned with several other investors. In 1613, the Globe burned down during a performance of “Henry VIII.” It was rebuilt the following year.

In 1611, Shakespeare retired from the theater and returned to Stratford. He died on April 23, 1616, at the age of 52. While Shakespeare’s exact cause of death is unknown, it is believed that he may have succumbed to any number of contagious diseases that were circulating at the time.

Today, Shakespeare is widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in the English language. His plays continue to be performed all over the world, and his influence can be seen in everything from television sitcoms to modern poetry.

Here are the best William Shakespeare Quotes

Shakespeare’s achievement has had a major and long-lasting influence on later theatre and literature. He expanded the possibilities for character, plot, language, and genre in particular. Let’s take a look at some of his most famous quotes:

1. “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”- William Shakespeare

william shakespeare quotes

In this quote, Shakespeare is addressing the fact that we can never truly know what the future holds. We may think we have an idea of who we are and what we’re capable of, but life is always full of surprises.

The quote encourages us to stay open-minded and embrace change, even when it’s unexpected. It’s a reminder that we should never stop growing and learning because we never know what new possibilities might be waiting for us just around the corner.

2. “Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”- William Shakespeare

william shakespeare quotes

3. “Sweet are the uses of adversity which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head.”- William Shakespeare

william shakespeare quotes

4. “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”- William Shakespeare

william shakespeare quotes

5. “Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.”- William Shakespeare

william shakespeare quotes

6. “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.”- William Shakespeare

7. “How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?”- William Shakespeare

8. “Nothing can come of nothing.”- William Shakespeare

9. “How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.”- William Shakespeare

10. “What’s done can’t be undone.”- William Shakespeare

11. “Though she be but little, she is fierce.”- William Shakespeare

This could be interpreted in several ways, but one interpretation is that even though women are often seen as weaker than men, they can be just as strong and determined.

This is an empowering message for women, and it reminds us that size does not always dictate strength. In today’s society, we see more and more women breaking down barriers and proving that they are just as capable as anyone else.

12. “No legacy is so rich as honesty.”- William Shakespeare

13. “This above all; to thine own self be true.”- William Shakespeare

14. “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.”- William Shakespeare

15. “The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.”- William Shakespeare

16. “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.”- William Shakespeare

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17. “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”- William Shakespeare

william shakespeare quotes

18. “What is past is prologue.”- William Shakespeare

william shakespeare quotes

19. “Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.”- William Shakespeare

william shakespeare quotes

20. “Sweet mercy is nobility’s true badge.”- William Shakespeare

william shakespeare quotes

21. “Tis not enough to help the feeble up, but to support them after.”- William Shakespeare

This quote speaks to the importance of continuing to support those in need even after they have been helped. Too often, we give with the expectation that the recipient will be able to fend for themselves after we have given them a helping hand.

However, Shakespeare reminds us that it is just as important to continue to support others even after we have helped them get back on their feet. By doing so, we can show that we truly care about their well-being and are committed to seeing them succeed.

22. “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.”- William Shakespeare

23. “Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.”- William Shakespeare

24. “I bear a charmed life.”- William Shakespeare

25. “Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe yourself.”- William Shakespeare

26. “Talking isn’t doing. It is a kind of good deed to say well; and yet words are not deeds.”- William Shakespeare

27. “In time we hate that which we often fear.”- William Shakespeare

28. “Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise.”- William Shakespeare

29. “With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”- William Shakespeare

30. “Boldness be my friend.”- William Shakespeare

31. “Words without thoughts never to heaven go.”- William Shakespeare

william shakespeare quotes

In this quote, Shakespeare is saying that words without meaning or thought will never reach heaven. This is because thoughts and words are synonymous with each other- one cannot exist without the other.

When we speak or write, our words directly reflect our thoughts. If our thoughts are empty, then our words will be too. This is why it’s so important to put thought into everything we say and write because otherwise, we risk devaluing our own words.

Only by taking the time to think about what we want to say can we hope to communicate effectively and connect with others on a deeper level. Otherwise, our words will fall flat and fail to reach their intended destination.

32. “Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast.”- William Shakespeare

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33. “Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.”- William Shakespeare

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34. “When words are scarce they are seldom spent in vain.”- William Shakespeare

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35. “Such as we are made of, such we be.”- William Shakespeare

william shakespeare quotes

36. “And oftentimes excusing of a fault doth make the fault the worse by the excuse.”- William Shakespeare

37. “Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.”- William Shakespeare

38. “To be, or not to be: that is the question.”- William Shakespeare

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

40. “All that glitters is not gold.”- William Shakespeare

41. “Words are easy, like the wind; faithful friends are hard to find.”- William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was a master of the English language, and his works are still studied and performed hundreds of years after his death. In this quote, he reflects on the power of words and how they can be easily spoken but often don’t hold meaning.

In contrast, he notes that faithful friends are hard to find. This is because true friendship requires trust, communication, and effort. It’s not something that can be taken for granted.

42. “The fault…is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”- William Shakespeare

43. “And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.”- William Shakespeare

44. “Expectation is the root of all heartache.”- William Shakespeare

45. “I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.”- William Shakespeare

46. “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”- William Shakespeare

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47. “I would not wish any companion in the world but you.”- William Shakespeare

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48. “My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or else my heart concealing it will break.”- William Shakespeare

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49. “Brevity is the soul of wit.”- William Shakespeare

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50. “Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”- William Shakespeare

william shakespeare quotes

51. “Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it.”- William Shakespeare

The quote suggests that it is often possible to hide one’s true nature behind a facade of innocence. In other words, looks can be deceiving. This is an important lesson to remember in life, as we may never know what lies beneath the surface of someone we meet.

52. “One may smile, and smile, be a villain.”- William Shakespeare

53. “Conscience doth make cowards of us all.”- William Shakespeare

54. “Let me be that I am and seek not to alter me.”- William Shakespeare

55. “Et tu, Brute?”- William Shakespeare

56. “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; it is the green-ey’d monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on.”- William Shakespeare

57. “If we are true to ourselves, we can not be false to anyone.”- William Shakespeare

58. “Be great in act, as you have been in thought.”- William Shakespeare

59. “Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind.”- William Shakespeare

60. “All things are ready, if our mind be so.”- William Shakespeare

61. “Many a true word hath been spoken in jest.”- William Shakespeare

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William Shakespeare was a master of language, and his works are full of profound insights into the human condition. In this quote, he suggests that there is often truth in humor. This is because we often say things in jest that we wouldn’t dare say in earnest.

As a result, we can sometimes reveal our deepest truths through humor. This quote reminds us that we should be careful with our words because they often reveal more about us than we realize.

62. “For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds; lillies that fester smell far worse than weeds.”- William Shakespeare

william shakespeare quotes

63. “The Devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape.”- William Shakespeare

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64. “Thought is free.”- William Shakespeare

william shakespeare quotes

65. “April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”- William Shakespeare

william shakespeare quotes

66. “Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.”- William Shakespeare

67. “Our bodies are our gardens to the which our wills are gardeners.”- William Shakespeare

68. “The tempter or the tempted, who sins most?”- William Shakespeare

69. “Men should be what they seem.”- William Shakespeare

70. “He jests at scars that never felt a wound.”- William Shakespeare

The quote by William Shakespeare is often used to describe someone who is making light of a situation that they have never experienced themselves. The speaker is saying that the person who is joking about something they have never experienced is effectively making fun of people who have.

This could be interpreted as a sign of disrespect or lack of empathy. However, it could also be seen as a way of coping with a difficult situation. By making jokes about something they have never experienced, the speaker may be trying to distance themselves from the pain or hurt associated with it. In either case, the quote highlights the importance of personal experience in shaping our attitudes and perceptions.

Let’s Wind Up…

We hope you enjoyed these William Shakespeare quotes. They provide a fascinating glimpse into the mind of one of history’s most brilliant brains. If you have any favorite quotes that we missed, let us know in the comments! And be sure to check out our other posts for more interesting information on the Bard and his work.