The 90 best phrases of William Shakespeare
Jul 16, 2021
William Shakespeare is one of the greatest exponents of dramaturgy Worldwide. His works have been translated and performed all over the world as well as served as a source of inspiration for the collective imagination.
Tragedies like "Romeo and Juliet", "Hamlet", "Othello" or "Macbeth" or comedies like "The Merchant of Venice" or "A Midsummer Night's Dream" are some of his most popular plays. He also wrote great poems, such as "The Rape of Lucretia" or "Venus and Adonis".
Throughout his work this author, playwright and poet has left great phrases for the memory of very diverse topics, dealing with aspects such as love, passion, deception, betrayal or loyalty.
In this article you will find the best phrases of William Shakespeare.
- Related article: "123 wise phrases to reflect on life"
Great Shakespeare Quotes
Below are a series of quotes and phrases from William Shakespeare on the various topics covered throughout his play.
1. To be or not to be, that is the question
This famous phrase from the play Hamlet questions existence, who we are and what we do, and whether we should submit or fight, live or die.
2. When I saw you I fell in love and you smiled because you knew
This phrase tells us about a love at first sight, as well as the perception of others of our feelings towards them.
3. Thus, oh conscience, you all make cowards of us, and the fiery original resolution decays to the pale look of thought
Doubt, insecurity and overthinking things make our purposes and willingness to act diminish to the point of being able to abandon our initial intention.
4. The friends you have and whose friendship you have already put to the test, hook them to your soul with steel hooks
Those who are by your side both in good times and bad, those who are there when they are needed are truly worthy of our appreciation and attention. It is these people who deserve our affection.
5. Life is a story told by an idiot, a story full of noise and fury, which means nothing
This phrase reflects that the story of our life can only be told by ourselves, without it having any meaning or sense.
6. It is better to be a king of your silence than a slave of your words
We must be aware of what we decide, since it has an effect on others and can also be misrepresented or even used against us.
7. There are more things in heaven and on earth, Horacio, than all that your philosophy can dream of
No matter what we explore or imagine, there will always be new things to explore and discover, new things to dream about, or new ways of interpreting them. In addition, what one is capable of seeing does not have to coincide with what another perceives.
8. The sage does not sit down to mourn, but he happily sets about his task of repairing the damage done.
Lamenting is useless. Someone wise will take the opportunity to solve problems and at the same time can learn from what happened.
9. In our mad attempts we give up who we are for what we hope to be
This phrase reflects that although it may seem crazy, we have to move on without accommodating ourselves if we want to achieve our dreams.
- Related article: "Conformity: why do we submit to peer pressure?"
10. There is nothing good or bad, thought makes it so
This phrase reflects that the concepts of good and bad are subjective constructs, which can be used differently by different people. Things are, and then we interpret them based on whether they are beneficial or harmful.
11. Fate is the one who shuffles the cards, but we are the ones who play
Although we cannot control what happens to us, we can manage how we react, what we do with it or what options we make from it. We decide our own way among the options available to us.
12. Do not try to guide the one who pretends to choose his own path
Each one has their own opinions and ways of seeing and reaching towards the future that they want to achieve. Trying to guide him to another path without him wanting it is counterproductive for both of you.
13. He lends an ear to all, and a voice to a few. Listen to the censures of others; but reserve your own opinion
In this sentence the playwright reflects the need to take into account the perspectives of others, in addition to recommending caution when giving an opinion.
14. It is not enough to lift the weak, they must be sustained later
Helping involves more than making a simple gesture of support. It is not about temporary support but about truly helping the person helped to maintain a state that allows them not to fall again.
15. The ruined man reads his condition in the eyes of others so quickly that he himself feels his downfall
People tend to project their own state onto others and to interpret events in a manner consistent with that projection.
16. I would be very unhappy if I could tell to what extent I am
Happiness is a spontaneous state and not controlled. If we can stop to think how happy we are, it will be that we are not focused on the feelings that make us happy.
17. If the whole year were a party, having fun would be more boring than working
We enjoy breaking the routine and doing something we like that we don't do often. If we get used to something, it ends up becoming routine and losing its reinforcer value to a greater or lesser degree.
18. Love is such a loyal madman, that in everything you do, whatever it may be, it finds no wrong
Love can cause that whatever we do or suffer is not perceived as bad, being blind.
- Related article: "The chemistry of love: a very powerful drug"
19. First of all, be true to yourself. And so, as true as night follows day, you will find that you cannot lie to anyone
We have to be honest with ourselves and act according to our thoughts, beliefs, and desires.
20. At birth, we cry because we enter this vast madhouse
The world is cruel and chaotic, which we must deal with from birth to grave.
21. The wounds that cannot be seen are the deepest
Psychic pain and trauma are not usually seen from the outside, but they are the ones that cause the most suffering and generally the ones that invalidate the most and persist the longest over time.
22. In a minute there are many days
Our perception of time may vary enormously depending on what we do and how we feel. While if we are happy, time passes quickly, suffering and waiting make it seem eternal.
23. The worst sin towards our fellow men is not to hate them, but to treat them with indifference; this is the essence of humanity
Indifference supposes that we do not care about the other or even that we do not recognize the existence of him, while other feelings, however negative they may be, imply that the other is recognized as a living being.
24. We know what we are, but not what we can become
While who we are and how we are today may be known, we cannot determine how or what we will end up doing with our lives since our points of view or our situation can vary in any moment.
25. We have come to this world as brothers; So let's walk hand in hand and one in front of the other
This phrase proposes to help us, guide us and respect each other.
26. Time does not go back, therefore, plant your garden and decorate your soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers
We may not get what we want no matter how much we do, but if we do nothing we have no chance and we will only be wasting time- This phrase prompts us to act.
27. Keeping something that helps me remember you would be admitting that I can forget you
If we care about someone, what we have to value is what we live with him or her. Memories. But if we need something that reminds us, it is because we may be afraid that we will stop having them present.
- You may be interested: "Types of memory: how does the human brain store memories?"
28. There are smiles that wound like daggers
Fake smiles, smiles, those that hide things, or those that make fun of someone can cause great harm, especially if they come from someone valued or loved.
29. There is nothing so common as the desire to be praised
Human beings frequently have the need to be recognized, praise being a way of feeding self-esteem and self-esteem. selfconcept of others. Also, on the other hand, vanity.
30. We are made of the same stuff as dreams and our little life ends up sleeping
A reflection on the link between living and dreaming.
31. If you want to climb steep slopes, it is necessary at first to walk slowly
To achieve great goals it is necessary to go little by little, step by step, so that we can go the long way necessary to achieve them.
32. The one who goes too fast arrives as late as the one who goes too slow
While we have to act, rushing too much will cause us to make mistakes and waste time and resources in ways that can be just as inefficient as taking too long to act.
33. The past is prologue
The past is important, but it has already happened. It is nothing more than a precedent for what we live now and what we will live later.
34. Loyalty has a calm heart
Those who are loyal do not have to worry about remorse or the machinations and concerns of those who betray.
35. The outer aspect often proclaims the inner condition of man
Our image, as a way of presenting ourselves to the world, often reflects different aspects of our inner world.
36. There is more danger for me in your eyes than in facing twenty naked swords
Love for someone can make us act in unexpected ways. The person we love, what he thinks or feels, does or does not do, is always something important to us and to which we are vulnerable.
37. Before touching your lips I want to touch your heart, and before conquering your body I want to conquer your love
This phrase from Romeo and Juliet reflects the desire to be reciprocated in the affective.
38. The improvisations are best when they are prepared
While improvising can provide a solution to a given problem, it is necessary to know when it is necessary to do so.
39. Grief, more than cordial, is a corrosive to ills that has no cure
Pity, although it may seem well-intentioned, is a harm for the one who causes it that is added to the very element that makes him feel.
40. I know of a thousand illustrious men who have flattered the people without ever making themselves loved by them, and of a thousand others whom the people have loved without explaining why.
The affection that people arouse does not have to be derived from their actions, it may be due to causes various such as identification with them, their deep motivations or their way of proceed. What's more, love cannot be bought or forced.
41. Cowards die many times before their true death; the brave taste death only once
The one who does not dare to live is limited to survive and is constantly frustrated, while the one who acts will manage to live a more or less full life.
42. Learning is a simple appendage to ourselves; wherever we are, our learning is also
What we learn throughout life always accompanies us, allowing us to act or have more resources to face new or familiar situations.
- You may be interested: "The 13 types of learning: what are they?"
43. Anyone can master suffering, except those who feel it
Advice can be easy to give, and most people seem to think that other people's problems can be better handled or mostly solved with simplicity, but they are not able to see all the aspects that affect the situation of the person who suffers it. Those who suffer may not be able to overcome their suffering.
44. Have more than you show; speak less than you know
In this sentence Shakspeare recommends prudence and discretion, so that we can have resources that others do not expect and we can resolve unforeseen situations.
45. He who takes twenty years off his life, takes away as many from fear of death
Whoever pretends to be younger than he is is often afraid of growing old and dying, a fear that can consume him more and more as time goes by.
46. Our doubts are traitors that make us lose what we could often gain, by fearing to try
Indecision and fear can lead us not to act, so that it is impossible to achieve what we could achieve if we had acted.
47. It is so impossible to fan the fire with snow, as to put out the fire of love with words
Words are not enough to alter people's feelings, especially when they are of great intensity. Feelings such as love do not act logically or in a calculated and controlled way, but go beyond rationality.
48. Beware of the bonfire that you light against your enemy, lest you scorch yourself
The actions of one person against another can be turned against the first with great ease, whether it is on the part of the aggrieved person or on the part of bystanders. For example, someone who tries to harm someone else's image may end up making the dirty image their own by trying to harm others.
49. Mercy that forgives criminals is murderous
This phrase indicates that not everything can be forgiven. Have compassion of someone who treats us badly will lead to her having the opportunity to do it again and not learning the consequences of her actions.
50. The old distrust the youth because they have been young
Although this is not always true, in general, the elderly have lived longer and had more experience than the young. They have been themselves, so they have an idea of what it means to be.
51. Who rises too close to the sun with golden wings melts them
Based on the myth of Icarus, this phrase proposes that excess of ambition can degenerate into the loss of everything you have.
52. Do not litter the fountain where you have quenched your thirst
This phrase pushes us to be grateful and not to damage what we have relied on or supported us to continue.
53. Gold, the most fatal poison to the soul of men and the cause of more deaths in this abominable world than any forbidden poison.
Greed and money are aspects that have motivated human beings to cause great misfortunes to benefit themselves.
54. Everyone loves life, but the brave and honest man appreciates honor more
The word given and loyalty to what we believe are fundamental elements that can sometimes be placed above even survival itself.
55. Anger is a fiery horse; if it is given free rein it is soon exhausted by an excess of burning
Anger and anger are emotions that arise in an explosive way but that usually have a short duration if their expression is allowed.
56. Losing sleep, which unravels the intricate web of pain; sleep, rest from all fatigue, food the sweetest that is served at the table of life
This phrase, part of the plot of Macbeth, reflects the need for rest as a pleasure and an element that allows us to avoid pain.
57. Violent pleasures end in violence and have their own death in their triumph, just as fire and gunpowder are consumed in a voracious kiss.
What is achieved with violence ends with violence.
- Related article: "The 11 types of violence (and the different types of aggression)"
58. Whoever leaves the hive does not deserve to like honey because bees have stingers
This phrase speaks of the need to have the courage to pursue your own dreams. If we do not dare for fear of the consequences, we will not deserve to achieve them by not taking risks for them.
59. strong reasons, make strong actions
The biggest actions come from intense motivations.
60. Curses never go beyond the lips that utter them
That someone wishes us evil does not have to affect us. It is the one who wishes others badly who will experience discomfort.
61. The man who is not moved by the chord of harmonious sounds is capable of all kinds of betrayals, stratagems and depravities.
Art has always been linked to emotion. Being able to be moved by a song implies that there is a certain level of sensitivity, of seeing the good and beautiful in life and in others.
- Related article: "Stendhal syndrome: extreme emotions before beauty"
62. Laughs at the scars who have never felt a wound
Experiencing something gives us a better understanding of what it implies, while those who have never experienced it may have a lesser capacity to understand what that something implies.
63. Do not fear greatness; some are born great, some achieve greatness, some greatness is imposed on them and others greatness is great
Greatness is an abstract concept that may or may not come to us, but it should not be feared in others or in oneself.
64. Hell is empty, all the demons are here
This phrase reflects that evil and good are concepts that human beings have created. It reflects the cruelty and greed prevailing in part of society.
65. It is very poor love that can be evaluated
In the same way as with happiness, this phrase indicates that if we are able to evaluate something it means that we can see it from the outside. That is, we have stopped feeling it subjectively.
66. I wasted my time and now time is wasting me
Our life is not infinite. This phrase does not encourage us to use our time properly before it is too late.
67. Oh mighty love! That sometimes makes a beast a man, and other times, a man a beast
Love can change us to a great extent, making us capable of committing the greatest deeds or the worst atrocities.
68. If you do not remember the slightest madness in which love made you fall, you have not loved
Love makes us be irrational and do things that we generally would not do, just to get closer to the person we love.
- Related article: "Stendhal syndrome: extreme emotions before beauty"
69. Virtue itself cannot escape the blows of slander
Everything we do or even think is interpretable and will be subject to the opinion and criticism of others, no matter how fair and noble the act itself may be.
70. Even virtue itself becomes a vice when it is misapplied
Although things can have a positive and well-intentioned origin, they can lead to acts opposite to what they should be if they are misled. For example, distorted virtue can lead to intolerance, as well as distorted love to possessiveness.
71. Give a word to pain: the pain that does not speak groans in the heart until it breaks
This phrase indicates the importance of expressing suffering And do not keep it to yourself, since it is extremely harmful, does not allow you to fix the situation and can be a cause of long-term frustration.
72. It is an excellent thing to have the strength of a giant, but to use it as a giant is typical of a tyrant.
Power itself is not bad, but it must be applied fairly or it will become abusive and tyrannical.
73. Doubt that the stars are fire, doubt that the sun moves, doubt that the truth is a lie, but never doubt that I love you
Beautiful phrase in which the truthfulness of love towards the loved one is expressed although everything else may be a lie.
74. The greater the talent, in the woman, the greater indocility
A reflection that some may consider something sexist.
75. It's easier to get what you want with a smile than with the tip of the sword
Good manners can take you further than threat.
76. No one admires speed, other than the negligent
About speed, which is often at odds with quality.
77. Keeping something to help me remember you would be admitting that I can forget you
There are memories that go beyond the material.
78. Sweet piety is the symbol of true greatness
A magnanimous being always acts with mercy.
79. Don't trust whoever has lost faith
If there is nothing to hold on to, there is nothing to trust.
80. The words are full of falsehood or art; the look is the language of the heart
The look is rarely deceiving.
81. One can smile and smile, being an infamous
Excerpt from Hamlet. Sometimes, the human being can be the opposite of what he shows.
82. He who likes to be flattered is worthy of the flatterer
Neither attitude nor the other are virtuous, according to Shakespeare.
83. Lightness as the air are for the jealous strong confirmations, as a testimony of the sacred scriptures
Any detail can be misinterpreted if we have the cognitive bias of compulsive jealousy.
84. There's no legacy richer than honesty
Nothing of greater value than being honest and honest in everything we do.
85. Assume a virtue if you don't have it
Everything can be learned.
86. Let your eyes go free: see other beauties
Excerpt from Romeo and Juliet.
87. Words without affection will never reach the ears of God
Everything we do without emotion is soulless.
88. I could be encased in a nutshell and feel like king of infinite space
Small fragment of Hamlet. Sometimes freedom is the product of our psyche.
89. The love of the young is not in the heart, but in the eyes
Another excerpt from Romeo and Juliet. It probably alludes to the carnal passion that floods the loves of youth.
90. If money goes ahead, all roads open
Unfortunately, money is the language that everyone understands.