How now, wit! Whither wander you?
William Shakespeare (baptized April 26, 1564 - died April 23, 1616) was an English poet and playwright widely regarded as the greatest writer of the English language, and the world's preeminent dramatist. He wrote approximately 38 plays and 154 sonnets, as well as a variety of other poems. Already a popular writer in his own lifetime, Shakespeare became increasingly celebrated after his death and his work adulated by numerous prominent cultural figures through the centuries. He is often considered to be England's national poet and is sometimes referred to as the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard") or the "Swan of Avon".
Orthodox scholars believe Shakespeare produced most of his work between 1586 and 1612, although the exact dates and chronology of the plays attributed to him are under considerable debate, as is the authorship of the works attributed to him. He is counted among the very few playwrights who have excelled in both tragedy and comedy, and his plays combine popular appeal with complex characterization, poetic grandeur and philosophical depth.
Shakespeare's works have been translated into every major living language, and his plays are continually performed all around the world. In addition, Shakespeare is the most quoted writer in the literature and history of the English-speaking world, and many of his quotations and neologisms have passed into everyday usage in English and other languages.
William Shakespeare: Overview
Favorite Play: Much Ado About Nothing
Least Favorite Play: Macbeth
Favorite Lines: "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun." "The quality of mercy is not strain'd." "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet."
Have Seen or Read All The Plays? No
Favorite Modern References? Shakespeare in Love, the Moonlighting episode "Atomic Shakespeare," and Sonnet 130 figures prominently in a great scene from My So-Called Life
Verdict: Casual Fan or Big-Time Fangirl? Casual Fan
- Quotes -
As Shakespeare once said...
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.
From Sonnet 130
"To be or not to be - that is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?"
From Hamlet (III, i, 56-61)
"O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?"
From Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 33)
"Et tu, Brute?"
From Julius Caesar (III, i, 77)
"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,
From Macbeth (V, v, 19)
"Out, damned spot! out, I say!"
From Macbeth (V, i, 38)
"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,
His acts being seven ages."
From As You Like It (II, vii, 139-143)
"Oh, I am fortune's fool!"
From Romeo and Juliet (III, i, 141)
"Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow."
From Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 185)
"But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun."
From Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)
"My words fly up, my thoughts remain below: Words without thoughts never to heaven go."
From Hamlet (III, iii, 100-103)
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet."
From Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)
"The quality of mercy is not strain'd.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath.
It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes."
From Merchant of Venice (IV, I, (184-186)
"Now is the winter of our discontent."
From King Richard III (I, i, 1)
"Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
Which we ascribe to Heaven."
From All's Well That Ends Well (I, i, 231-232)
"Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy."
From Hamlet (V, i, 203-204)
"The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils."
From The Merchant of Venice (V, i, 83-85)
- Lessons Learned -
What can we learn from this guy?
* A good deed shines in a weary world.
* A rose smells good no matter what you call it.
* All that glisters is not gold.
* Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.
* Be not afraid of greatness; some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.
* Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
* Beauty is all very well at first sight; but whoever looks at it when it has been in the house three days?
* Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.
* Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.
* Brevity is the soul of wit.
* Children wish fathers looked but with their eyes; fathers that children with their judgment looked; and either may be wrong.
* Come what come may, time and hour runs through the roughest day.
* Confusion now hath made his masterpiece!
* Conscience does make cowards of us all.
* Cowards die many times before their deaths.
* Cudgel thy brains no more about it.
* Discretion is the better part of valor.
* Everyone ought to bear patiently the results of his own conduct.
* False face must hide what the false heart doth know.
* Friendship is constant in all other things save in the office and affairs of love.
* Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.
* Have more than thou showest, speak less than thou knowest, lend less than thou owest.
* How poor are they that have not patience!
* If all the year were playing holidays, to sport would be as tedious as to work.
* If you have tears, prepare to shed them.
* It is possible to have a method to your madness.
* Listen to many, speak to a few.
* Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.
* Love is blind.
* Love looks not with eyes, but with the mind.
* Love sought is good, but given unsought, is better.
* Men of few words are the best men.
* Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtues we write in water.
* Mind your speech a little lest you should mar your fortunes.
* Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.
* Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise.
* Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
* Of all base passions, fear is the most accursed.
* Oftentimes excusing of a fault doth make the fault the worse by the excuse.
* One can love not wisely but well.
* One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
* Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.
* Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie.
* Poor and content is rich, and rich enough.
* Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.
* Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.
* Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind: The thief doth fear each bush an officer.
* Talking isn't doing. It is a kind of good deed to say well; and yet words are not deeds.
* The attempt and not the deed confounds us.
* The course of true love never did run smooth.
* The Earth has music for those who listen.
* The fool doth think himself wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
* The object of art is to give life a shape.
* There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.
* There is such a thing as protesting too much.
* They do not love that do not show their love.
* This above all: to thine own self be true.
* 'Tis best to weigh the enemy more mighty than he seems.
* 'Tis not enough to help the feeble up, but to support them after.
* Though I am not naturally honest, I am so sometimes by chance.
* To be or not to be - that is a question?
* Violent delights have violent ends.
* Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful.
* We know what we are, but we know not what we may be.
* What fools we mortals be.
* What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted!
* What's gone and what's past help should be past grief.
* When words are scarce they are seldom spent in vain.
* While you live, tell the truth, and shame the devil!
- Afterthoughts -
* Trivia: Shakespeare invented over 17,000 words now commonly used in the English language e.g. puke, torture, eyeball, assassination.
* Trivia: His name was also spelled Shakspere, Shaksper, Shaxper, and Shake-speare, due to the fact that spelling in Elizabethan times was not fixed and absolute.
* Trivia: Anne Hathaway was 26 years old when William married her at age 18.
* Trivia: Shakespeare was most closely associated with the Globe Theatre.
* Trivia: Suicide occurs an unlucky thirteen times in Shakespeare's plays.
* Trivia: The most insulting Shakespeare insult has been voted to be 'you bull's pizzle.'
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