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Shakespeare Quotes That Resonate

Updated on September 25, 2012

Have you ever met a person who has a quote for every event that happens in life, whether big or small? I have met a few in my day. These people seemingly remember endless quotations from all manner of authors and apply it to every situation whether it be happy or sad, meaningful or seemingly insignificant. I used to wonder, how did those quotations come to their mind that quickly but then I realized of myself that when certain things happened, I too remembered quotes, I just don't say them out loud but marvel about them inwardly.

Shakespeare has a slew of unforgettable quotes and some of them more than others are usable far more than they should be. I have found it is the quotes which speak of hurt that come to mind most and are most applicable for every day use. We do live in a world where hurts abound, do we not? Sometimes a quote is so precise that it works or expresses better than our own words can. It is like the author, in this case William Shakespeare, from his time reached forward and dipped into my heart, to use the juices of my soul to write his poetry and prose.

"How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is To have a thankless child!"

What a quotation! Taken from King Lear, Act One Scene Four, it summarizes the sharp sting one feels when a child is truly ungrateful. It always comes as a surprise and the wound runs deep. It is unforgettable. How many times have I received this wound? Thankfully not many, but presently it afflicts me and I am still in shock and pain from its merciless sting. Children can be as serpents- beautiful yet deadly with their hurtful words to those who would wish them best. I have felt this thanklessness firsthand and it is a bitter thing to swallow.

"There's daggers in men's smiles."

This quote taken from Macbeth Act Two Scene Three reminds one of the betrayals one can face through this life. Life is not all bitter, please do not misunderstand but men have the bad habit of living for themselves and though they smile with you there is war in their hearts. I have known people to step on all those in their way with nary a glance back, content to trample those who would hold them back or would cause them to have a twinge of conscience. It goes hand in hand with his line in Hamlet "Et tu Brute?" meaning "You too Brutus?" A man's worst enemy could be his best friend. To be wounded in the house of a friend is worse than to be run through with the sword of an enemy.

"This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man."

Taken from Hamlet Act One Scene Three it is a reminder to use all to refrain from becoming liars. It is a warning to those who would wish to be false in every way and yet the false do not see the truth, rather they make their own truth. More and more I see people believing their own lies. Lies as simple as the date of their birthday ( I do not exaggerate) until it becomes a part of them and they are incredible to witness in action. They are truly a show to be seen.

"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.."

Taken from As You Like It Act Two Scene Seven, it brings to mind the many who act out their roles in life rather woodenly. Or what about those who are so sure that they are not puppets acting out a scene that was foreordained. Those who think that they are in control and die thinking so.

Four small quotes that hold a world of meaning. There are others for certain, but today these are the four that are foremost in my mind. Perhaps another day the rose which smells as sweet and the sun which rises in the east will resonate as the events in my play turn to a lighter side.



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    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      6 years ago from The World (for now)

      Hi justmesuzanne,

      Do you know that I have never watched one of those modern movies. I always thought that they would take away from the beauty of the language used in the plays. I might try one now that you have said they are good. Thanks for the vote and the comment!

    • justmesuzanne profile image


      6 years ago from Texas

      I have been impressed by some of the modern movies that simply use the original plays and set them in modern times. It's amazing how well they play and how clear they are. Voted up and awesome! :)

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      7 years ago from The World (for now)

      Hi Truckstop Sally!

      I have never read that book, it sounds interesting! The serpent's tooth quote is so apt isn't it? Shakespeare had a way of saying things that really hit the nail on the head.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and reading! I will be sure to check out that book!

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 

      7 years ago

      Nice hub!

      Are you familiar with the young adult novel Search for the Shadowman by Joan Lowery Nixon? A big clue is uncovered when someone discovers the "How sharper than a serpent's tooth" quote on a tombstone.

    • Silver Poet profile image

      Silver Poet 

      7 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

      I haven't read as much Shakespeare as I'd like. Thanks for these useful quotes.


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