Famous Shakespeare Quotes

These famous Shakespeare quotes cover topics from life and living to love, success, and inspiration. Many are so famous we use them in our everyday language—sometimes without even knowing where they came from!

The Best Shakespeare Quotes and Sayings

These quotes cover topics like love, life, success, inspiration, and life lessons. Be sure to also check out the list of famous Shakespeare quotes from plays below.

About love

The course of true love never did run smooth.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

I am one who loved not wisely but too well.
Othello

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Love is not love which alters it when alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove: O no! It is an ever fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken; it is the star to every wandering bark whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken. Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks within his bending sickle’s compass come: Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out, even to the edge of doom. 
Sonnet 116

Shakespeare quotes image

What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
Romeo and Juliet

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Sonnet 18

If music be the food of love play on.
Twelfth Night

Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.
Much Ado About Nothing

Swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circled orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.
Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare quotes about life

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
Hamlet

Lord, what fools these mortals be!
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?
The Merchant of Venice

The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.
Julius Caesar

Shakespeare rose quote

How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child!
King Lear

A man can die but once.
Henry IV

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.
As You Like It

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, signifying nothing.
Macbeth

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
Hamlet

Time shall unfold what plighted cunning hides:
Who cover faults, at last shame them derides.
King Lear

The more pity that fools may not speak wisely what wise men do foolishly.
As You Like It

On life lessons

To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.
Hamlet

Neither a borrower nor a lender be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
Hamlet

The fault, dear Brutus, lies not within the stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Julius Caesar

Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.
The Tempest

Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.
Hamlet

All the world's a stage quote

Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.
Julius Caesar

Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin, as self-neglecting.
Henry V

Brevity is the soul of wit.
Hamlet

The better part of valor is discretion.
Henry IV

Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.
Measure for Measure

Come what come may, time and the hour runs through the roughest day.
Macbeth

Have more than thou showest,
Speak less than thou knowest,
Lend less than thou owest,
Ride more than thou goest,
Learn more than thou trowest,
Set less than thou throwest.
King Lear

Cowards die many times quote

Shakespeare quotes on success

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.
Twelfth Night

Our doubts are traitors,
And make us lose the good we oft might win,
By fearing to attempt.
Measure for Measure

Nothing will come of nothing.
King Lear

All that glitters is not gold.
The Merchant of Venice

Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments.
Sonnet 116

Action is eloquence.
Coriolanus

The robb’d that smiles, steals something from the thief.
Othello

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.
Henry IV

Inspirational quotes

What light through yonder window breaks.
Romeo and Juliet

We know what we are, but know not what we may be.
Hamlet

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Hamlet

To be, or not to be: that is the question.
Hamlet

The miserable have no other medicine, but only hope.
Measure for Measure

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
Sonnet 8

Shakespeare quotes: uneasy lies the head that wears the crown

Most famous Shakespeare quotes

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
Hamlet

Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?
Romeo and Juliet

But, for my own part, it was Greek to me.
Julius Caesar

A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!
Richard III

Now is the winter of our discontent.
Richard III

Beware the Ides of March.
Julius Caesar

Cry “havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war.
Julius Caesar

Lord, what fools these mortals be!
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Famous Shakespeare quotes from plays

Romeo and Juliet

These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder
Which, as they kiss, consume.

Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.

O serpent heart hid with a flowering face!
Did ever a dragon keep so fair a cave?
Beautiful tyrant, fiend angelical, dove feather raven, wolvish-ravening lamb! Despised substance of devinest show, just opposite to what thou justly seemest – A dammed saint, an honourable villain!

Educated men are so impressive!

The sweetest honey is loathsome in its own deliciousness. And in the taste destroys the appetite. Therefore, love moderately.

discontent quote

Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye
Than twenty of their swords: look thou but sweet,
And I am proof against their enmity.

Affliction is enamoured of thy parts, 
And thou art wedded to calamity.

I take thee at thy word:
Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized;
Henceforth I never will be Romeo.

Alas, that love, so gentle in his view, Should be so tyrannous and rough in proof!

VIDEO: What Did Shakespeare Sound Like?

MacBeth – Shakespeare Quotes

All causes shall give way: I am in blood
Stepp’d in so far that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o’er.

I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself
And falls on the other.

Your face, my thane, is as a book where men
May read strange matters. To beguile the time,
Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye,
Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower,
But be the serpent under’t.

And nothing is, but what is not.

Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand?

Eye of newt, and toe of frog, 
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog, 
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting, 
Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,— 
For a charm of powerful trouble, 
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble. 
Double, double toil and trouble; 
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

My dull brain was wrought with things forgotten.

I drink to the general joy o’ the whole table.

So well thy words become thee as thy wounds,
They smack of honor both.

New honors come upon him,
Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mold
But with the aid of use.

Shakespeare love quote from Hamlet

Hamlet

Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.

To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub, for in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause. There’s the respect that makes calamity of so long life.

Conscience doth make cowards of us all.

Sweets to the sweet.

Lord Polonius: What do you read, my lord? 
Hamlet: Words, words, words. 
Lord Polonius: What is the matter, my lord? 
Hamlet: Between who? 
Lord Polonius: I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.

The Play’s the Thing, wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King.

The Merchant of Venice

You speak an infinite deal of nothing.

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.

By my soul I swear, there is no power in the tongue of man to alter me.

Some there be that shadow kiss; Such have but a shadow’s bliss.

Julius Caesar – Shakespeare Quotes

Et tu, Brute?

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars/ But in ourselves.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears: I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

And since you know you cannot see yourself,
so well as by reflection, I, your glass,
will modestly discover to yourself,
that of yourself which you yet know not of.

But men may construe things after their fashion, Clean from the purpose of the things themselves.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Are you sure/That we are awake? It seems to me/That yet we sleep, we dream

Much Ado About Nothing

Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.

I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest.

Tax not so bad a voice to slander music any more than once.

You are thought here to the most senseless and fit man for the job.

O, that he were here to write me down an ass! But, masters, remember, that I am an ass; though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an ass.

Othello – Shakespeare Quotes

Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
’twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him, 
And makes me poor indeed.

Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul But I do love thee! and when I love thee not, Chaos is come again.

When devils will the blackest sins put on
They do suggest at first with heavenly shows.

To be now a sensible man, by and by a fool, and presently a beast!

The Taming of the Shrew

He kills her in her own humor.

She moves me not, or not removes at least affection’s edge in me.

Two Gentlemen of Verona

Thou wouldst as soon go kindle fire with snow as seek to quench the fire of love with words.

The Tempest – Shakespeare Quotes

We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep.

Their manners are more gentle, kind, than of our generation you shall find.

At this hour
Lie at my mercy all mine enemies.

Twelfth Night

Better a witty fool, than a foolish wit.

Antonio: Will you stay no longer? nor will you not that I go with you? 
Sebastian: By your patience, no. My stars shine darkly over me; the malignancy of my fate might, perhaps, distemper yours; therefore I shall crave of you your leave that I may bear my evils alone. It were a bad recompense for your love to lay any of them on you.

Olivia: What’s a drunken man like, fool?
Feste: Like a drowned man, a fool, and a madman: one draught above heat makes him a fool; the second mads him; and a third drowns him.

All’s Well That Ends Well

Who knows himself a braggart, let him fear this, for it will come to pass that every braggart shall be found an ass.

All’s well that ends well.

Love is holy.

Shakespeare fool quote image

As You Like It – Shakespeare Quotes

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

Sweet are the uses of adversity
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.

What would you have? Your gentleness shall force
More than your force move us to gentleness.

O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful! And yet again wonderful, and after that, out of all hooping.

Richard III

Off with his head!

True hope is swift, and flies with swallow’s wings.

And therefore, — since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days, —
I am determined to prove a villain,
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.

Henry IV, Part 1

[Thou] mad mustachio purple-hued maltworms!

Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
Hotspur: Why so can I, or so can any man. But will they come when you do call for them?

Henry IV, Part 2

Thou art a very ragged Wart.

Henry V – Shakespeare Quotes

[Thine] face is not worth sunburning.

Henry: But Kate, dost thou understand thus much English? Canst thou love me?
Catherine: I cannot tell.
Henry: Can any of your neighbours tell, Kate? I’ll ask them.

Henry VI, Part 3

My Crown is in my heart, not on my head:
Not deck’d with Diamonds, and Indian stones:
Nor to be seen: my Crown is call’d Content,
A Crown it is, that seldom Kings enjoy.

Titus Andronicus

If one good deed in all my life I did, 
I do repent it from my very soul.

Measure for Measure

Life… is a paradise to what we fear of death.

Coriolanus – Shakespeare Quotes

They lie deadly that tell you have good faces.

Let me have war, say I: it exceeds peace as far as day does night; it’s spritely, waking, audible, and full of vent. Peace is a very apoplexy, lethargy; mulled, deaf, sleepy, insensible; a getter of more bastard children than war’s a destroyer of men.

These are the ushers of Martius: before him
He carries noise, and behind him he leaves tears.
Death, that dark spirit, in’s nervy arm doth lie,
Which being advanc’d, declines, and then men die.

Love’s Labour’s Lost

They are the books, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain and nourish all the world.

How to use these famous Shakespeare quotes and sayings

You may recognize many of these famous Shakespeare quotes from everyday language. Others are not as well-known. Here are some ideas on how to incorporate them into your daily life:

  • New Year’s Eve cheers and toasts
  • Tattoos to express meaningful thoughts and inspirations
  • Farewell messages to friends and workmates
  • Shakespeare quotes make clever captions for social media apps like Instagram, SnapChat, and Whatsapp
  • Everyday life – Impress your friends or drop Shakespearean references in conversations
  • Zoom calls – Make a statement by quoting The Bard in your next video conference
  • Try something new – Start your day with an inspirational Shakespeare quote to get you going

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