20 Great Quotes From Shakespeare’s Plays That Stood The Test Of Time


William Shakespeare is a name that needs no introduction. Even if you have not read any of Shakespeare’s plays, you must have heard about him. Such is his influence over literature. Some of his quotes are beautiful, some are full of wisdom. That is why it still rings with us. William Shakespeare was born in 1564 in England. He is often regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s greatest dramatist. Some of his quotes from his plays are given below. Here is the list of the 20 greatest quotes from Shakespeare’s plays that endured the test of time.


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1. “To be, or not to be: that is the question” (Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1)

Moaning about the pain and unfairness of life. But the opposite might be worse.

2. “All the world’s a stage, and all 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, Act 2, Scene 7)

The world is like a stage show. And human beings are merely actors.

3. “Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand?” (Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 1)

The dagger represents the bloody course Macbeth is about to embark on.

4. “If music be the food of love play on” (Twelfth Night, Act 1, Scene 1)

An overabundance of love so that they may lose the appetite for it.

5. “What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” (Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2)

Love surpasses every social construct that is thought to be an obstacle: Cast, race, religion etc.

6. “All that glitters is not gold” (The Merchant of Venice, Act 2, Scene 7)

Shakespearean version of don’t judge a book by its cover.

7. “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears: I come to bury Caesar not to praise him” (Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 2)

One of the most exciting plot points in Shakespeare’s plays.

8. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy” (Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 5)

Human knowledge is limited. Stay humble. Always.

9. “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” (Henry IV, Part 2, Act 3, Scene 1)

With great power comes great responsibility.

10. “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them” (Twelfth Night, Act 2, Scene 5)

Some people are born into power, some work for it and some are forced to accept it.


11. “Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.” (Julius Caesar, Act 2, Scene 5)

Who run from their fears without facing them dies metaphorical deaths.

12. “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.” (King Lear, Act 1, Scene 4)

Nothing is more painful than raising an ungrateful child.

13. “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, Act 5, Scene 5)

Nihilistic look towards life. Which, to be honest, is technically correct.

14. “Et tu Brute? Then fall, Caesar.” (Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 1)

Betrayal never comes from enemies.

15. “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” (Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2)

Shakespeare challenges our conditioning where we are taught to label certain events as good and certain events as bad.

16. “Nothing will come of nothing” (King Lear, Act 1, Scene 1)

If you invest nothing, you will gain nothing.

17. “The course of true love never did run smooth.” (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 1, Scene 1)

Difficulties and hurdles are always a part of true love.

18. “Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.” (Twelfth Night, Act 3, Scene 1)

Asking someone to give you love and affection is good. But having someone give you love and affection without you asking, is even better.

19. “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” (As You Like It, Act 5, Scene 1)

One of the greatest quotes from Shakespeare. It means, a fool thinks they are wise, that is why they remain a fool. Whereas, a wise person thinks of themselves as a fool.

20. “The miserable have no other medicine but only hope” (Measure for Measure, Act 3, Scene 1)

Hope, is a dangerous thing.

Do you know other greatest quotes from Shakespeare’s plays that we might have missed? Let us know in the comments.

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