As much as I love “Exit, pursued by a bear,” I think it overshadows a few of Shakespeare’s other wonderfully weird stage directions. For example, Richard III features this peach of a stage direction before Richard receives Hastings’ severed head:

“Enter GLOUCESTER and BUCKINGHAM, in rotten armour, marvellous ill-favoured]”

Like, for a guy who seldom bothers who write stage directions, he takes the time to specify that not only is their armor rotten, they look bad in it.

I also like “He goeth down” from Romeo and Juliet.

Practical Shakespeare Quotes

Do you want to quote more Shakespeare in your life but never find opportunities to say “brevity is the soul of wit”? Do you rarely hang below balconies exchanging love vows with the daughter of your enemy? This is just the list for you.

“What an ass am I!”
Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2

“I am not a slut,”
As You Like It, Act 3, Scene 3
(Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here,”
The Tempest, Act 1, Scene 2

“Commit the oldest sins the newest kind of ways,”
Henry IV Part 2, Act 4, Scene 5

“This is the excellent foppery of the world,”

King Lear, Act 1, Scene 2

“Making the beast with two backs,”
Othello, Act 1, Scene 1

“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

“To tell thee plain, I aim to lie with thee,”
Henry VI Part 3, Act 3, Scene 2
(Works great for courting hot widows.)

“I would rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me,”
Much Ado About Nothing, Act 1, Scene 1

“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me,”
Richard II, Act 5, Scene 5

“Marry, sir, in her buttocks.”
A Comedy of Errors, Act 2, Scene 5
(No judgement here.)

“My horse is my mistress,”
Henry V, Act 3, Scene 7
(Uh, there might be something wrong with that.)

“Thou dost infect my eyes,”
Richard III, Act 1, Scene 2

“Better a witty fool, than a foolish wit,”
Twelfth Night, Act 1, Scene 5
(“Wit” is Shakespearean slang for penis.)

“[Wine] provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance,”
Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 3

“I had rather live with cheese and garlic in a windmill, far, than feed on cates and have him talk to me in any summer-house in Christendom,”
Henry IV Part 2, Act 4 Scene 1

“Now, gods, stand up for bastards!”
King Lear, Act 1, Scene 2

“Villain, I have done thy mother!”
Titus Andronicus, Act 4, Scene 2
(This means exactly what you think it does.)

“And thou unfit for any place but hell,”
Richard III, Act 1, Scene 2

“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers,”
Henry VI Part 2, Act 4, Scene 2

“Heaven truly knows that thou art false as hell.”
Othello, Act 4, Scene 2

“Out, dunghill!”
King John, Act 4, Scene 3

“This is too long.”
Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2

9

A Song of Ice and Fire + The War of the Roses

4

In a last minute change of plan Benedict Cumberbatch now IS listed as/expected to be attending the BAFTA’s this Sunday!! (Where he’s nominated as best actor for The Hollow Crown: Richard III)

You can watch the red carpet live on the BAFTA Facebook page from 4.30pm & tune in for the ceremony from 8pm on BBC One 😊🌟

I like to imagine that Shakespeare had terrible insomnia, because so many of his characters seem to proceed down their horrid paths under the influence of extreme sleep deprivation. I can just see the dude lying there going, “Ugh… So tired, I could just, like, KILL A KING, y'know?… 😏Sayyy, that gives me an idea!” and then he spends like the next three hours in bed with his mind racing with increasingly zany and complex ideas, being like, “oh, and there’s witches!” Or “I think someone should get eaten by a random bear.”

I am, of course, projecting.