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

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.

How to flirt Shakespeare Style:
  • write sonnets for your beloved
  • disguise as a teacher to be near to your beloved
  • elope with your love in a fairy wood
  • shame her in front of the wedding party
  • murder Duncan
  • kill your wife’s cousin on your wedding day
  • kill her husband and say you only did it cause she’s pretty
  • kill your wife

Reasons Richard II is a relatable character:

  • Just wants to be loved
  • Problematic™
  • Gay 
  • Cries a lot
  • Likes being fancy and having things
  • Self-perception goes from ‘I’m the most beautiful ever’ to ‘I am Dirt’ and back again

Reasons Henry IV is a relatable character:

  • Lingering sense of dread
  • “It seemed like a good idea at the time”
  • Wants the best for everyone
  • Competent but ultimately dismayed

Reasons Henry V is a relatable character:

  • Avoids responsibilities 
  • Uncomfortable family life
  • Just wants to go out and party with his friends is that too much to ask
  • Pretends he absolutely 100% knows what he’s doing
  • Doesn’t

Reasons Henry VI is a relatable character:

  • Bad at everything
  • Sad
  • Wants everyone to be happy (isn’t happy)
  • Does nothing wrong
  • Does nothing right either
  • Didn’t ask for any of this

Reasons Richard III is a relatable character:

  • Monologues about how ugly he is and then gets mad when he’s insulted
  • Doesn’t know how to act normal
  • Jokes about how awful he is 
  • Is actually awful
  • Weird sense of humor
  • Has lots of Ambition

550-year-old hand-written book is signed by Richard III and contains his personal motto. The signed book is one of only 13 of Richard III’s books that is known to still exist. It is especially valuable as he has signed it ‘R Gloucester’ as he was only the Duke of Gloucester as a young man. Above his signature in the book he wrote the words 'Tant le desieree’, which means 'So much desired’.

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.