How to talk like Shakespeare

April 23, 2009 (CHICAGO) Sonnet 18

"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer's lease hath all too short a date".


"To be, or not to be: that is the question". - (Act III, Scene I).

"Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry". - (Act I, Scene III).

"This above all: to thine own self be true". - (Act I, Scene III).

"Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't.". - (Act II, Scene II).

"That it should come to this!". - (Act I, Scene II).

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so". - (Act II, Scene II).

"What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals! ". - (Act II, Scene II).

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks". - (Act III, Scene II).

"In my mind's eye". - (Act I, Scene II).

"A little more than kin, and less than kind". - (Act I, Scene II).

"The play 's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king". - (Act II, Scene II).

"And it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man". - (Act I, Scene III)."This is the very ecstasy of love". - (Act II, Scene I).

"Brevity is the soul of wit". - (Act II, Scene II).

"Doubt that the sun doth move, doubt truth to be a liar, but never doubt I love". - (Act II, Scene II).

"Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind". - (Act III, Scene I).

"Do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe?" - (Act III, Scene II).

"I will speak daggers to her, but use none". - (Act III, Scene II).

"When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions". - (Act IV, Scene V).

As You Like It

"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" - (Act II, Scene VII).

"Can one desire too much of a good thing?". - (Act IV, Scene I).

"I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - (Act II, Scene IV).

"How bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man's eyes!" - (Act V, Scene II).

"Blow, blow, thou winter wind! Thou art not so unkind as man's ingratitude".(Act II, Scene VII).

"True is it that we have seen better days". - (Act II, Scene VII).

"For ever and a day". - (Act IV, Scene I).

"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool". - (Act V, Scene I).

King Richard III

"Now is the winter of our discontent". - (Act I, Scene I).

"A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!". - (Act V, Scene IV).

"Conscience is but a word that cowards use, devised at first to keep the strong in awe". - (Act V, Scene III).

"So wise so young, they say, do never live long". - (Act III, Scene I).

"Off with his head!" - (Act III, Scene IV).

"An honest tale speeds best, being plainly told". - (Act IV, Scene IV).

"The king's name is a tower of strength". - (Act V, Scene III).

"The world is grown so bad, that wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch". - (Act I, Scene III).

Romeo and Juliet

"O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?". - (Act II, Scene II).

"It is the east, and Juliet is the sun" . - (Act II, Scene II).

"Good Night, Good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow." - (Act II, Scene II).

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet". - (Act II, Scene II).

"Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast". - (Act II, Scene III).

"Tempt not a desperate man". - (Act V, Scene III).

"For you and I are past our dancing days" . - (Act I, Scene V). "O! she doth teach the torches to burn bright". - (Act I, Scene V).

"It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear" . - (Act I, Scene V).

"See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand! O that I were a glove upon that hand, that I might touch that cheek!". - (Act II, Scene II).

"Not stepping o'er the bounds of modesty". - (Act IV, Scene II).

King Henry the Sixth, Part II

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers". - (Act IV, Scene II).

"Small things make base men proud". - (Act IV, Scene I).

"True nobility is exempt from fear". - (Act IV, Scene I).

King Henry the Sixth, Part III

"Having nothing, nothing can he lose".- (Act III, Scene III).

Taming of the Shrew

"I 'll not budge an inch". - (Induction, Scene I).

Julius Caesar

"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him". - (Act III, Scene II).

"But, for my own part, it was Greek to me". - (Act I, Scene II).

"A dish fit for the gods". - (Act II, Scene I).

"Cry "Havoc," and let slip the dogs of war". - (Act III, Scene I).

"Et tu, Brute!" - (Act III, Scene I).

"Men at some time are masters of their fates: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings". - (Act I, Scene II).

"Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more". - (Act III, Scene II).

"Beware the ides of March". - (Act I, Scene II).

"This was the noblest Roman of them all". - (Act V, Scene V).

"When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept: Ambition should be made of sterner stuff". - (Act III, Scene II).

"Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous". (Act I, Scene II).

"For Brutus is an honourable man; So are they all, all honourable men". - (Act III, Scene II).

"As he was valiant, I honor him; but, as he was ambitious, I slew him" . - (Act III, Scene II).

"Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once. Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, it seems to me most strange that men should fear; Seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come". - (Act II, Scene II).


"There 's daggers in men's smiles". - (Act II, Scene III).

"What 's done is done".- (Act III, Scene II).

"I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more is none". - (Act I, Scene VII).

"Fair is foul, and foul is fair". - (Act I, Scene I).

"I bear a charmed life". - (Act V, Scene VIII).

"Yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o' the milk of human kindness." - (Act I, Scene V).

"Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red" - (Act II, Scene II).

"Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble." - (Act IV, Scene I).

"Out, damned spot! out, I say!" - (Act V, Scene I)..

"All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand." - (Act V, Scene I).

"When shall we three meet again in thunder, lightning, or in rain? When the hurlyburly 's done, When the battle 's lost and won". - (Act I, Scene I).

"If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me". - (Act I, Scene III).

"Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it; he died as one that had been studied in his death to throw away the dearest thing he owed, as 't were a careless trifle". - (Act I, Scene IV).

"Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under 't." - (Act I, Scene V).

"I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself, and falls on the other." - (Act I, Scene VII).

"Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand?" - (Act II, Scene I).

"Out, out, brief candle! 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." - (Act V, Scene V).

(Quotations gathered from several sources.)

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