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51 Beautiful Shakespeare Quotes (Comedies & Tragedies)

There is no simple or easy place to start talking about William Shakespeare; a man widely regarded as the greatest writer and wordsmith of the English language, and possibly beyond.

shakespeare quotes

Shakespeare’s plays and poetry remain as popular today as they ever have been, and much of that is down to his mastery of language and expression. Shakespeare quotes are special.

We quote Shakespeare often without even knowing it, so stitched into our language and everyday experiences are his words. They have lasted lifetimes and will continue to do so.

To celebrate his legacy, his ability to express thought and feeling through comedy and tragedy, and his mastery over the English language, here are some of the best Shakespeare quotes.

Here, you’ll find a wide selection of Shakespeare quotes from his comedies, tragedies, histories, and a select handful of sonnets.

These are Shakespeare quotes to remind you of the beauty of his stories and characters, and to inspire you in your everyday life.

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Shakespeare Quotes (Comedies)

Shakespeare’s comedies, generally defined by their happy endings and emphasis on love and marriage, offer us levity, humour, and sweet feelings.

These are some of the most memorable and imaginative Shakespeare quotes from his best-loved comedy plays.

Read More: Inspiring Oscar Wilde Quotes

william shakespeare

“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;

And therefore is wing’d Cupid painted blind.

Nor hath love’s mind of any judgment taste;

Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste:

And therefore is love said to be a child,

Because in choice he is so oft beguil’d.”

— A Midsummer Night’s Dream

“Though she be but little, she is fierce!”

— A Midsummer Night’s Dream

“Lord, what fools these mortals be!”

— A Midsummer Night’s Dream

“And yet,to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays.”

— A Midsummer Night’s Dream

“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”

— Twelfth Night

“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”

— The Merchant of Venice

“You speak an infinite deal of nothing.”

— The Merchant of Venice

“I am a Jew. Hath

not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs,

dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with

the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject

to the same diseases, healed by the same means,

warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as

a Christian is? 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? If we are like you in the rest, we will

resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian,

what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian

wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by

Christian example? Why, revenge. The villany you

teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I

will better the instruction.”

— The Merchant of Venice

“They do not love that do not show their love.”

— Two Gentlemen of Verona

“Our doubts are traitors,

and make us lose the good we oft might win,

by fearing to attempt.”

— Measure for Measure

“I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow, than a man swear he loves me.”

— Much Ado About Nothing

“I can see he’s not in your good books,’ said the messenger.

‘No, and if he were I would burn my library.”

— Much Ado About Nothing

“Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more.

Men were deceivers ever,

One foot in sea, and one on shore,

To one thing constant never.

Then sigh not so, but let them go,

And be you blithe and bonny,

Converting all your sounds of woe

Into hey nonny, nonny.

Sing no more ditties, sing no more

Of dumps so dull and heavy.

The fraud of men was ever so

Since summer first was leafy.

Then sigh not so, but let them go,

And be you blithe and bonny,

Converting all your sounds of woe

Into hey, nonny, nonny.”

— Much Ado About Nothing

“My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or else my heart concealing it will break.”

— The Taming of the Shrew

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

— As You Like It

“Love all, trust a few,

Do wrong to none: be able for thine enemy

Rather in power than use; and keep thy friend

Under thy own life’s key: be check’d for silence,

But never tax’d for speech.”

— All’s Well That Ends Well

Shakespeare Quotes (Tragedies)

shakespeares tragedies

Many of the best Shakespeare quotes come from his tragedies, and most of his most celebrated plays are tragedies.

We so fondly remember lines spoken by titular characters like Romeo, Juliet, Hamlet, and Macbeth.

Faulted and doomed characters who speak such beautiful tragedy and they talk about love, friendship, fate, war, cruelty, family, and so much more.

The Bard really expressed so much beauty through his tragedies, and these Shakespeare quotes exemplify that perfectly.

“When he shall die,

Take him and cut him out in little stars,

And he will make the face of heaven so fine

That all the world will be in love with night

And pay no worship to the garish sun.”

— Romeo and Juliet

“These violent delights have violent ends

And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,

Which as they kiss consume. The sweetest honey

Is loathsome in his own deliciousness

And in the taste confounds the appetite.

Therefore love moderately; long love doth so;

Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.”

— Romeo and Juliet

“Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.”

— Romeo and Juliet

“Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow,

That I shall say good night till it be morrow.”

— Romeo and Juliet

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet.”

— Romeo and Juliet

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

— Julius Caesar

“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.”

— Julius Caesar

“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,

To the last syllable of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. 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.”

— Macbeth

“Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires.”

— Macbeth

“Look like the innocent flower,

But be the serpent under it.”

— Macbeth

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”

— Macbeth

“By the pricking of my thumbs,

Something wicked this way comes.”

— Macbeth

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

— Hamlet

“Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.”

— Hamlet

“Doubt thou the stars are fire;

Doubt that the sun doth move;

Doubt truth to be a liar;

But never doubt I love.”

— Hamlet

“To die, – To sleep, – 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;”

— Hamlet

“This above all: 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

“There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

— Hamlet

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

— The Tempest

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”

— The Tempest

“What’s past is prologue.”

— The Tempest

“In time we hate that which we often fear.”

— Antony and Cleopatra

“The breaking of so great a thing should make

A greater crack: the round world

Should have shook lions into civil streets,

And citizens to their dens.”

— Antony and Cleopatra

Read More: Iconic Jane Austen Quotes

Shakespeare Quotes (Histories)

globe theatre

Shakespeare’s histories are less well-known and well-remembered than his comedies and tragedies.

Even his historical plays that are well remembered — Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra — are actually designated Shakespearean tragedies, not histories.

That said, there is beauty in everything The Bard ever wrote, regardless of what plays we’re reading or watching.

For that reason, his histories shouldn’t be overlooked (especially Richard III and Henry V). So, here are some wonderful and memorable Shakespeare quotes from his history plays.

“Now is the winter of our discontent

Made glorious summer by this sun of York;

And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house

In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.”

— Richard III

“A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!”

— Richard III

“The better part of valour is discretion; in the which better part I have saved my life.”

— Henry IV (Part 1)

“I kiss thee with a most constant heart.”

— Henry IV (Part 2)

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;

Or close the wall up with our English dead.”

— Henry V

“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

— Henry VI (Part 2)

“Presume not that I am the thing I was;

For God doth know, so shall the world perceive,

That I have turn’d away my former self;

So will I those that kept me company.”

— Henry VI (Part 2)

Shakespeare Quotes (Sonnets)


Shakespeare’s sonnets, each of which consists of fourteen lines, are best enjoyed in their entirety, in order to fully understand their context and enjoy their beauty.

That said, if you need some inspiration, here are a few beautiful Shakespeare quotes from his sonnets to whet your appetite for more. Read, and enjoy.

“Love is not love

Which alters when it 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.”

— Sonet 116

“For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings

That then I scorn to change my state with kings.”

— Sonnet 29

“So are you to my thoughts as food to life,

Or as sweet-seasoned showers are to the ground.”

— Sonnet 75

“This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,

To love that well which thou must leave ere long.”

— Sonnet 73

“And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.”

— Sonnet 130

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