Possibly the greatest poet, dramatist, and writer in literary history, William Shakespeare is a national hero in England. Often called “The Bard of Avon”, he created works that have captured the hearts and minds of generations for more than four hundred years. His comedies, tragedies and historical dramas always capture the audience’s imagination. Many theater actors consider playing in Macbeth or Hamlet the highlights of their careers. This assortment of profound William Shakespeare quotes will show you his depth of understanding human beings.
Aside from his work as a writer and actor, Shakespeare was, less famously, also a businessman. Together with his partners and colleagues, he built a large theater, called The Globe in 1599, and made various investments in real estate throughout his life. With the time and money he earned from his business ventures, William Shakespeare was free to work on his plays and poems without distractions. Even though the high class of society in Elizabethan England usually looked down on theater, many nobles attended the plays and befriended the actors. This provided Shakespeare and his partners great opportunities to perform in front of prestigious audiences.
His most famous works include Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, Henry VI, Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. William Shakespeare crafted most of his writings from 1589 to 1613, in the genres of historical drama, comedy, romance, and tragicomedy.
Because we know very little about his personal life – mostly from his own works and church and court records, there are many questions about him. Many scholars dispute if Shakespeare even wrote his plays, while others claim he is a made-up figure or a pseudonym for the true writer.
Regardless of the truth about his life, William Shakespeare managed to capture human conflicts and emotions with his timeless plays.
To get a glimpse of the mind behind the great literature, take a close look at our selection of William Shakespeare quotes:
26 Awe-Inspiring William Shakespeare Quotes
- “To be, or not to be, that is the question.” – William Shakespeare
- “You are a lover. Borrow Cupid’s wings and soar with them above a common bound.” – William Shakespeare
- “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” – William Shakespeare
- “Don’t waste your love on somebody who doesn’t value it.” – William Shakespeare
- “Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” – William Shakespeare
- “The course of true love never did run smooth.” – William Shakespeare Quotes
- “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” – William Shakespeare
- “There is no darkness but ignorance.” – William Shakespeare
- “The very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.” – William Shakespeare
- “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – William Shakespeare
- “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” – William Shakespeare
- “They do not love that do not show their love.” – William Shakespeare
- “If we are true to ourselves, we cannot be false to anyone.” – William Shakespeare
- “How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” – William Shakespeare
- “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” – William Shakespeare
- “In time we hate that which we often fear.” – William Shakespeare Quotes
- “Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.” – William Shakespeare
- “God hath given you one face, and you make yourself another.” – William Shakespeare
- “No legacy is so rich as honesty.” – William Shakespeare
- “Be great in act, as you have been in thought.” – William Shakespeare
- “God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.” – William Shakespeare
- “Sit by my side, and let the world slip: we shall ne’er be younger.” – William Shakespeare
See also: 20 Leo Tolstoy Quotes You Must Read
- “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” – William Shakespeare
- “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, his acts being seven ages.” – William Shakespeare Quotes
- “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” – William Shakespeare
- “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.” – William Shakespeare
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