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Shakespeare's most memorable quotes

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Despite the fact that his plays were written 400 years ago, there's still a lot we can learn from William Shakespeare. From affairs of the heart to the meaning of life, The Bard covered it all in his body of work. This, coupled with his influence on the English language (if you've ever used the phrases "it's all Greek to me", "wild goose chase" or "the game is up", you have Shakespeare to thank), makes the playwrite as relevant today as ever.

To celebrate Shakespeare's 450th birthday we've put together the most memorable, iconic and quoted lines from his plays and poetry below, from classics such as A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet through to lesser known plays such as Love's Labours Lost and Measure For Measure.

What's your all-time favourite Shakespeare quote? Perhaps it didn't make our list? Either way, share your thoughts in the comments section below or on Twitter @StylistMagazine.

  • Hamlet

    "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath bore me on his back a thousand times, and now how abhorr'd in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it.."

    Act 5, Scene 1

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream

    "The course of true love never did run smooth."

    Act 1, Scene 1

  • Twelfth Night

    "Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them."

    Act 2, Scene 5

  • Hamlet

    "Neither a borrower nor a lender be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend."

    Act 1, Scene 3

  • 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 2, Scene 7

  • The Merchant of Venice

    "All that glisters is not gold."

    Act 2, Scene 7

  • Twelfth Night

    “Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.”

    Act 3 Scene 1

  • As You Like It

    “Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?“

    Act 3, Scene 5

  • Twelfth Night

    “If music be the food of love, play on.”

    Act 1, Scene 1

  • The Merchant of Venice

    “Love is blind, and lovers cannot see, The pretty follies that themselves commit."

    Act 2, Scene 6

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream

    "My Oberon! What visions have I seen! Methought I was enamoured of an ass."

    Act 4, Scene 1

  • Much Ado About Nothing

    "When you depart from me sorrow abides, and happiness takes his leave."

    Act 1, Scene 1

  • As You Like It

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

    Act 5, Scene 1

  • Romeo and Juliet

    "But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun."

    Act 2, Scene 1

  • Henry V

    "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, Or close the wall up with our English dead!"

    Act 3, Scene 1

  • Macbeth

    "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 5, Scene 5

  • Hamlet

    "To be, or not to be; that is the question; Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer; The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles"

    Act 3, Scene 1

  • 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"

  • Richard II

    "This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle, This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, This other Eden, demi-paradise, This fortress built by Nature for herself Against infection and the hand of war"

    Act 2 , Scene 1

  • Richard III

    "Now is the winter of our discontent, Made glorious summer by this sun of York"

    Act 1, Scene 1

  • Love's Labour's Lost

    "They have been at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps."

    Act 5, Scene 1

  • The Tempest

    "Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made; Those are pearls that were his eyes: Nothing of him that doth fade ; But doth suffer a sea-change; Into something rich and strange."

    Act 1, Scene 2

  • Macbeth

    "By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes. Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble."

    Act 4, Scene 1

  • Measure for Measure

    "What's mine is yours, and what is yours is mine."

    Act 5, Scene 1

  • The Merry Wives of Windsor

    "Why, then the world's mine oyster, Which I with sword will open."

    Act 2, Scene 2

  • Othello

    "I will wear my heart upon my sleeve; For daws to peck at."

    Act 1, Scene 1

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream

    "Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind"

    Act 1, Scene 1

  • Richard III

    "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!"

    Act 5, Scene 4

  • Julius Caesar

    ""When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept: Ambition should be made of sterner stuff"

    Act 3, Scene 2

  • Anthony and Cleopatra

    "My salad days, When I was green in judgment: cold in blood, To say as I said then! But, come, away; Get me ink and paper: He shall have every day a several greeting, Or I'll unpeople Egypt."

    Act 1, Scene 5

  • The Tempest

    "Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows."

    Act 2, Scene 2

  • Romeo and Juliet

    "What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet"

    Act 2, Scene 2

  • Henry IV, Part II

    "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown"

    Act 3, Scene 1

  • Hamlet

    "The play 's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king"

    Act 2, Scene 2

  • Measure for Measure

    "Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall"

    Act 2, Scene 1

  • Measure for Measure

    "The miserable have no other medicine but only hope"

    Act 3, Scene 1

  • King Lear

    "The worst is not, So long as we can say, 'This is the worst.'"

    Act 4, Scene 1

  • Much Ado About Nothing

    "Everyone can master a grief but he that has it"

    Act 3, Scene 2

  • Julius Caesar

    "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him"

    Act 2, Scene 2

  • Romeo and Juliet

    "Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, That I shall say good night till it be morrow."

    Act 2, Scene 1

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