Romeo and Juliet. Macbeth. Othello. These are simply a few of the beloved, classic tales penned by William Shakespeare that continue to be discovered by new generations. There are many quotes by Shakespeare that are still relevant in our modern society, which is a sign that the poet was ahead of his time. Here’s a list of our favorite quotes by Shakespeare to share with your students.
Quick reminder: Shakespeare wrote about love, betrayal, and many adult themes in his works. Every classroom is different, so be sure to thoroughly read through these quotes by Shakespeare before sharing them with students.
Our Favorite Quotes by Shakespeare
One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
We know what we are but know not what we may be.
No legacy is so rich as honesty.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.
Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.
Sweet are the uses of adversity which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head.
Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.
Nothing can come of nothing.
Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.
How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
Though she be but little, she is fierce.
How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
The robbed that smiles steals something from the thief.
What’s done can’t be undone.
Sweet mercy is nobility’s true badge.
I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.
Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.
Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe yourself.
What is past is prologue.
In time we hate that which we often fear.
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.
’Tis not enough to help the feeble up, but to support them after.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be.
With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.
I bear a charmed life.
Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise.
Talking isn’t doing. It is a kind of good deed to say well; and yet words are not deeds.
When words are scarce, they are seldom spent in vain.
Boldness be my friend.
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.
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.
Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast.
Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.
To be or not to be: That is the question.
All that glisters is not gold.
And oftentimes excusing of a fault doth make the fault the worse by the excuse.
Such as we are made of, such we be.
The fault … is not in our stars but in ourselves.
Words are easy, like the wind; faithful friends are hard to find.
Brevity is the soul of wit.
And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.
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.
I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.
Expectation is the root of all heartache.
Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up o’er wrought heart and bids it break.
Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.
Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it.
My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or else my heart concealing it will break.
If we are true to ourselves, we can not be false to anyone.
Et tu, Brute?
One may smile, and smile, be a villain.
Let me be that I am and seek not to alter me.
Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind.
Conscience doth make cowards of us all.
O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; it is the green-ey’d monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on.
Many a true word hath been spoken in jest.
Be great in act, as you have been in thought.
April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.
All things are ready, if our mind be so.
The tempter or the tempted, who sins most?
For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds; lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.
Thought is free.
I would not wish any companion in the world but you.
Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
He jests at scars that never felt a wound.
Our bodies are our gardens to which our wills are gardeners.
Men should be what they seem.
Love is heavy and light, bright and dark, hot and cold, sick and healthy, asleep and awake.
They do not love that do not show their love.
A young woman in love always looks like patience on a monument smiling at grief.
Doubt thou the stars are fire, doubt that the sun doth move. Doubt truth to be a liar, but never doubt I love.
I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest.
Do not swear by the moon, for she changes constantly. Then your love would also change.
I am one who loved not wisely but too well.
My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep; the more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Love is too young to know what conscience is.
If music be the food of love, play on.
Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.
Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.
Kindness in women, not their beauteous looks, shall win my love.
Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs.
Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
And yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays.
Don’t waste your love on somebody, who doesn’t value it.
See how she leans her cheek upon her hand. O, that I were a glove upon that hand that I might touch that cheek!
Go to your bosom: Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know.
The course of true love never did run smooth.
In black ink my love may still shine bright.
For which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me?
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the edge of doom.
Speak low, if you speak love.
Love sought is good, but given unsought, is better.
Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, so long lives this and this gives life to thee.
Love comforteth like sunshine after rain.
How art thou out of breath when thou hast breath to say to me that thou art out of breath?
For you, in my respect, are all the world.
Love is not love, which alters when it alteration finds.
I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow, than a man swear he loves me.
Love is merely a madness.
“I can see that he’s not in your good books,” said the messenger. “No, and if he were, I would burn my library.”
I wish my horse had the speed of your tongue.
God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.
Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.
Maids want nothing but husbands, and when they have them, they want everything.
O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil.
He that loves to be flattered is worthy o’ the flatterer.
Lord, what fools these mortals be!
Life is as tedious as twice-told tale, vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man.
I will praise any man that will praise me.
Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.
My pride fell with my fortunes.
Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.
There’s many a man has more hair than wit.
Is it not strange that desire should so many years outlive performance?
I dote on his very absence.
I am not bound to please thee with my answer.
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.
This above all: To thine own self be true.
Like these quotes by Shakespeare for students? Check out these motivational quotes for the classroom too.
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