250 William Shakespeare Quotes

It’s impossible to have reached this age and not heard any lines from Shakespeare, but if you haven’t or if you want a refresh, then definitely check out our collection of his top 250 quotes!

William Shakespeare’s works are taught all over the world as part of our English or Literature classes.

However, a lot of the phrases we use today like, ‘All that glitters isn’t gold,’ or ‘The world is my oyster,’ are actually lines that he made famous in his poems and plays.

Aside from his many coined phrases, there’s still a lot more things to learn about life, sorrow, love, and almost everything under the sun from the world’s greatest ever playwright.

Learn more about William Shakespeare through his quotes below.

And don’t miss out these Victor Hugo quotes and Alice Walker quotes.

Best William Shakespeare Quotes

William Shakespeare Quote - If we are true to ourselves, we can not be false to anyone.

1. “If we are true to ourselves, we can not be false to anyone.”

2. “Don’t trust the person who has broken faith once.”

3. “When I got enough confidence, the stage was gone. When I was sure of losing, I won. When I needed people the most, they left me. When I learnt to dry my tears, I found a shoulder to cry on. And when I mastered the art of hating, somebody started loving me.”

4. “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.”

William Shakespeare Quote - Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.

5. “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”

6. “A light heart lives long.”

7. “What a terrible era in which idiots govern the blind.”

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

9. “Laughing faces do not mean that there is absence of sorrow, but it means that they have the ability to deal with it.”

William Shakespeare Quote - Nothing comes from doing nothing.

10. “Nothing comes from doing nothing.”

11. “Have more than you show, speak less than you know.”

12. “Go wisely and slowly. Those who rush stumble and fall.”

13. “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”

14. “No legacy is so rich as honesty.”

William Shakespeare Quote - I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed!

15. “I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed!”

16. “The eyes are the window to your soul.”

17. “We suffer a lot from the few things we lack, and we enjoy too little of the many things we have.”

18. “Never play with the feelings of others, because you may win the game but the risk is that you will surely lose the person for life time.”

19. “The best is yet to come.”

Famous William Shakespeare Quotes

William Shakespeare Quote - It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves.

20. “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves.”

21. “The silence of pure innocence persuades when speaking fails.”

22. “More of your conversation would infect my brain.”

23. “You know who you are, but know not who you could be.”

24. “This thing of darkness, I acknowledge mine. There is nothing more confining than the prison we don’t know we are in.”

William Shakespeare Quote - Be great in act, as you have been in thought.

25. “Be great in act, as you have been in thought.”

26. “Give thanks for what you are today and go on fighting for what you’re gonna be tomorrow.”

27. “Some men never seem to grow old. Always active in thought, always ready to adopt new ideas, they are never chargeable with fogeyism. Satisfied, yet ever dissatisfied; settled, yet ever unsettled, they always enjoy the best of what is, and are the first to find the best of what will be.”

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

29. “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 take revenge?”

William Shakespeare Quote - Words spoken can not be recalled so think twice before you speak.

30. “Words spoken can not be recalled so think twice before you speak.”

31. “To me, fair friend, you can never be old.”

32. “Desperate times breed desperate measures.”

33. “I do desire we may be better strangers.”

34. “O Lord that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!”

William Shakespeare Quote - Frame your mind to mirth and merriment which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life.

35. “Frame your mind to mirth and merriment which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life.”

36. “If your mind dislikes anything, obey it.”

37. “To unpathed waters, undreamed shores.”

38. “I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.”

39. “Strong reasons make strong actions.”

William Shakespeare Quote - A girl takes too much time to love and a few seconds to hate, but a boy takes a few seconds to love and too much time to hate.

40. “A girl takes too much time to love and a few seconds to hate, but a boy takes a few seconds to love and too much time to hate.”

41. “One may smile, and smile, and be a villain.”

42. “Time does not have the same appeal for every one.”

43. “Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.”

44. “Love does not see with the eyes, but with the soul.”

William Shakespeare Quote - The empty vessel makes the loudest sound.

45. “The empty vessel makes the loudest sound.”

46. “Sit by my side, and let the world slip—we shall never be younger.”

47. “The good I stand on is my truth and honesty.”

48. “Make use of time, let not advantage slip.”

49. “When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I was married.”

William Shakespeare Quotes About Life

William Shakespeare Quote - The web of our life is of a mingled yarn - good and ill together.

50. “The web of our life is of a mingled yarn—good and ill together.”

51. “Nothing in his life made him like leaving it.”

52. “It is silliness to live when to live is torment, and then we have a prescription to die when death is our physician.”

53. “The wheel has come full circle—I am here.”

54. “O excellent! I love long life better than figs.”

William Shakespeare Quote - To be, or not to be, that is the question.

55. “To be, or not to be, that is the question.”

56. “I bear a charmed life.”

57. “By medicine life may be prolonged, yet death will seize the doctor too.”

58. “And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.”

59. “There is plenty of time to sleep in the grave.”

William Shakespeare Quote - Why, what should be the fear? I do not set my life at a pin's fee.

60. “Why, what should be the fear? I do not set my life at a pin’s fee.”

61. “The time of life is short; to spend that shortness basically was too long.”

62. “Thy life’s a miracle.”

63. “The sands are numbered that make up my life; here must I stay, and here my life must end.”

64. “Lay aside life-harming heaviness, and entertain a cheerful disposition.”

William Shakespeare Quote - Life is a shuttle.

65. “Life is a shuttle.”

66. “The golden age is before us, not behind us.”

67. “And a man’s life’s no more than to say, ‘One.’”

68. “So wise, so young, they say, never do live long.”

69. “Let life be short—else shame will be too long.”

William Shakespeare Quote - A man can die but once.

70. “A man can die but once.”

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

72. “Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.”

73. “There where my fortune lives, there my life dies.”

74. “But shall I live in hope? All men, I hope, live so.”

William Shakespeare Quote - To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first.

75. “To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first.”

76. “Let every man be master of his time.”

77. “Educated men are so impressive.”

78. “The object of art is to give life a shape.”

79. “The very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.”

William Shakespeare Quotes on Women and Love

William Shakespeare Quote - If music is the food of love, play on.

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

81. “Love is like a child that longs for everything it can come by.”

82. “She’s beautiful, and therefore to be wooed; she is a woman, and therefore to be won.”

83. “The sight of lovers feedeth those in love.”

84. “The course of true love never did run smooth.”

William Shakespeare Quote - What is light, if Sylvia is not seen? What is joy if Sylvia is not by?

85. “What is light, if Sylvia is not seen? What is joy if Sylvia is not by?”

86. “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind. And therefore, his winged Cupid painted blind.”

87. “Love is blind, and lovers cannot see the pretty follies that they themselves commit.”

88. “There’s begging in love that can be reckoned with.”

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

William Shakespeare Quote - Hear my soul speak. From the very instant that I saw you, did my heart fly at your service.

90. “Hear my soul speak. From the very instant that I saw you, did my heart fly at your service.”

91. “Love goes by haps; some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.”

92. “Lovers can do their amorous rites by their own beauties.”

93. “Cupid is a knavish lad, thus to make females mad.”

94. “Whoever loved that loved not at first sight?”

William Shakespeare Quote - Speak low if you speak love.

95. “Speak low if you speak love.”

96. “Love is a smoke and is made with the fume of sighs.”

97. “The stroke of death is like a lover’s pinch, which hurts and is desired.”

98. “Her passions are made of nothing but the finest part of pure love.”

99. “I would not wish any companion in the world but you.”

William Shakespeare Quote - Doubt that the sun doth move his aides, doubt truth to be a liar, but never doubt I love.

100. “Doubt that the stars are fire, doubt that the sun doth move his aides, doubt truth to be a liar, but never doubt I love.”

101. “A heart to love, and in that heart, courage, to make love known.”

102. “I love you more than words can wield the matter, dearer than eyesight, space, and liberty.”

103. “She loved me for the dangers I had passed, and I loved her that she did pity them.”

104. “I will not be sworn, but love may transform me into an oyster.”

William Shakespeare Quote - His unkindness may defeat my life, but never taint my love.

105. “His unkindness may defeat my life, but never taint my love.”

106. “Love is begun by time, and time qualifies the spark and fire of it.”

107. “To be wise and love exceeds man’s might.”

108. “You cannot call it love, for at your age, the heyday in the blood is tame.”

109. “Love will not be spurred to what it loathes.”

William Shakespeare Quotes on Sorrow and Suffering

William Shakespeare Quote - Come and make a choice of all my library, and so beguile thy sorrow.

110. “Come and make a choice of all my library, and so beguile thy sorrow.”

111. “No deeper wrinkles yet? Hath sorrow struck so many blows upon this face of mine and made no deeper wounds?”

112. “Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak knits up the over wrought heart and bids it break.”

113. “My charity is outrageous, life my shame. And in that shame still lives my sorrow’s rage!”

114. “This feather stirs; she lives! If it be so, it is a chance which does redeem all sorrows that ever I have felt.”

William Shakespeare Quote - Here is my throne, bid kings come bow to it.

115. “Here I and sorrows sit. Here is my throne, bid kings come bow to it.”

116. “No matter where; of comfort no man speaks. Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs. Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes. Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth.”

117. “Gnarling sorrow hath less power to bite the man that mocks at it and sets it light.”

118. “When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.”

119. “I will instruct my sorrows to be proud; for grief is proud, and makes his owner stoop.”

William Shakespeare Quote - For sorrow ends not, when it seemeth done.

120. “For sorrow ends not, when it seemeth done.”

121. “That you were once unkind befriends me now, and for that sorrow, which I then did feel, needs must I under my transgression bow, unless my nerves were brass or hammered steel.”

122. “Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.”

123. “Come what sorrow can. It cannot countervail the exchange of joy—that one short minute gives me in her sight”

124. “But if the while I think on thee, dear friend, all losses are restored and sorrows end.”

William Shakespeare Quote - Each present joy or sorrow seems the chief.

125. “Each present joy or sorrow seems the chief.”

126. “And sleep, that sometimes shuts up sorrow’s eye, steals me awhile from mine own company.”

127. “Short time seems long in sorrow’s sharp sustaining.”

128. “Music can minister to minds diseased, pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, raze out the written troubles of the brain, and with its sweet oblivious antidote, cleanse the full bosom of all perilous stuff that weighs upon the heart.”

129. “Your cause of sorrow must not be measured by his worth, for then it hath no end.”

William Shakespeare Quote - Or are you like the painting of sorrow - a face without a heart?

130. “Or are you like the painting of sorrow—a face without a heart?”

131. “Sorrow breaks seasons and reposing hours, makes the night morning, and the noontide night.”

132. “Sorrow, like a heavy ringing bell, once set on ringing, with its own weight goes; then little strength rings out the doleful knell.”

133. “A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.”

134. “When you depart from me, sorrow abides and happiness takes his leave.”

William Shakespeare Quote - Wisely weigh our sorrow with our comfort.

135. “Wisely weigh our sorrow with our comfort.”

136. “To show an unfelt sorrow is an office which the false man does easily.”

137. “When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry.”

138. “A knavish speech sleeps in a fool’s ear.”

139. “They say the best men are molded out of faults, and for the most, become much more the better for being a little bad.”

Wise and Inspiring William Shakespeare Quotes

William Shakespeare Quote - Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin, as self-neglecting.

140. “Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin, as self-neglecting.”

141. “The lunatic, the lover, and the poet, are of imagination, all compact.”

142. “Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.”

143. “It is the stars. The stars above us govern our conditions.”

144. “With mirth and laughter, let old wrinkles come.”

William Shakespeare Quote - All that glitters is not gold.

145. “All that glitters is not gold.”

146. “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”

147. “I would give all my fame for a pot of ale, and safety.”

148. “The miserable have no other medicine, but only hope.”

149. “Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile; filths savour but themselves.”

William Shakespeare Quote - There is no darkness but ignorance.

150. “There is no darkness but ignorance.”

151. “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”

152. “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is often interred with their bones.”

153. “This above all—to thine own self be true.”

154. “God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.”

William Shakespeare Quote - There is not one wise man in twenty that will praise himself.

155. “There is not one wise man in twenty that will praise himself.”

156. “Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind.”

157. “Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.”

158. “To do a great right, do a little wrong.”

159. “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”

William Shakespeare Quote - The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.

160. “The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.”

161. “Wisdom cries out in the streets, and no man regards it.”

162. “The art of our necessities is strange—that can make vile things precious.”

163. “Good company, good wine, good welcome, can make good people.”

164. “Every man has his fault, and honesty is his.”

William Shakespeare Quote - What fates impose, that men must abide; it boots not to resist both wind and tide.

165. “What fates impose, that men must abide; it boots not to resist both wind and tide.”

166. “We waste our lights in vain, like lamps by day.”

167. “These violent delights have violent ends.”

168. “Blood will have blood.”

169. “Conscience is but a word that cowards use, devised at first to keep the strong in awe.”

William Shakespeare Quotes About God and Religion

William Shakespeare Quote - Ignorance is the curse of God.

170. “Ignorance is the curse of God.”

171. “Knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.”

172. “Faith, the cry goes that you shall marry her.”

173. “Had I but served my God with half the zeal I served my king, he would not have left me naked to my enemies.”

174. “‘Tis mad idolatry to make the service greater than the god.”

William Shakespeare Quote - God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.

175. “God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.”

176. “The voice of parents is the voice of gods, for to their children they are heaven’s lieutenants.”

177. “The love of heaven makes one heavenly.”

178. “However wickedness outstrips men, it has no wings to fly from God.”

179. “Let never day nor night unhallowed pass, but still remember what the Lord hath done.”

William Shakespeare Quote - O momentary grace of mortal men, which we hunt for more than the grace of God!

180. “O momentary grace of mortal men, which we hunt for more than the grace of God!”

181. “Let us resolve to scale their flinty bulwarks.”

182. “O God, O God, how weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world!”

183. “Methinks sometimes, I have no more wit than a Christian.”

184. “God is our fortress.”

William Shakespeare Quote - A politician - one that would circumvent God.

185. “A politician—one that would circumvent God.”

186. “If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men’s cottage princes’ palaces.”

187. “As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport.”

188. “Faith, you said so before.”

189. “By that sin fell the angels.”

William Shakespeare Quotes on Success

William Shakespeare Quote - Let me embrace thee, sour adversity,

190. “Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.”

191. “Fortune brings in some boats that are not steered.”

192. “What a piece of work is a man—how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties—in form and moving, how express and admirable, in action like an angel, in apprehension, how like a god.”

193. “How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.”

194. “Things done well and with care, exempt themselves from fear.”

William Shakespeare Quote - Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we often might win.

195. “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we often might win by fearing to attempt.”

196. “When we are born, we cry that we have come to this great stage of fools.”

197. “Words are easy, like the wind; faithful friends are hard to find.”

198. “Some rise by sin, and some by virtue, fall.”

199. “Come what may, time and the hour runs through the roughest day.”

William Shakespeare Quote - What wound did ever heal by degrees?

200. “How poor are they that have no patience! What wound did ever heal by degrees?”

201. “I would give all my fame for a pot of ale, and safety.”

202. “I am not bound to please thee with my answer.”

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

204. “This above all; to thine own self be true.”

William Shakespeare Quote - My crown is called content, a crown that kings seldom enjoy.

205. “My crown is called content, a crown that kings seldom enjoy.”

206. “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.”

207. “Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.”

208. “The small amount of foolery wise men have made a great show.”

209. “Good without evil is like light without darkness which in turn is like righteousness without hope.”

Insightful William Shakespeare Quotes

William Shakespeare Quote - Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours, and so, all yours.

210. “One half of me is yours, the other half is yours. Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours, and so, all yours.”

211. “Of all the flowers, I think a rose is best.”

212. “Sweet are the uses of adversity.”

213. “With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come. And let my liver rather heat with wine, than let my heart cool with mortifying groans.”

214. “In nature, there’s no blemish but the mind. None can be called deformed but the unkind.”

William Shakespeare Quote - Well, honor is the subject of my story.

215. “Well, honor is the subject of my story.”

216. “Angels are still bright, though the brightest fell.”

217. “Things without any remedy should be without regard—what’s done is done.”

218. “In a false quarrel, there is no true valor.”

219. “I must be cruel only to be kind. Thus, bad begins and worse remains behind.”

William Shakespeare Quote - Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly.

220. “Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly.”

221. “Talking isn’t doing. It is a kind of good deed to say well; and yet words are not deeds.”

222. “Hear the meaning within the word.”

223. “The tempter or the tempted, who sins most?”

224. “Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage.”

William Shakespeare Quote - Woe to that land that's governed by a child.

225. “Woe to that land that’s governed by a child.”

226. “Faith, there have been many great men that have flattered the people who ne’er loved them.”

227. “I understand the fury in your words, but not your words.”

228. “In peace, there’s nothing so becoming a man as modest stillness and humility.”

229. “Now join your hands, and with your hands, your hearts.”

William Shakespeare Quotes on Loss and Death

William Shakespeare Quote - Life's but a walking shadow - a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage.

230. “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.”

231. “For now they kill me with a living death.”

232. “Farewell! A long farewell to all my greatness!”

233. “Thou know’st ’tis common; all that lives must die—passing through nature to eternity.”

234. “Death is my son-in-law, death is my heir.”

William Shakespeare Quote - To die, to sleep - to sleep, perchance to dream.

235. “To die, to sleep—to sleep, perchance to dream.”

236. “Death lies on her like an untimely frost.”

237. “For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come.”

238. “Let me be boiled to death with melancholy.”

239. “For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night.”

William Shakespeare Quote - Woe, destruction, ruin, and decay; the worst is death and death will have his day.

240. “Woe, destruction, ruin, and decay; the worst is death and death will have his day.”

241. “Death rocks me asleep.”

242. “This fell sergeant, Death, is strict in his arrest.”

243. “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.”

244. “Tired with all these, for restful death I cry.”

William Shakespeare Quote - What ugly sights of death within mine eyes!

245. “What ugly sights of death within mine eyes!”

246. “The weariest and most loathed worldly life, that age, ache, penury and imprisonment can lay on nature is a paradise, to what we fear of death.”

247. “Death makes no conquest of this conqueror. For now he lives in fame, though not in life.”

248. “Then is it sin to rush into the secret house of death. Ere Death dare come to us?”

249. “But flies an eagle flight, bold and forth on, leaving no tract behind.”

William Shakespeare Quote - There are throats to be cut, and work to be done.

250. “There are throats to be cut, and work to be done.”

Did You See Snippets of Real Life in Many Of Shakespeare’s Tragedies, Comedies, and Poems?

With around 37 plays and over 150 poems, there’s no doubt that William Shakespeare is one of the most prolific and famous writers out there. His works even had the royal seal of approval—a great feat for any writer in his day. However, what really made Shakespeare a great writer was that he created deep and diverse storylines and he never forgot how human his characters should be. They feel, they act, and they err. In fact, his characters are considered to be some of the most famous and most complex in English literature. Rightly so, because there are tons of lessons we can pick up from each and every one. One of the most enduring ones—the one which can apply to all facets of life, anytime, anywhere, is self-love. You should be your number one priority. Nothing good ever comes from belittling and neglecting yourself. Always remember that before you can help and do great things for others, you need to do great things for yourself first.

Which of Shakespeare’s works are your favorites? Did you find your favorite quote in our list? Are there any other quotes you’d like us to include in the collection? Be sure to leave a comment down below.

Amy Finn

Hi. I'm Amy, the founder of this blog. I love quotes and enjoy sharing the best ones with you.

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