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121 Timeless Quotes by Shakespeare

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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.

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.- Shakespeare quotes

We know what we are but know not what we may be.

We know what we are but know not what we may be.

No legacy is so rich as honesty.

No legacy is so rich as honesty.

Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.

Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.- Shakespeare quotes

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

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.

Sweet are the uses of adversity which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head.- Shakespeare quotes

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.- Shakespeare quotes

Nothing can come of nothing.

Nothing can come of nothing.- Shakespeare quotes

Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.

- Shakespeare quotes

How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?

How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?

Though she be but little, she is fierce.

Though she be but little, she is fierce.- Shakespeare quotes

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

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.

The robbed that smiles steals something from the thief.- Shakespeare quotes

What’s done can’t be undone.

What's done can't be undone.- Shakespeare quotes

Sweet mercy is nobility’s true badge.

Sweet mercy is nobility's true badge.

I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.

I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.- Shakespeare quotes

Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.

Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.

Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe yourself.

Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe yourself.- Shakespeare quotes

What is past is prologue.

What is past is prologue.

In time we hate that which we often fear.

In time we hate that which we often fear.- Shakespeare quotes

Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.

Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.- Shakespeare quotes

’Tis not enough to help the feeble up, but to support them after.

’Tis not enough to help the feeble up, but to support them after.

Neither a borrower nor a lender be.

Neither a borrower nor a lender be.- Shakespeare quotes

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.- Shakespeare quotes

I bear a charmed life.

I bear a charmed life.

Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise.

Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise.- Shakespeare quotes

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

Talking isn't doing. It is a kind of good deed to say well; and yet words are not deeds.- Shakespeare quotes

When words are scarce, they are seldom spent in vain.

When words are scarce, they are seldom spent in vain.

Boldness be my friend.

Boldness be my friend.- Shakespeare quotes

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.

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.

Words without thoughts never to heaven go.- Shakespeare quotes

Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast.

Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast.

Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.

Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.- Shakespeare quotes

To be or not to be: That is the question.

To be or not to be: That is the question.

All that glisters is not gold.

All that glisters is not gold.- Shakespeare quotes

And oftentimes excusing of a fault doth make the fault the worse by the excuse.

And oftentimes excusing of a fault doth make the fault the worse by the excuse.

Such as we are made of, such we be.

Such as we are made of, such we be.- Shakespeare quotes

The fault … is not in our stars but in ourselves.

The fault ... is not in our stars but in ourselves.- Shakespeare quotes

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

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

Brevity is the soul of wit.

Brevity is the soul of wit.- Shakespeare quotes

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

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.

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.- Shakespeare quotes

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

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

Expectation is the root of all heartache.

Expectation is the root of all heartache.- Shakespeare quotes

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

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.

Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.

Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it.

Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it.- Shakespeare quotes

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

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.

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

Et tu, Brute?

Et tu, Brute?

One may smile, and smile, be a villain.

One may smile, and smile, be a villain.

Let me be that I am and seek not to alter me.

Let me be that I am and seek not to alter me.- Shakespeare quotes

Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind.

Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind.

Conscience doth make cowards of us all.

Conscience doth make cowards of us all.- Shakespeare quotes

O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; it is the green-ey’d monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on.

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.

Many a true word hath been spoken in jest.

Be great in act, as you have been in thought.

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

April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.

April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.

All things are ready, if our mind be so.

All things are ready, if our mind be so.- Shakespeare quotes

The tempter or the tempted, who sins most?

The tempter or the tempted, who sins most?

For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds; lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.

For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds; lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.

Thought is free.

Thought is free.- Shakespeare quotes

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

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

Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Summer's lease hath all too short a date.

He jests at scars that never felt a wound.

He jests at scars that never felt a wound.- Shakespeare quotes

Our bodies are our gardens to which our wills are gardeners.

Our bodies are our gardens to which our wills are gardeners.- Shakespeare quotes

Men should be what they seem.

Men should be what they seem.

Love is heavy and light, bright and dark, hot and cold, sick and healthy, asleep and awake.

Love is heavy and light, bright and dark, hot and cold, sick and healthy, asleep and awake.- Shakespeare quotes

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.

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.

Doubt thou the stars are fire, doubt that the sun doth move. Doubt truth to be a liar, but never doubt I love.- Shakespeare quotes

I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest.

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.

Do not swear by the moon, for she changes constantly. Then your love would also change.- Shakespeare quotes

I am one who loved not wisely but too well.

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.

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.

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate.- Shakespeare quotes

Love is too young to know what conscience is.

Love is too young to know what conscience is.

If music be the food of love, play on.

If music be the food of love, play on.- Shakespeare quotes

Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.

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.

Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.- Shakespeare quotes

Kindness in women, not their beauteous looks, shall win my love.

Kindness in women, not their beauteous looks, shall win my love.

Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs.

Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs.- Shakespeare quotes

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

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.

And yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays.- Shakespeare quotes

Don’t waste your love on somebody, who doesn’t value it.

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!

See how she leans her cheek upon her hand. O, that I were a glove upon that hand that I might touch that cheek!- Shakespeare quotes

Go to your bosom: Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know.

Go to your bosom: Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know.

The course of true love never did run smooth.

The course of true love never did run smooth.- Shakespeare quotes

In black ink my love may still shine bright.

In black ink my love may still shine bright.

For which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me?

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.

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the edge of doom.- Shakespeare quotes

Speak low, if you speak love.

Speak low, if you speak love.

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

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.

Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.- Shakespeare quotes

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, so long lives this and this gives life to thee.

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.

Love comforteth like sunshine after rain.- Shakespeare quotes

How art thou out of breath when thou hast breath to say to me that thou art out of breath?

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.

For you, in my respect, are all the world.

Love is not love, which alters when it alteration finds.

- Shakespeare quotes

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

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

Love is merely a madness.

Love is merely a madness.- Shakespeare quotes

“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 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.

I wish my horse had the speed of your tongue.

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

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

Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.

Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.- Shakespeare quotes

Maids want nothing but husbands, and when they have them, they want everything.

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.

O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil.- Shakespeare quotes

He that loves to be flattered is worthy o’ the flatterer.

He that loves to be flattered is worthy o' the flatterer.

Lord, what fools these mortals be!

Lord, what fools these mortals be!- Shakespeare quotes

Life is as tedious as twice-told tale, vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man.

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.

I will praise any man that will praise me.- Shakespeare quotes

Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.

Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.

My pride fell with my fortunes.

My pride fell with my fortunes.

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

Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.- Shakespeare quotes

There’s many a man has more hair than wit.

There's many a man has more hair than wit.

Is it not strange that desire should so many years outlive performance?

Is it not strange that desire should so many years outlive performance?

I dote on his very absence.

I dote on his very absence.- Shakespeare quotes

I am not bound to please thee with my answer.

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.

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.

Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.- Shakespeare quotes

This above all: To thine own self be true.

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.

Come share your favorite quotes by Shakespeare in the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.



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