What Shakespeare Quotes

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What Shakespeare Quotes

What Shakespeare and the Greeks were able to do was radically question what it meant to be a human being.
— Edward Bond —

I sit with Shakespeare, and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm and arm with Balzac and Dumas, where smiling men and welcoming women glide in gilded halls. From out of the caves of evening that swing between the strong-limbed Earth and the tracery of stars, I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension. So, wed with Truth, I dwell above the veil. Is this the life you grudge us, O knightly America? Is this the life you long to change into the dull red hideousness of Georgia? Are you so afraid lest peering from this high Pisgah, between Philistine and Amalekite, we sight the Promised Land?

— W.E.B. Du Bois

Why can't you remember your Shakespeare and forget the third-raters. You'll find what you're trying to say in him- as you'll find everything else worth saying. 'We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with sleep.'
- 'Fine! That's beautiful. But I wasn't trying to say that. We are such stuff as manure is made on, so let's drink up and forget it. That's more my idea.

— Eugene O'Neill

Hark," he said, his tone very dry. "What stone through yonder window breaks?"
Kami yelled up at him, "It is the east, and Juliet is a jerk!"
Jared abandoned Shakespeare and demanded, "What do you think you're doing?"
"Throwing a pebble," said Kami defensively. "Uh ... and I'll pay for the window."
Jared vanished and Kami was ready to start shouting again, when he reemerged with the pebble clenched in his fist. "This isn't a pebble! This is a rock."
"It's possible that your behaviour has inspired some negative feelings that caused me to pick a slightly overlarge pebble," Kami admitted.

— Sarah Rees Brennan

If Romeo had never met Juliet, maybe they both would have still been alive, but what they would have been alive for is the question Shakespeare wants us to answer.

— Gary D. Schmidt

It is hard for me to believe that Miss Groby ever saw any work of literature from far enough away to know what it meant. She was forever climbing up the margins of books and crawling between their lines for the little gold of phrase, making marks with a pencil. As Palamides hunted the Questing Beast, she hunted the Figure of Speech. She hunted it through the clangorous halls of Shakespeare and through the green forests of Scott.

— James Thurber

Ah youth, youth! That's what happens when you go steeping your soul into Shakespeare

— Fyodor Dostoyevsky

But the point is that a story is exciting because it has in it so strong an element of will, of what theology calls free-will. You cannot finish a sum how you like. But you can finish a story how you like. When somebody discovered the Differential Calculus there was only one Differential Calculus he could discover. But when Shakespeare killed Romeo he might have married him to Juliet's old nurse if he had felt inclined. And Christendom has excelled in the narrative romance exactly because it has insisted on the theological free-will.

— G.K. Chesterton

I'm a pro! No, what I mean is I have performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company in England. I have been all over the place. I have studied theatre for seven years.

— Kunal Nayyar

As far back as Yossarian could recall, he explained to Clevinger with a patient smile, somebody was always hatching a plot to kill him. There were people who cared for him and people who didn't, and those who hated him were out to get him. They hated him because he was Assyrian. But they couldn't touch him, he told Clevinger, because he had a sound mind in a pure body and was as strong as an ox. They couldn't touch him because he was Tarzan, Mandrake, Flash Gordon. He was Bill Shakespeare. He was Cain, Ulysses, the Flying Dutchman; he was Lot in Sodom, Deirdre of the Sorrows, Sweeney in the nightingales among trees. He was miracle ingredient Z-247. He was -
Crazy!" Clevinger interrupted, shrieking. "That's what you are! Crazy!" "immense. I'm a real slam-bang, honest-to-goodness, three-fisted humdinger. I'm a bona fide Supraman."
"Superman?" Clevinger cried. "Superman?"
Supraman," Yossarian corrected.

— Joseph Heller

What is so weird is that young people who want to be 'celebrities' do not want to put in the hard work. They don't want to do the training, go to drama school, read Shakespeare, try different accents and study technique. They just want to be famous. It is not just in England; it's the same in America and all over Europe.

— Joan Collins

There is nothing new, from Greek mythology to Shakespeare to every romcom ever made, we're just reimagining the same 12 story plots over and over again - so what makes people keep watching and listening? It's all about the character.

— Jeremy Renner

Kurt Vonnegut to Shakespeare:
I asked him if he had love affairs with men as well as women, knowing how eager my WNYC audience was to have this matter settled. His answer, however, celebrated affection between animals of any sort:
"We were as twinn'd lambs that did frisk in the sun, and bleat the one at the other: what we chang'd was innocence for innocence." By changed he meant exchanged: "What we exchanged was innocence for innocence." That has to be the softest core pornography I ever heard.

— Kurt Vonnegut

Was there ever such thing as great Shakespeare? Only one must not say so! But what think you - what - was there not sad stuff?

— George III

In his comic scenes, Shakespeare seems to produce, without labor, what no labor can improve.

— Samuel Johnson

Books, as Dryden has aptly termed them, are spectacles to read nature. Aeschylus and Aristotle, Shakespeare and Bacon, are priests who preach and expound the mysteries of man and the universe. They teach us to understand and feel what we see, to decipher and syllable the hieroglyphics of the senses.

— Augustus William Hare

If I had any doubts at all about the justice of my dislike for Shakespeare, that doubt vanished completely. What a crude, immoral,vulgar, and senseless work Hamlet is. The whole thing is based on pagan vengeance; the only aim is to gather together as many effects as possible; there is no rhyme or reason about it.

— Leo Tolstoy

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