The Best William Shakespeare Quotes 

Updated January 4, 2018 3.6k votes 806 voters 41.9k views 148 items

List Rules Must be a famous or well-known quote. If a quote is cut off you can hover over the text to see the full quote.

A list of the best William Shakespeare quotes. List is arranged by which ones are the most famous William Shakespeare quotes and which have proven the most popular with visitors to this page. All the top quotes from William Shakespeare should be listed here, but if any were missed you can add more quotes by William Shakespeare at the end of the list. This list includes notable William Shakespeare quotes on various subjects; if you are looking for subject-specific quotes, those can also be found on Ranker along with the authors name.

This list answers the questions, "what is a list of William Shakespeare quotes?" and "what are the most famous William Shakespeare quotes?"

Vote on this William Shakespeare quotations list so that only the greatest William Shakespeare quotes rise to the top, as the order of the list changes dynamically based on votes. You can also see the subject these historic William Shakespeare quotes displayed to the right of the quote. Don't let your favorite William Shakespeare sayings get to the bottom of the list! (148 items)
list ordered by
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 trouble.

Hamlet: Act III, Scene I

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.

As You Like It: Act II, Scene VII

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.

Macbeth: Act V, Scene V

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 revenge?

The Merchant of Venice: Act III, Scene I

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.

Twelfth Night: Act II, Scene V

If music be the food of love, play on.

Twelfth Night: Act I, Scene I

Own more than thou showest, speak less than thou knowest.

King Lear: Act I, Scene IV

Time is the justice that examines all offenders.

As You Like It: Act IV, Scene I

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

Romeo and Juliet: Act II, Scene II

Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Romeo and Juliet: Act II, Scene II

All that live must die, passing through nature to eternity.

Hamlet: Act I, Scene II

I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.

Julius Caesar: Act III, Scene II

Honesty is the best policy. If I lose mine honor, I lose myself.

Antony and Cleopatra: Act III, Scene IV

First thing we do: let's kill all the lawyers.

Henry VI: Act IV, Scene II

There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophies.

Hamlet: Act I, Scene V

The devil can site scripture for his own purpose! An evil soul producing holy witness is like a villain with a smiling cheek.

The Merchant of Venice: Act I, Scene III

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

The Tempest: Act IV, Scene I

Nothing will come of nothing.

King Lear: Act I, Scene I

Nature must obey necessity.

Julius Caesar: Act IV, Scene III

What’s past is prologue

The Tempest: Act II, Scene I

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves; we are underlings.
It is a wise father that knows his own child.

The Merchant of Venice: Act II, Scene II

They do not love that do not show their love. The course of true love never did run smooth. Love is a familiar. Love is a devil. There is no evil angel but Love.
O sleep, O gentle sleep, nature's soft nurse, how have I frightened thee, that thou no more wilt weigh my eye-lids down and steep my senses in forgetfulness?

Henry IV: Act III, Scene I

No legacy is so rich as honesty.