On the 23rd of April it will officially be 400 years since William Shakespeare died and yet still to this day it’s a name that carries some big clout. It’s safe to say that he’s the most famous Englishman ever (David Beckham comes a pretty close second I’m told) and still thousands flock to see his plays and to read his sonnets.
Personally I’m a fan and I’ve always found Shakespeare an interesting fellow even if we do only know a little about him.
To be fair Tudour-Stuart England isn’t exactly renowned for record keeping, so Shakespeare scholars can be forgiven for not being able to paint the most detailed picture of his life and yet we know enough to remain intrigued.
Knowledge about the bard himself aside there’s a lot to be learnt from Shakespeare’s plays, particularly about politics and history. Yet look a little closer and you might find some interesting things about yourself, some quotes that resonate or some advice that you can take away.
Well fear not dear readers, for I hath done the hard-work for ye and have cherry picked some of the best advice contained in the famous works.
So here is some golden advice from the works of the bard himself.
“Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind and therefore is winged cupid blind” – A Midsummer Night’s Dream // Can we just spend a moment appreciating how truly beautiful this quote is. I guess it’s an easy one but basically it suggests that we should love people for how they are and not how they look. So very true.
“To die, to sleep, perchance to dream – ay there’s the rub, for in this sleep of death what dreams might come…” – Hamlet // This is one of my favourite Shakespeare quotes, it’s so poignant and haunting isn’t it? It’s from a traditional Shakespeare soliloquy as Hamlet is contemplating if it would be better to die, to give up but then he considers that dreaming might only cause further distress. We have to learn to live more in the moment, to truly appreciate the consequences of our actions and to attempt to love the life we have.
“My tongue will tell the anger of my heart or else my heart concealing it will be break.” – The Taming of the Shrew // This is definitely one that I need to take on board because I am so guilty of concealing things when really I should just say it out loud. How many times have you done this and how often does it all come to a head?
“Stars, hide your fire; Let not see my black and deep desires” – Macbeth // Nobody is perfect (except for Ryan Gosling obvs) so we can all work to be a little kinder, whether that’s to others, ourselves or both. For me this quote simply means that we should all work to be a bit better, to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be because no matter how hard we try other people can see our flaws.
Good friend for Jesus same forebeare, To
dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be
the man that spare these stones, And
cursed be he that moves my bones.
Ok so to be fair I cheated a little bit here because this isn’t advice as such it’s actually the curse that’s written on Shakespeare’s gravestone but I bloody love it and so I had to include it somehow. It’s also incredibly relevant given the recent revelations that it looks likely his grave was indeed tampered with and evidence now found to suggest that a previously suspected “myth”, might not be mythical at all. I suggest you check out the documentary. It’s all a little messy and yet ridiculously fascinating at the same time.