Most Common Shakespeare Misquotes

atkins bookshelf quotationsIt is impressive to show off your literary erudition by quoting Shakespeare, but make sure you get it right, or as Hamlet advises: “Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue.” Even though some common quotations sound right — they sound Shakespearean, after all — they are, in fact, incorrect. Unfortunately, misquotations are perpetuated in print as well as with the aid of that mischievous rascal, the internet. In an effort to restore the lines at the Swan of Avon originally wrote them, the editors of Listverse.com have collected the top ten Shakespeare misquotes along with the actual quotes. Consider yourself corrected and be mindful of Lear’s advice to his daughter Cordelia, “Mend thy speech a little/Lest it mar your fortunes…”

1. Play: King John
Misquote: “Gild the lily”
Actual Quote: “To gild refined gold, to paint the lily”

2. Play: The Tragedy of Macbeth
”Misquote: “Lead on, Macduff”
Actual Quote: “Lay on, Macduff, and damned be him who first cries ‘Hold! enough!’”

3. Play: The Tragedy of Macbeth
Misquote: “Bubble bubble, toil and trouble.”
Actual Quote: “Double, double toil and trouble.”

4. Play: The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Misquote: “Methinks the lady doth protest too much”
Actual Quote: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

5. Play: The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Misquote: “Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him well.”
Actual Quote: “Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him, Horatio – a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.”

6. Play: The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Misquote: “The rest is science”
Actual Quote: “The rest is silence”

7. Play: The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet
Misquote: “A rose by any other name smells just as sweet.”
Actual Quote: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet.”

8. Play: The Tragedy of King Richard III
Misquote: “Now is the winter of our discontent.”
Actual Quote: “Now is the winter of our discontent / Made glorious summer by this sun of York.”

9. Play: King Henry the Fourth, Part One
Misquote: “Discretion is the better part of valour.”
Actual Quote: “The better part of valour is discretion”

10. Play: The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Misquote: “To the manor born”
Actual Quote: “but to my mind,—though I am native here and to the manner born,—it is a custom more honour’d in the breach than the observance.”

Bonus. Play: The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet
Quote: “Romeo, Romeo… Wherefore art thou Romeo?”
The problem with this quote is not getting the words wrong, but in getting the meaning wrong. The definition of “wherefore” is not “where” (as in “where the hell are you, Romeo?”) but rather “why.” In the play, Juliet is asking Romeo why he is a Montague, making him an enemy to her family; in other words: WTF! Why did you have to be a member of the Montague family and complicate our relationship?

For further reading: Why Study Shakespeare?
Shakespeare 400 Years On: Part 1
 The Shakespeare Thefts: In Search of the First Folio
Who Are the Greatest Shakespeare Characters?

Best Edition of Shakespeare’s Sonnets
The Most Common Myths About Shakespeare
Shakespeare the Pop Song Writer
Random Fascinating Facts About Shakespeare
Most Common Nicknames for Shakespeare
Most Beautiful Books of Shakespeare’s Sonnets
Were Shakespeare’s Sonnets Written to a Young Man?
What Dictionary Did Shakespeare Use?
Shakespeare’s Portrait as A Young Man Discovered

Most Common Nicknames for Shakespeare
Most Beautiful Books of Shakespeare’s Sonnets
Were Shakespeare’s Sonnets Written to a Young Man?

What Dictionary Did Shakespeare Use?

For further reading: http://listverse.com/2008/09/15/top-10-shakespeare-misquotes/

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