Friday, January 28, 2011

The Wisdom of William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
As a graduate student at Duke University in the early 70s, I read most of William Shakespeare's plays and learned why today he's considered the greatest poet and playwright of all time. He achieved this reputation based on a body of work written 400 years ago. More has been written about him than any other literary figure in history. His plays are familiar to most people: A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello, and others. These and many more are routinely taught in high school English classes and have been made into movies.

What impresses me most is the timeless wisdom I've found in the plays, even though the world has learned so much since Shakespeare's time. His words, original and memorable, reflect an understanding of people and life. Here are some of my favorites...

On FORGIVENESS - “The quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath: it is twice blessed; it blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”

On HONESTY - “To be honest, as this world goes, is to be one picked out of ten thousand.”

On LOYALTY - "Words are easy, like the wind; faithful friends are hard to find."

On PROACTIVITY - "I wasted time, and now doth time waste me."

On SELF-AWARENESS - “Of all knowledge the wise and good seek most to know themselves.”

On SELF-ESTEEM - “This above all: to thine own self be true.”

On SPIRITUALITY - “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy.”

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength . (Photo in public domain)

1 comment:

Sarcastic Bastard said...

I took two Shakespearean courses in college. I had a nutty professor, who actually acted the voices out as he read the plays to us. He even did the women's voices. It was great fun.

Love you,