Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Has Shakespeare seen better days...

...or has he gone full circle?

I love the way that Shakespeare has placed so many well-worded phrases into our language. I suspect that some people will argue that he took many of these phrases from earlier writers, but even if that is true it was Shakespeare who provided us with their legacy. If he had not used these phrases then they would have been lost forever. It was from his plays that they have become part of our everyday speech.

This picture did the rounds a few months ago on Facebook. Apologies to whoever compiled it but 
I couldn't resist using it for this post.

One of my many favourite extracts from Shakespeare is the famous speech given by Jaques in As You Like It:
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,
His acts being seven ages.....

This was something that, as a teenager, got me thinking for the first time about the aging process, about the concept of 'seven ages of man'.

What is your favourite Shakespeare extract or phrase?


  1. Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow - I know it comes from the tragic end of Macbeth, but, taken out of context, it is a useful reminder that today's headache is yesterday's funny story.

  2. Hi Ros ... I love Shakespeare's use of flowers and foods to describe scenes and settings ... "the World is My Oyster" ... I really do not like the knock, knock, who's there - so irritating!! Great Wordle or Word Cloud that was posted ...

    Cheers Hilary

    1. It is annoying, Hilary, but he put it in our heads. Clever man.

  3. that is an excellent mishmash of phrases - thanks for posting this. I think I like "wear your heart on your sleeve" - that's a good one. I'll have to find out where it was used. Now I have something to do at work today - ha. Have a good week

    1. It is good, isn't it, Joanne. Can't claim credit for it myself. I believe heart on sleeve is from Othello.

  4. What a wonderful list of phrases-I use so many of them regularly. This list reminds me of a friend who told me that someone she knows said. "That writer Shakespeare has taken a lot of sayings and phrases that we use in English and used them in his plays" Petra.

    1. They are good, aren't they, Petra. It's so funny, the things that people say.

  5. Actually Ros I love the continuation of yours - the bit you didn't quote -I'm not giving it all but it's just so well described

    At first the infant,
    Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
    Then, the whining school-boy with his satchel
    And shining morning face, creeping like snail
    Unwillingly to school. ...........etc
    The sixth age shifts
    Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
    With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
    His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
    For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
    Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
    And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
    That ends this strange eventful history,
    Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
    Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

    Shana Tova Have a Happy, Healthy Sweet New year

    1. It is thought provoking, Ann, but which one have we now reached? Shana Tova to you too.

  6. Ros, one phrase in your list I often use is 'seen better days', so I thought I'd look up the context. It comes from As You Like It, and is rather a lovely speech where the Duke offers help to Orlando even though he and his fellow exiled courtiers have little to give

    Duke Senior:
    True is it that we have seen better days,
    And have with holy bell been knoll'd to church,
    And sat at good men's feasts, and wip'd our eyes
    Of drops that sacred pity hath engend'red;
    And therefore sit you down in gentleness,
    And take upon command what help we have
    That to your wanting may be minst'red.

    As You Like It Act 2, scene 7, 120–126

    I like it even more now!

  7. Wow.... in the first place, I never knew that these were from Shakespeare. And to think I use them regularly.


Thank you for commenting. I do love receiving comments. Your comment will be sent to me for moderation before appearing here.

If you do not have a Google account, click on the Google account box and select Anonymous. Spam comments are not accepted on this blog.