Understanding Shakespearean Phrases

I have nothing new to write about William Shakespeare, the 16th century genius who revolutionized the world of literature. Still popularly and admirably known as The Bard, Shakespeare has given the world, among many gems, certain catch phrases that are being used in day-to-day journalism almost exceedingly, even after four centuries. The crux of the issue is that, while anyone is free to use his quotations, overusing often kills the true essence of the situation in which they were originally used. Here are three examples of those world-famous phrases.

To Be or Not to Be, That is the Question

The most powerful soliloquy from “Hamlet” might have given the world of words the most commonly used phrase adapted for various scenarios. In fact, the usage of this phrase has become so mundane that even for very small things such as whether you should cook vegetables today, people tend to use this sentence as a representation of some kind of dilemma. The phrase originally was written around the moral question of life and death, about whether embracing death on the grounds of escaping the bitterness of life is the right thing to do. Hence, it would probably be wise to reserve this quotation to be used in extremely critical decisions that are immensely difficult to take, rather than throwing it in just to prove your knowledge of popular quotes.

Et tu, Brute?

Other variations of this famous “Julius Caesar” quote include “Thou too, Brutus?”, “Even you, Brutus?”, and so on. Although there are debates on the use of this statement being the work of other authors before Shakespeare, it is still the Bard’s play that made the statement so well-known and so widely used. The original statement represents violent treachery and betrayal resulting in a leader’s death. However, in today’s journalism and also in day-to-day speeches, we find this phrase often being used in scenarios involving betrayal of the slightest importance. The strong emotion of betrayal that is evoked through this sentence does not always match with trivial activities in human social life.

Something’s Rotten in the State of Denmark

Another gem from “Hamlet”, although not as widely used as the statement number one above, is still widely popular. A representation of the first realization of grave situations and impending doom, this statement is not fit to be used for scenarios arising from barely affected conditions such as heavy rainfall one night (that does not cause much damage). Although apt for describing turbulent political conditions, it could also be potentially used well in foretelling natural catastrophes, a mass upheaval of animal habitat, and other incidents of such scale.

There are other generic statements by the Bard, for example, “All the world’s a stage” from the captivating play “The Merchant of Venice”, that are suitable to use in a wider range of scenarios. Even then, it is best not to overdo them, and save them for truly special occasions, in order to preserve their beauty.

This entry was posted in Books and tagged , . Bookmark the <a href="http://novelbooks.info/understanding-shakespearean-phrases" title="Permalink to Understanding Shakespearean Phrases" rel="bookmark">permalink</a>.

Comments are closed.