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William Shakespeare. A brief overview compiled by Rebekah Dement. “Silence is the perfectest herald of joy. I were but little happy if I could say how much.” -- Much Ado About Nothing. This is a quote from my favorite play by Shakespeare. Why?.

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william shakespeare

William Shakespeare

A brief overview compiled by Rebekah Dement


“Silence is the perfectest herald of joy.

I were but little happy if I could say how much.”

-- Much Ado About Nothing

This is a quote from my favorite play by Shakespeare.



  • Whether forced or voluntary, chances are most people have heard of William Shakespeare; his works are still being studied and performed to this day, nearly 400 years after they were written.
  • Samuel Johnson called Shakespeare the “just poet of general nature.” In essence, the themes expressed in Shakespeare’s plays are as applicable today as when they were first performed. He captured human nature at its best and worst, earning him fame that has spanned the centuries.
the plays
The Plays
  • His plays covered three main genres.
whether pensive and melancholy
Whether pensive and melancholy,

To be, or not to be: that is the question:

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep

No more; and by a sleep to say we end

The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;

To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause…


full of wit
Full of wit,

“I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me.”

--Much Ado About Nothing

or just plain mean
Or just plain mean,

“Peace, ye fat-kidneyed rascal!”

--Henry IV, part i


That’s harsh!

the sonnets
The Sonnets

Forget thee not my sonnets!

  • In addition to his plays, Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets.
sonnet 147
Sonnet 147

My love is as a fever, longing still

For that which nurseth the disease

Feeding on that which doth preserve the ill

The uncertain sickly appetite to please.

My reason, the physician to my love,

Angry that his prescriptions are not kept,

Hath left me, and I desperate now approve

Desire is death, which physic did expect.

Past cure I am, now reason is past care,

And frantic-mad with evermore unrest;

My thoughts and my discourse as madmen’s are,

At random from the truth vainly express’d;

For I have sworn the fair and thought thee bright,

Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.

good night sweet prince and flights of angels sing thee to they rest hamlet
“Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to they rest.” --Hamlet

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