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Life Lessons From Shakespeare

As I’m closing out the unit I am teaching on Romeo and Juliet, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about everything you can learn from reading Shakespeare. Did you think you would get to leave Shakespeare back in high school? Think again.


1. “Go wisely and go slowly. Those who rush stumble and fall.” Romeo and Juliet

This lovely quote from good ol’ R&J reminds us that we should take our time doing important things. Don’t rush into anything: if you move too quickly, you’ll end up ruining a good thing.

2. “Nothing will come of nothing.” King Lear

Nothing will ever happen to you if you don’t try to make it happen. If you do nothing, you’ll get nothing. If you do something to make your dreams happen, your chances of being successful grow exponentially.


3. “Self love is not so vile a sin as self neglecting.” Henry V

Love yourself. Seriously. You need to be confident with who you are, because who you are is great. The worst thing you can do is neglect yourself. You are priority number one. Before you can do great things for others, you need to do great things for yourself. Basically, Shakespeare is telling you to treat yo self.

4. “There is no darkness but ignorance.” Twelfth Night


Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance will never be bliss. Educate yourself on everything that you possibly can. If you have knowledge, you have the power to do anything else. You will only know darkness in the world if you do not have the desire to find the light.



5. “Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.” Hamlet

Listen to everything everyone has to say. You may learn something. Be mindful of others’ thoughts and opinions, and give everyone the same respect that you would wish to have. However, be careful what you say. Once it is said, you can never take it back.


6. “Brevity is the soul of wit.” Hamlet


Being my all time favorite, I couldn’t leave you with just one quote from Hamlet. Be brief and concise in all you have to say – people will remember you more for it. Include just enough information in everything you do that people will understand what you are saying, but may still want to hear more from you.


We can always learn from literature, and Shakespeare is one of the greatest examples. And remember: love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.

My name is Carly McRae and I'm a junior at Clemson University. I'm studying Secondary Education with an emphasis in English and am in denial that I'm more than halfway done with school. I'm a member of TakeNote, our female a cappella group, Clemson University Singers, as well as the Beta Kappa chapter of Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity. I love being a Clemson tiger and am so excited to be writing for Her Campus!
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