Shakespeare's memorable phrases?


Shakespeare gives his characters things to say that are always plausible and often memorable. (1)"It was Greek to me!" (2)"Lord, what fools these mortals be!" ... (3)"Put money in thy purse." (4)"A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!"

(1) and (2) are plausible and memorable to me. But even after reading the context and understading the meaning of them, I don't know why (3) and (4) are plausible or memorable. Are they have double meaning or very impressive? Could you please explain why?
*(3) from Othello Act 3, scene 3.
*(4) from Richard lll, Act 5, scene 4.
  • Ed the Editor

    Senior Member
    Hi Chobalsim,

    I'm glad you're reading Shakespeare. It must be puzzling sometimes if English isn't your native language, but he is the greatest dramatist the world has ever seen!

    (3) is memorable because the heartless villain Iago is deceiving foolish Roderigo, who is so in love with Othello's wife Desdemona that he threatens to drown himself because he can't have her. As Iago repeats "put money in thy purse," I'd say that he is telling Roderigo to live on, and make money, in the hopes that he can spend it on Desdemona later. Of course, Iago hates Othello, and he will use Roderigo's love for Desdemona as part of his plan to ruin Othello.

    (4) is memorable because the evil and feared tyrant Richard III has just been defeated in battle. He is no longer the powerful and feared king. And his own horse has just been killed. Now, he would give his kingdom (which he no longer has) just to have a horse on which he could escape, before he can be captured or killed.

    At least, those are my interpretations, as a former English teacher. I hope they're helpful to you.

    -- Ed


    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think that 1 and 4 are familiar to most people, even those who have never seen or read any Shakespeare. (We often say 'It was all Greek to me'. I must admit I hadn't heard 2 or 3.