It turns out the characters in William Shakespeare’s plays are pretty relatable guys. Their experiences don’t look too unlike ours — Hamlet is an angsty teenager who slams his bedroom door on his mom, Romeo just wants to find bae in Juliet and Macbeth is understandably creeped out by three haggard, fortune-telling old ladies.
It seems like some of us haven’t quite realized just how much ol’ Billy Shakes sympathized with the college student’s lifestyle. To be, or not to be convinced to go out on a Tuesday? Shall I compare thee to a cancelled 8 a.m. lecture? This above all: to thine own alcohol tolerance be true. The guy had a knack for evoking timeless human struggles. Here’s the spark notes for incorporating the Bard’s words into conversations with your friends. You’ll be a hoot at parties.
1. “It is a great price for a small vice.” – Othello: Act 4, Scene 3
We’ve all had those moments when we’ve weighed the costs and benefits of doing something fantastically irresponsible. Let’s be honest: That extra hour of sleep is a small price to pay for that late-night milkshake run. Do it and deal with the consequences in the morning.
2. “Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell.” – Hamlet: Act 3, Scene 4
Believe me, nothing stings like a Shakespearean insult. In no other context could you be deemed a “scullion,” “rampallian” and a “fustilarian” in the same breath. So, use this one on someone who needs to see the exit door to your life — an insufferable T.A., a clingy ex or a hair in your dining hall mac and cheese.
3. “The bow is bent and drawn. Make from the shaft.” – King Lear: Act 1, Scene 1
This is what you can tell your roommate when she begs for forgiveness for–yet again–forgetting to do the dishes. It’s basically a gentler, more artful, “It’s about to go down.”
4. “Brevity is the soul of wit.” – Hamlet: Act 2, Scene 2
What do you do when you realize you’ve heard your friend’s “funny story” three times this week? How do you react when a professor drones on past the end of class? Simple: Use this phrase to tell them they have 30 seconds, tops. Your time is precious and there is beauty in concision. Besides, your Netflix queue can’t watch itself.
5. “This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.” – King Lear, Act 3, Scene 4
Translation: “Get ready. We’re going to get weird tonight.” What better pep talk to give the squad before going out or justification for your Netflix binge the night before that first 9 a.m. midterm.
6. “Though she is but little, she is fierce!” – A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Act 3, Scene 2
Bring this line out to play when people are unfairly underestimating you. Someone said you’ll never nail a presentation after pulling an all-nighter? Or that you simply can’t finish that last drink? Show them your ferocity.
7. “I like this place, / And willingly could waste my time in it.” – As You Like It: Act 2, Scene 4
This is the perfect thing to say when you’re into someone, but don’t want to seem too eager. Play it cool, people — indicate your interest first by saying you suppose you wouldn’t hate wasting time in the same space together.
8. “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” – A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Act 3, Scene 2
Ever had to work on a group project with three bumbling idiots? You’re better than that. When you realize your peers haven’t reached the level of divinity you have, why not turn your frustration into poetry? Take a page from Robin’s book and let your professor know you simply cannot work in those unfavorable conditions. Or, like, with foolish mortals.
9. “Hell is empty and the devils are here.” – The Tempest: Act 1, Scene 2
Finals. Enough said.
10. “I would not wish / Any companion in the world but you.” – The Tempest: Act 3, Scene 1
It’s the perfect way to remind bae how special he is to you. Or impress your friends by including this quote on your next batch of Valentine’s Day cards. Nothing says, “I care” like an impersonal cliché you found on Google. You Romeo, you.