'''[[center:Creator/{{Shakespeare}} Did It First!]]'''

He may not have been the TropeMaker, TropeNamer, TropeCodifier, or even the UrExample, but you can bet your bottom dollar that he did it before ''you!'' Whatever great invention, character or plot device you come up with, Shakespeare is always the guy who has already done it and done it better than you could ever hope to. Note that he wasn't the ''first'' to use a lot of these conventions, however he's ''the'' earliest writer most people know who used ''so many'' of them.

His fans have been aware of this long before the Internet. Horace Walpole, widely recognized as the inventor of the GothicHorror genre, proudly admitted he borrowed most of the ingredients for the Gothic recipe from his idol.

Shakespeare was not only the first to use many a trope, but the first troper. That is, the first to [[LampshadeHanging comment on it]]. Some examples:

* AmbitionIsEvil: Julius Caesar discusses Cassius:
-->''"Yond' Cassius has a lean and hungry look;\\
He thinks too much; such men are dangerous[...]\\
Such men as he be never at heart's ease\\
Whiles they behold a greater than themselves."''
* BadassBeard:
-->''"He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man;"'' (''Theatre/MuchAdoAboutNothing'')
* BelligerentSexualTension: Benedick and Beatrice from ''Theatre/MuchAdoAboutNothing''.
* EverythingsDeaderWithZombies: Prospero in ''Theatre/TheTempest'' boasts about being able to make dead people walk:
-->''"...graves at my command\\
Have waked their sleepers, oped and let 'em forth\\
By my so potent art."''
* EyeScream:
-->''"Out, vile jelly! Where is thy lustre now?"'' (''Theatre/KingLear'')
* FatalFlaw:
-->''"So, oft it chances in particular men,\\
That for some vicious mole of nature in them...\\
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,\\
Being nature's livery, or fortune's star,\\
Their virtues else ? be they as pure as grace,\\
As infinite as man may undergo?\\
Shall in the general censure take corruption\\
From that particular fault."'' (''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'')
* ForegoneConclusion: Shakespeare coined the phrase.
-->''"But this denoted a foregone conclusion: 'Tis a shrewd doubt, though it be [[AllJustADream but a dream]]."'' (''Theatre/{{Othello}}'')
* TheGrotesque:
-->''"Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time\\
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,\\
And that so lamely and unfashionable\\
That dogs bark at me as I halt by themó\\
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,\\
Have no delight to pass away the time,\\
Unless to see my shadow in the sun\\
And descant on mine own deformity."'' (''Theatre/RichardIII'')
* [[MilkingTheGiantCow Hamming It Up]]:
-->''"Nor do not saw the air too much with your hands, but suit the action to the word, the word to the action."'' (''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'')
* IBangedYourMom[=/=]YourMom [[note]]Yes, Shakespeare [[DoubleEntendre did your mom first.]][[/note]]:
-->'''Demetrius:''' Villain, what hast thou done?\\
'''Aaron:''' That which thou canst not undo.\\
'''Chiron:''' Thou hast undone our mother.\\
'''Aaron:''' Villain, I have ''done'' thy mother. (''Theatre/TitusAndronicus'')\\
'''Painter:''' Y'are a dog.\\
'''Apemantus:''' Thy mother's of my generation. What's she, if I be a dog? (''Theatre/TimonOfAthens'')
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall
-->''"If this were acted upon the stage I would condemn it as an improbable fiction."'' ''Theatre/TwelfthNight'')\\
''"How many ages hence shall this our lofty scene be acted over in states unborn and accents yet unknown!"'' (''Theatre/JuliusCaesar'')
* ManlyTears: Lampshaded by Macduff in ''Theatre/{{Macbeth}}''.
-->'''Macduff''': [[DespairEventHorizon All my pretty ones? Did you say all? O hell-kite! All? What, all my pretty chickens and their dam at one fell swoop?]]\\
'''Malcolm''': Dispute it like a man!\\
'''Macduff''': I shall do so; but I must also ''feel'' it as a man!
* {{MST3K Mantra}}:
-->''"Do not infest your mind with beating on\\
The strangeness of this business"'' (''Theatre/TheTempest'')
* NaughtyNuns in ''Theatre/MeasureForMeasure''
* OutDamnedSpot:
-->''"Out, damned spot! out, I say!"'' (''Theatre/{{Macbeth}}'')
* PreAssKickingOneLiner
-->'''Macduff''': Turn, hell-hound, turn! (''Theatre/{{Macbeth}}'')
* RealityIsUnrealistic:
-->"If this were play'd upon a stage now, I could condemn it as improbable fiction." (''Theatre/TwelfthNight'')
* RefugeInAudacity:
-->''"If we shadows have offended\\
Think but this, and all is mended\\
That you have but slumbered here\\
While these visions did appear\\
And this weak and idle theme,\\
no more yielding, but a dream\\
[...] Give me your hands, if we be friends\\
and Robin shall restore amend."''' (''Theatre/AMidsummerNightsDream'')
* RussianReversal:
-->''"I wasted time, and now doth time waste me."'' (''Theatre/RichardII'')
* ShowWithinAShow: Many times, most notably in ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'' and ''Theatre/AMidsummerNightsDream''.
* ShutUpKiss:
-->''"Peace, I will stop your mouth."'' (''Theatre/MuchAdoAboutNothing'')
* SnarkToSnarkCombat: Benedick and Beatrice of ''Much Ado About Nothing''.
* SweetPollyOliver: The Bard had ''five'' plays that made use of this plot - ''Theatre/AsYouLikeIt'', ''Theatre/TwoGentlemenOfVerona'', ''Theatre/TwelfthNight'', ''Theatre/TheMerchantOfVenice'', ''Theatre/{{Cymbeline}}'' - long before the TropeNamer was written.
* TeenDrama: ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet''.
* TeenyWeenie:
--> '''Sampson:''' I am a pretty piece of flesh!\\
'''Gregory:''' 'Tis well thou art not fish; if thou hadst, thou hadst been poor John[[note]]a tiny, pathetic dried fish[[/note]]. (''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'')
* TheSecretOfLongPorkPies: One RoaringRampageOfRevenge that comes with a free sample-platter is ''Theatre/TitusAndronicus''. Eat your heart out, SweeneyTodd.
* VillainProtagonist[=/=]ProtagonistJourneyToVillain: ''Theatre/{{Macbeth}}.'' Or, ''Theatre/RichardIII'' if you like them blacker than black from the start.
* WallBangHer: Discussed in this exchange at the beginning of ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'':
-->'''Sampson''': A dog of that house shall move me to stand: I will take the wall of any man or maid of Montague's.\\
'''Gregory''': That shows thee a weak slave, for the weakest goes to the wall.\\
'''Sampson''': 'Tis true, and therefore women being the weaker vessels are ever thrust to the wall: therefore I will push Montague's men from the wall, and ''thrust his maids to the wall''.
* WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief: InvokedTrope in the Prologue of ''Theatre/HenryV'', where the Chorus admits that it would be nigh impossible to recreate a field of battle full of soldeirs and horses, but asks the audience to play along anyway.

Quite possibly the ultimate proof of the truth of this law: Shakespeare has an example of a SockPuppet in ''Theatre/JuliusCaesar''. Yes, a character uses a [[OnlinePersonas made-up persona]] in a play set in ancient Rome and written in Elizabethan England. It's also used as an early example of [[AstroTurf Astroturfing]].

For virtually all other professions, an appropriate substitution would be 'Leonardo da Vinci did it first'. Seriously, look the guy up. He did just about everything you can do except being an accomplished author or famous rock star, and that was just because getting a decent scribe to take down his lengthy fictional masterpieces for him would have been quite expensive in 15th-Century Italy.

Dedicated in memory of TV Tropes founder William Shakespeare, who [[BlatantLies started every page on this site]].