"Brush up your ShakespeareUsing a phrase or character to Shakespeare's work. Often a Literary Allusion Title. This trope has been done to death, yet it continues to thrive. For one thing, Shakespeare wrote some really good lines. For another, reaching back to the Western past keeps Western authors grounded and helps maintain a cultural vocabulary for sharing ideas. It could be argued that a good deal of the English language is a shout out to Shakespeare, considering the amount of idioms and coinages he's responsible for. There's also the simple fact that Shakespeare's words and works have become so ingrained within western culture that many creators may end up quoting and referencing it without even realising that they're doing so. Besides naming things after lines from Shakespeare, books may begin with a quote by Shakespeare or some other source that lends an aura of erudition; another common source of these is the Bible. Or they might just use him as a character. Good Night, Sweet Prince and Alas, Poor Yorick are subtropes. When an entire work is adapted from a Shakespearian source, see The Bard on Board. See also The Zeroth Law of Trope Examples. For characters speaking in quotes of other authors or sources, see Speaks in Shout-Outs.
Start quoting him now
Brush up your Shakespeare
And the women you will wow!"
Start quoting him now
Brush up your Shakespeare
And the women you will wow!"
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All's Well That Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
- Irish poem An Chead Drama (The First Play/Drama) by Seán Ó Coisdealbha is based entirely on this, where life is a play written and directed by God, and Satan is the prompter trying to lead the actors astray.
Chum Dia dráma "gleann na ndeor"Agus thug sé páirt ann do go leorDráma fada ar stáitse mórAn Domhan.
- (God composed this drama "valley of tears" / And gave everyone a part / Long drama on the big stage / The world.)
- "All the world's a stage, its inhabitants merely actors. And thus, by definition, ponces," says the League Against Tedium in Attention Scum.
- A Very Potter Musical has a subtle one (apparently an Actor Allusion): "Snape is at the door and much importunes access to you."
- The basis of an observation in Calvin and Hobbes.
Calvin: "They say the world is a stage. But obviously the play is unrehearsed and everybody is ad-libbing his lines."Hobbes: "Maybe that's why it's hard to tell if we're living in a tragedy or a farce."Calvin: "We need more special effects and dance numbers."
- The same line is repeatedly quoted in Idlewild.
- "The world is a stage, and the play is badly cast." Oscar Wilde.
- In Pearls Before Swine, the dumb crocodiles try to get a "smart" croc to intimidate their would-be prey, the Zebra, with words. Instead, he apologizes to Zebra: "When I look upon my crocodile bretheren, I am reminded of the words of William Shakespeare, who said, to wit, 'Here come a pair of very strange beasts, which in all tongues are called fools.'"
- Rush, "Limelight:" "All the world's indeed a stage / and we are merely players / performers and portrayers / each another's audience outside the gilded cage."
- In the same episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that provides the Hamlet-quoting Patrick Stewart Speech below, Q begins the discussion of Shakespeare by misquoting As You Like It. Picard corrects him.
Q: Hear this, Picard, and reflect: "All the galaxy's a stage."
Picard: "World," not "galaxy;" "all the world's a stage."
Q: Oh, you know that one. Well, if he was living now, he would have said "galaxy."
- "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages." Dr Henry Killinger in The Venture Bros. Very chillingly delivered.
- From V for Vendetta (graphic novel), V to Evey as he prepares to meet Prothero: "All the world's a stage, and everything else...is vaudeville."
- "I believe it was Shakespeare who said, 'All the world's a stage, and you're crap!'" said Colin Mochrie in Whose Line Is It Anyway?.
- All the Disc's a stage, and all men and women merely players.
Except for those who sell popcorn." - Hwell the Playwright, Wyrd Sisters.
- Denis Norden may have originated the joke: "If all the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players, where do all the audiences come from?"
- And, of course, several of Shakespeare's shows themselves requote this line. Merchant of Venice, for example.
The Comedy Of Errors
- The terminal text in the Marathon Infinity secret level "Two for the Price of One" is lifted verbatim from Dromio of Ephesus' speech in Act 4, Scene 4.
- In Batman: Noel, as The Joker carries the unconscious Batman to his newly-dug grave, a narrator says, "Some people start hallucinating when they're about to die. In my book, if you're chasing beautiful women across rooftops and flying around with big colorful men that glow, somethin's rotten in Denmark."
- Beast Wars: "Tell my tale to those who ask. Tell it truly; the ill deeds along with the good, and let me be judged accordingly. The rest... is silence," says Dinobot before dying.
- In an earlier episode, Dinobot says: "Alas! Poor Tarantulas. I knew him, Cheetor." Dinobot was holding Tarantulas' severed spider legs though, not his severed head.
- Dinobot also tosses out a "To be or not to be, that is the question" when contemplating Free Will vs Fate.
- "How all occasions do inform against me" comes up often in Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis, they might as well be Arc Words. Polly Churchill chooses all her aliases from Shakespeare, and she falls in with a famous Shakespearean actor who constantly speaks in allusions to the Bard.
- The Anthony Burgess translation of Cyrano de Bergerac riffs off the "Oh that this too too solid flesh" speech as well as quoting "In thy orisons Be All My Sins Remembered."
- Darths & Droids #843 borrows the back half of a line:
Darth Vader: I have discovered Force powers never dreamt of in your philosophy.
- The Departed: Before an operation, Captain Queenan tells Collin that "readiness is all."
- Earlier, Costigan quotes Hawthorne. Dignam isn't impressed: [fart noise] "What's the matter, smartass, you don't know any fuckin' Shakespeare?"
- Dragon Ball Z
- In the FUNimation dub of one episode, Frieza says to Vegeta, "Good Night, Sweet Prince" before attempting to finish him off.
- Another episode's original title says, "Savior, Thy Name Is Son Gohan!!" (a parody of the line "Frailty, thy name is woman"), though the FUNimation dub renamed it as "A Great Fighter, His Name Is Gohan".
- Emilie Autumn:
- "Opheliac" quotes a big part of Hamlet in "Doubt thou the stars are fire/Doubt thou the sun doth move/Doubt truth to be a liar/But never doubt I love." But then, the song is basically a tribute to Hamlet's Ophelia, so this was to be expected.
- "Goodnight Sweet Ladies" takes its name from a quote from Ophelia.
- Five Iron Frenzy references Hamlet's famous soliloquy in their song "Against a Sea of Troubles". Where the Danish prince used the words to contemplate suicide, FIF uses them to signal defiance against the world until the bitter end.
- Frasier: An episode is titled "Roz's Krantz And Gouldenstein Are Dead". This is a reference to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (whose title is itself a line from Hamlet).
- Futurama: "Something is rotten on the planet Wormulon," says Leela in "Fry and the Slurm Factory".
- Gettysburg: Hamlet's "What a piece of work is man" speech is said by a fictionalized version of Joshua Chamberlain.
- The Major from the Hellsing Ultimate OVA quotes Hamlet, although instead of saying "there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy" he says "there are more things in heaven and hell then are dreamt of in their philosophy"
- Horatio Hornblower
- In "The Duel", Clayton refers to the play when he talks with Hornblower about suicide.
Clayton: Damned unsporting of the Everlasting to have fixed his canon 'gainst self-slaughter, if you ask me.
- In "Retribution", Lieutenant Kennedy reports the result of Mr Bush's shot on a Spanish ship by shouting "A hit, a hit, a palpable hit!" paraphrasing Osric's "a hit, a very palpable hit".
- In "The Duel", Clayton refers to the play when he talks with Hornblower about suicide.
- In Kappa Mikey Mikey auditions for a very odd version of the play called Hamlet the Christmas Giraffe. He has a skull on hand, needless to say.
- The title and chapter-opening epigraphs of The King of Shreds and Patches are all from Hamlet, appropriately enough for a horror game where a good portion of the action centers around the play's first premiere. (The titular King, however, is an avatar of The King in Yellow.)
- British statesman Lord Chesterfield's opinion in Letters to His Son: "for, To BE, or NOT To BE, is a question of much less importance, in my mind, than to be or not to be well." (letter 235)
- There are a ton of references to Hamlet in the Marathon trilogy. Marathon 2 has a level entitled "The Slings & Arrows of Outrageous Fortune". Marathon Infinity has a level called "Poor Yorick". In the level "Rise Robot Rise", Tycho compares Durandal and himself, respectively, to Claudius and Hamlet, "only I'm not crazy".
- Another M*A*S*H example: Winchester, at the end of the "Dreams" episode. "To sleep, perchance to dream." Thus encouraging everyone to get another cup of coffee.
The bard of Avon said it best: "To sleep, perchance to dream...Aye, 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." And if the dreams of the dead must give us pause...what then of the dreams of the living? For example, the dreams of Charles Xavier?
- An issue of Uncanny X-Men from 1975 has this speech in its opening narration.
- Winchester again referenced Hamlet on two other occasions. Once, after Hawkeye and BJ misquoted a number of Shakespearian lines for fun, Winchester quipped, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio..." prompting Hawkeye to announce, "If there's one thing I hate it's someone who butchers Shakespeare.". Later, in the episode "Private Finance", when suspecting a dead soldier of criminal activities, Winchester commented, "Methinks something's rotten in the state of Ouijongbu."
- The Archie Mega Man comics feature the Old Cop, Young Cop pair of Roslyn Krantz and Gilbert D. Stern.
- The Mighty Boosh: Howard offers death-related quotes, and at one point the 'Death, the undiscovered country' soliloquy.
- In Nanki-Poo's famous song in The Mikado, the line "A thing of shreds and patches" echoes Hamlet's line, "A king of shreds and patches."
- And the book The 13 Clocks has its hero quote Nanki-Poo, thereby also quoting Shakespeare.
- Eric from Morecambe and Wise decided to do Hamlet's soliloquy because drama makes more money than comedy. After Ernie interrupting him, he eventually starts: "To be or not to be. That is the question. ... Thank you." He bows and leaves. Ernies then explains that there's more to it than that, so Eric goes back to doing comedy (after the skull comments that the entire thing was rubbish).
- A section of My Darling Clementine concerns Granville Thorndyke, a ham-actor with a reputation as a Shakespearean: he skips out of his scheduled appearance in a modern play in favor of drunkenly quoting Hamlet in the local saloon. Midway through his mediocre recitation of the "To be or not to be" soliloquy, he loses his place and asks for a cue. On hearing Doc Holliday speak the next line — much better than he can — Thorndyke refuses to continue. Holliday finishes the soliloquy, imbuing it with a pathos drawn from his own death wish.
- In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode "The Screaming Skull," Tom says, "Alas, poor Yorick; she threw him well!"
- Jack makes this reference in The Nightmare Before Christmas during "Jack's Lament."
Jack: And since I am dead, / I can take off my head / to recite Shakespearean quotations!
- In The Return of the Pink Panther:
Clouseau: Cato, something is rotten in the state of Denmark!Cato: Switzerland?Clouseau: Yes, that too.
- Power Rangers Ninja Storm featured this memorable exchange:
Lothor: "...there's something rotten in the state of Denmark..."Marah: I thought they were in California?Lothor: ...it's Shakespeare. Read a book.Kapri: Technically it's a play...
- The Princess Diaries: The second movie has Lilly referring to Mia's chambermaids as 'Rosencrantz' and 'Guildenstern'.
- Professor Mmaa's Lecture: Two royal agents Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
- At the end of Revenge of the Sith, the late Padme Amidala is actually laid out in a similar way to how Ophelia died by drowning for her funeral in Naboo after she has been strangled to death by her own husband Anakin Skywalker Darth Vader due to him completely falling to the Dark Side.
- In Ruddigore, Robin quotes "Alas, poor ghost!" Also, his faithful servant Adam is named after a similar character in As You Like It.
- An exchange on Salute Your Shorts is inspired by Hamlet's observation that "a man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm" and therefore that "a king may go a progress through the guts of a beggar."
Pinsky: Think about it. When you die they stick you in the ground and it's the worms that eat you up!Z.Z.: Then somebody digs up the worms that ate you and use to catch fish which somebody else eats.Donkeylips: So wait a second guys, when we had fish sticks the other night, I could have eaten a fish, that ate a worm, that ate Elvis?Z.Z.: You could be burping up the King as we speak!
- There is a SpongeBob SquarePants episode called "The Play's The Thing".
- Used many, many times in all Star Trek (not just Next Generation) Notably in the sixth movie, The Undiscovered Country, with the famous quote that to truly appreciate Shakespeare, you need to hear it "in the original Klingon."
- "What a piece of work is a man; how noble in reason; how infinite in faculty, in form and moving how express and admirable in action; how like an angel in apprehension; how like a god."
- Picard proves he knows Shakespeare in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Even more impressive, Picard also notes to Q that while Hamlet said it ironically, he says it with conviction. Patrick Stewart has been in two productions of Hamlet, both in which he played Claudius, and was originally trained as a Shakespearean actor.
- Hair uses it for song lyrics.
- In Advance Wars: Dual Strike, Sonja can give that speech verbatim, then muses that she said something meaningful and asks someone to write it down.
- Done awesomely in Coraline. Especially since they were saying it ironically, though Coraline and unfamiliar viewers wouldn't know it at the time.
- "Neither a borrower nor a lender be," quotes Carey Martin in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.
- The chairman of Apocalypse, Inc. says almost the same thing in The Toxic Avenger Part II to a homeless woman asking for a dollar, specifically attributing the quote to Shakespeare. She then responds with quote from David Mamet: "Fuck you."
- As does "Twilight" Suzuka in Outlaw Star (at least, in the English dub), in response to Gene's request to borrow money from her.
- Frank Burns uses the line (rather inaptly) to Radar in a Mash episode.
- Super Street Fighter IV: Juri's ending includes a rather appropriate use of the phrase 'Goodnight sweet prince'.
- True Romance: "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."
- Withnail & I has Withnail quoting the 'I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth' speech.
- And thereby proving he's actually a good actor
- Quite a few in The Wolfman (2010), considering Lawrence is an actor in this version whose most recent play was Hamlet and the references and parallels to the play are played pretty creepily in the film. And Hamlet was famously played by Sir Lawrence Olivier.
- While Wyrd Sisters is most obviously Macbeth as noted below, the Ghost of the Murdered King seeking revenge, and the idea of guilting the Duke with a play that duplicates the events of the murder are both straight from Hamlet.
- Ned Martin, a radio announcer for baseball's Boston Red Sox in the 1960s and '70s, was fond of using Claudius' "O Gertrude, when sorrows come, they come not single spies but in battalions" when things went bad for the team.
- "To thine own self be true": Nobody ever remembers that the line is supposed to be ironic in context.
- In Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, as said by Leslie.
- Heather in Clueless
- Des McGrath in The Last Days of Disco
- Renaissance Man: Bill
- Merrily We Roll Along has the protagonist quote this in his graduation speech. (This was incorporated from the original play into the musical, but then deleted.)
- Arrested Development: "Well, it's like the Ten Commandments say. 'Be true to thine ownself, and to thine own self..." "Be true. Yeah. Number seven."
- Peer Gynt: "Out there, under the radiant sky, they say 'To thine own self be true.' But here, in the world of trolls, we say 'To thine own self be—all-sufficient!'"
- "Words, words, words":
- In Borderlands 2, Psychos have a random chance of reciting the "too solid flesh" soliloquy in its entirety if you let them. Appropriate, since Psychos love to scream about meat and flesh in general, plus the soliloquy contains the word "Hyperion", the name of the Mega Corp. whose CEO is the game's Big Bad.
Henry IV Part 2
- In Icebound the Judge says "Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown" to Ben after Ben is given sole control of the Jordan family estate.
- The title Band of Brothers comes from the Saint Crispin's Day speech: "we few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he to-day that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother".
- The Saint Crispin's Day speech is (mis)quoted in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (episode "The Gift"):
Giles: We few, we happy few...
Spike: We band of buggered.
- In Dawn of War, one of the Space Marine commander's lines is, "Who stands with me shall be my brother".
- In The Dinosaur Lords, when the Final Battle of book 2 is about to commence, Rob murmurs to himself "once more unto the breach", even though there's no breach in sight.
- Hidden Frontier has a fan-favourite speech in which 'Once more unto the breach' is used to inspire the Starfleet crews to similarly defend their homes and families. Which is odd, because the breach in question is one the English have made in the walls of Harfleur, so that they can attack French homes and families.
- In Horatio Hornblower, Midshipman Kennedy's line "we few, we fortunate few! Keene has recommended our transfer to the... Indefatigable" very much resembles King Henry's line "we few, we happy few, we band of brothers".
- Jailbreak: The hero attempts to quote Shakespeare and was clearly going for Henry V, but doesn't actually know any lines.
- Zaheer's speech in the finale of book three of The Legend of Korra, about ending the avatar cycle, is rather reminiscent of the Saint Crispin's Day Speech.
So we luckynote few, this Band of Brothers and sisters [...]
- In The Legend of Total Drama Island, Noah rallies his team with an original blank verse speech based on the "St. Crispin's Day" speech.
- When Mick Foley was being interviewed as Mankind, relatively early in his WWF/WWE run, he was asked about taking part in death matches, barbed wire matches, and the like. Foley responded with the St. Crispin's day speech — not perfectly, but close enough — and making it creepy as hell.
- Phineas and Ferb: "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers...and the girl across the street."
- In Sports Night, Dan reminds Casey that he once recited the St. Crispin's Day speech when they were first paired together as anchors. Later in the episode, Casey apparently does it in the broadcast to fill up time, though we don't see it.
- The Saint Crispin's Day speech is performed by Mr. Fabian on stage in the film Tombstone.
- Star Trek:
- "Once more unto the breach, dear friends" (Act III, Scene 1) shows up in quite a few Star Trek settings, including words uttered by Chang in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and as the title of an episode in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
- The Next Generation episode "The Defector" begins with Data performing Henry V (to Picard's approval) as part of his ongoing attempts to understand the human condition. The rest of the episode alludes to the play's King Incognito plot multiple times, with Picard quoting it directly once.
Picard: "Now if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it."
- Empire Earth has a level where you play as Henry V, so includes a few of the play's lines as dialogue.
Henry VI Part 2
- The Eagles' song "Get Over It" contains the lyric, "The more I think about it, old Billy was right/Let's kill all the lawyers, kill them tonight".
- A Running Gag in Astérix is that Caesar is always saying "Et tu, Brute?", and it's getting on Brutus's nerves. "One of these days, I'll..."
- Et tu, Jimmy?
- The title of the Frederick Forsyth novel The Dogs of War is taken from the line "Cry 'havoc', and let slip the dogs of war." (3.1 273)
- The 1984 Charles Bronson action movie The Evil That Men Do.
- In All About Eve, Margo remembers the first part of the "evil that men do" quote, but can't quite remember the second part.
- The Fantasticks: when Henry boasts of his acting ability El Gallo asks him to do "Friends, Romans, Countrymen." Henry fucks it up.
- The Fault in Our Stars' title comes from a line in Act I, Scene II.
- Iron Maiden has a song called "The Evil That Men Do". Bruce Dickinson sometimes uses the quote "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones" (3.2 77-8) with the two lines reversed.
- "Et tu, Humanite?" from Justice League episode "Injustice For All".
- In a form of Shout-Out Theme Naming, the dub-name of the main character's father from Kimba the White Lion is named Caesar, while a villain who had a bitter past with him is named Cassius.
- The Mr. Bogus episode "Et Tu, Brattus?" is a reference to the line from Act III Scene I, "Et tu, brute!"
- "Et tu, Gabby Gums?" from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Ponyville Confidential".
- In an episode of The Odd Couple the Trigger Phrase for Oscar's post hypnotic suggestion to be neat is "The fault likes not in our stars but in ourselves."
- A Patsy Walker comic has Hellcat quoting mostly right a Brutus soliquoy from Act 4 while being swept by a wave◊:
There is a tide in the affairs of men, wWhich, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the something something is uh, tied to shallows and in miseries. [...] On such a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves or lose our ventures.
- In Pearls Before Swine, Rat gets a job writing horoscopes and writes, "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in the stars, but in ourselves." When Goat tells him that Shakespeare already wrote that, he responds, "Good literature is not a race."
- One of Ray Stevens' albums is titled Lend Me Your Ears.
- Unlike Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, where Caesar is given that name after he picks out of a dictionary, Rise of the Planet of the Apes has the chimp being named by the father of the human protagonist starting to quote Julius Caesar once he sees the baby ape.
- Done interestingly in Rome. The scene of Caesar's death is an incredibly tense, violent and brilliantly acted scuffle, almost free of dialogue — Caesar doesn't say "Et tu, Brute?" or anything else while he's dying, since he's too busy spasming and bleeding to death all over the marble senate floor. Instead they went with Plutarch's version of events, where he pulls his toga over his face (or tries to). However, once he's twitched his last and the conspirators are standing around shaking and silent, Cassius raises Brutus' arm and declaims, "Thus ever for tyrants!" Brutus doesn't take it well.
- It gets better. Instead of seeing Brutus and Antony give the legendary speeches to the plebeians, we see the aftermath, where a smug Antony sarcastically consoles Brutus for giving a good speech but perhaps "a bit too cerebral" for the crowd to appreciate. Later, a pleb describes the speeches to his friends, showing yet another perspective of these famous monologues without showing us exactly what happened.
- In the next episode when Brutus goes home — thoroughly regretting his part in the whole thing — and realizes his co-conspirators are considering killing Antony too, his mother encourages him to do it, and he responds, "You too, Mother?"
- "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!" The first part is occasionally left out.
- Harry in Half A Sixpence
- Robin in Robin Hood: Men in Tights
Robin: Lend me your ears!
(popping sounds, followed by ears being thrown at him)
Robin: ... That's disgusting.
- Warren in Roman Scandals
- Major Hogan in Sharpe's Eagle
- SpongeBob in Spongebob Squarepants: "Friends, students, juvenile delinquents..."
- Elan in The Order of the Stick.
- Phineas in Phineas and Ferb: "Friends, bullies, Irving..."
- Rinse the Blood Off My Toga:
Mark Antony: I'm Mark Antony.
Flavius: Mark Antony?
Mark Antony: Yes. I just made a speech over the body of Caesar. I said, "Friends, Romans and countrymen, lend me your ears!"
Flavius: Yeah... What have you got in that sack?
Mark Antony: Ears.
- Mrs. Henscher, the local drama teacher in ParaNorman, yells the famous "dogs of war" line at one point, only to discover her compatriots aren't familiar with the reference.
Mrs. Henscher: (beat) Let's tear 'em apart!
- As if "I Am The Walrus" wasn't bizarre enough, at the end part of a BBC radio production of King Lear was mixed in live. The part they got was Act 4, Scene 6, from Oswald's Final Speech to Edgar saying, "Sit you down, father; rest you."
- In the first episode of Garth Marenghis Darkplace, a title card appears (in the middle of a scene), reading "This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen." It's actually somewhat appropriate, which is immediately ruined by the fact it cites King Lear, p46 rather than an act and scene, demonstrating just how much of a hack writer Garth Marenghi is.
- In The Lost World, the T-rex attacks a San Diego video store, in which a poster for a King Lear movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger can be briefly glimpsed.
- In the graphic novel Preacher, protagonist Jesse Custer greets a storm with a cry of "blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow! You cataracts and hurricanoes!" and a sheepish admission of "always wanted to do that".
- President Bartlet on The West Wing has three daughters, but it's the middle one, Ellie, with whom he has the difficult relationship. In the episode named after her, the Surgeon General says in an Internet chat that generally speaking marijuana isn't worse for you than cigarettes, and the White House is planning to fire her when Ellie (a medical student herself) sticks her oar in by telling the press her father would never fire a doctor for giving accurate if impolitic medical information to the public. Bartlet has a fight with her, assuming she did it just to give him a hard time and demanding to know why she isn't always on his side like her sisters. Later, reflecting, he mentions King Lear and says that, after all, it was actually a nice thing she said about him.
- The West Wing borrows a lot from King Lear, especially in the earlier seasons. Leo takes the Earl of Kent's role (Bartlet's oldest friend, more pragmatic where Bartlet is idealistic), Charlie is the Fool (younger and less educated than other characters but wise, father-son relationship with Bartlet), the Vice President is Edmund (hungry for power that he feels he is owed, somthing of a schemer).
- In The Wheel of Time, one character is described as "a king in every inch of him."
- In Beauty and the Beast "Screw your courage to the sticking place" is heard when the villagers storm the castle.
- Macbeth is a villain in Disney's Gargoyles, as are the Weird Sisters. In an interesting twist on the original prophecy, Macbeth can still be killed "by no man of woman born" because he is bound to live so long as Demona (a Gargoyle) does not kill him (and vice-versa in Demona's case). Gargoyles hatch from eggs. It should also be noted that Macbeth is more in line with the real life Macbeth than Shakespeare's character and Lady Macbeth is never an antagonist. Word of God has stated that he planned an episode where the characters had to act out the play Macbeth.
- In Harry Potter, the most famous band in the Wizarding world is called the Weird Sisters.
- In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the Weird Sisters provide live entertainment for the Yule Ball.
- Tonks is also a Weird Sisters fan.
- In the film version of Prisoner of Azkaban, the song "Double Trouble" is composed of lines from the Three Witches' chant.
- The witch from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past also sings/chants a couple of these lines while "making mushroom brew."
- In Marcus Pitcaithly's The Hereward Trilogy, a chapter entitled "Daggers in Men's Smiles" contains a flashback to the death of Macbeth. It doesn't go quite as in the play, though.
- In Jane Eyre, Mr Rochester quotes from Macbeth (the part with the witches).
- In Princess Ida, Melissa claims her mother could not say that the three girl students are men because "'are men' stuck in her throat," spoofing a line from Macbeth II.ii.
- Star Fox 64 has the planet Macbeth, which according to the official Nintendo Player's Guide has its own Birnam Wood, though Andross had most of it cleared away in order to build his weapons factory.
- Wyrd Sisters is essentially Macbeth Discworld-style, and from the point of view of the witches. Naturally includes such lines as:
As the cauldron bubbled, an eldritch voice shrieked, "When shall we three meet again?"...
Another voice said, in far more ordinary tones, "Well, I can do next Tuesday."
- A Halloween-themed commercial for Empire Carpets spoofs the Weird Sisters' incantation. A witch stirs her cauldron, saying, "Boil, boil, toil and trouble/Time to call Empire on the double!"
- The ents in The Lord of the Rings and their march upon Isengard is one big shout out to Macbeth. Tolkien was simply disappointed that Great Birnham Wood didn't actually rise and come against Macbeth.
- In Bored of the Rings, Goodgulf chants a Parody Magic Spell which finishes:
Toil and trouble
The Merchant of Venice
- Battlestar Galactica:
Roslin: You have your pound of flesh.
- In the second expansion to Civilization V, Venice's unique replacement for the Great Merchant unit is called a Merchant of Venice.
- In the Buffy episode "I Only Have Eyes For You", a poltergeist is haunting Sunnydale High, and it turns out to be the ghost of a student who had an affair with his teacher, only to kill her and himself when she rejected him. Buffy has no sympathy for the student, saying he should spend the rest of his life in prison. Xander's reaction is, "The quality of mercy is not Buffy".
- Cracked has one in a parody in "The 9 Most Utterly Insane Products Released by Famous Brands":
"If you prick us, do we not stomp your teeth into the curb?"
- The Critic:
Keanu Reeves: (as Shylock in a film adaptation) Hath not a dude eyes? If you prick us, do we not get bummed? If we eat bad guacamole, do we not blow chunks?
- This Dilbert comic.
Tina: If you prick us, do we not bleed like engineers?
- And in Discworld.
Rock: If you prick us, do we not bleed?
CMOT Dibbler: Err, no. You're made of stone.
Rock: Aha, but if I had blood, I'd bleed buckets!
- Family Guy
Brian: Does a dog not feel? If you scratch him, does his leg not shake?
- This speech is parodied by the gargoyles in Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
- An episode of the German import of Monty Python's Flying Circus featured a scene of Venice... as performed by cows.
- Subverted in Neverwhere.
Mr. Croup: ... if you prick us, do we not bleed?
Mr. Vandemar: Erm, no.
- The New Yorker satirized the Citizens United ruling with a cartoon where a lawyer asks the judges, "If you prick a corporation, does it not bleed? If you tickle it, does it not laugh? If you poison it, does it not die?"
- "If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?" (III.i) is quoted in The Pianist. Later, a character is seen reading the play; he bought it because it was appropriate for the situation.
- The lines "The quality of mercy is not strain'd/It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven" is quoted in several books by P. G. Wodehouse.
- "The man that hath no music in himself/Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils" also comes up a few times; in Thank You, Jeeves Bertie quotes it to defend his banjolele-playing when the neighbors in his flat start complaining.
- This line is also paraphrased by Psychopomp Mr. Coffee in On the Verge.
- In Se7en the serial killer literally takes a pound of flesh from a victim. He makes the guy chose the spot it is taken from, just like in the play.
- Silver on the Tree:
Merriman: If you prick us, we bleed, if you tickle us, we laugh—only, if you poison us, we do not die, and there are certain feelings and perceptions in us that are not in you.
- That quote is something of an arc-word in the dark comedy To Be or Not to Be, and it's ironically paraphrased at one point by The Quisling to argue that "Nazis are people too".
- Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is one of the few films to quote The Merchant of Venice but NOT "If you prick us..." Wonka's line "So shines a good deed in a weary world" comes from Act 5, Scene 1.
- Beast quotes the same speech during his trial in an early episode of X-Men.
Beast: ... if you prick us, do we not bleed?
Judge: Don't tempt these people, Mr. McCoy.
- Also parodied in 3rd Rock from the Sun when Harry interrupts a sci-fi convention to rave about their portrayal of aliens. ("Hath not an alien eyes or buttocks?")
- Babylon 5 has an episode called "The Quality of Mercy."
- One of the songs for the soundtrack of ''Dead Man Walking" (by Michelle Shocked) is called "The Quality of Mercy".
A Midsummer Night's Dream
- When Emma Woodhouse from Emma imagines that her matchmaking goes along splendidly, she quotes "the course of true love never did run smooth" and jokes that this line would require a note in Highbury edition of the play.
- Oberon, Titania, and Puck all make an appearance in Gargoyles (Word of God is that God really likes Shakespeare) and Oberon is king of the Third Race.
- The Discworld novel Lords and Ladies has several references, most notably the Lancre Morris Men as the Rude Mechanicals ("Bum!") and the final confrontation between the Elf King and the Elf Queen involving "something about meeting by moonlight".
- The one-act play Perchance To Dream is centered around a rather terrible production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, and characters frequently quote other plays by Shakespeare as well.
- Princess Tutu had an episode with a girl named Hermia (who dresses like a donkey and calls herself Bottom) who was in love with a man named Lysander.
- In the Rainbow Magic series, the fairy king and queen are named Oberon and Titania. The ball in the first series of books is the Midsummer Ball, as well.
- The school play in The Spectacular Spider-Man is A Midsummer Night's Dream. Green Goblin even quotes a few of Puck's lines. Oh, did we mention the guy writing this episode is Greg Weisman?
- Weisman loves this trope so much he actually used it for foreshadowing. In the school play, Harry Osborn was to play the role of Puck, and was one of the big suspects for being the Green Goblin. At the time of the play, Harry was absent (which forced them to use the understudy) and the Goblin was off doing evil and quoting Puck. Turned out to be a Red Herring, but excellent touch.
- A Mickey Mouse Works short of the same name spoofed this play, with Mickey and his friends taking on the roles of the characters in a dream sequence.
- The Other Kingdom has the fairy king and queen named Oberon and Titania, and the first episode is titled "What Fools These Mortals Be."
- Angel's "Soulless" includes Angelus comparing Gunn and (Wini)Fred to Othello and Desdemona, respectively, and Wesley to Cassio. They were involved in a love triangle for over a season, in which Fred chose Gunn over Wes, but Wes and Fred had feelings for each other at this point and Gunn recently walked in on them kissing. This is also a reference to Angelus pitting the team against each other (like Iago) and Gunn who is the black guy and feels as though his skills are going unrecognized.
- In Aladdin, the villain's parrot sidekick is named Iago. Which, considering it's set centuries before Shakespeare was even born, is just another ingredient of the delicious Anachronism Stew that Aladdin serves up.
- One of the Dino Attack agents in Dino Attack RPG is named Desdemona.
- In Dom Casmurro the main character watches it in the theater.
- Iago from Fire Emblem Fates is very much like his namesake from Othello, being an adviser who hates the main character and tries to make them as miserable as possible.
- The Gargoyles arch involving Coldstone borrows heavily from Othello. Coldstone is in the role of Othello, Goliath is Cassius, the antagonist gargoyle (Coldsteel) is credited as Iago initially, and the female (Coldfire) is credited as Desdemona originally.
- The father in Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night professes a love for Shakespeare, and for Othello in particular. The reason for this is because he "bought the play," meaning that he'd make a lot of money but he would have to do the same play for the rest of his acting career.
- Baron Sardonicus and Sir Cargrave bring up Iago while discussing about evil characters in Shakespeare's work during dinner in Mr. Sardonicus.
- The titular character of Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf quotes Othello when she thinks to herself that "if it were now to die 'twere now to be most happy."
- In The Punisher (2004), the title character's plan for revenge against the man who killed his family is very similar to Iago's plan against Othello.
- Tosca: In his first scene, Scarpia explicitly compares himself to Iago, apparently for no other reason than to make sure that the audience knows who the bad guy is from the start.
- The Muse song "Knights of Cydonia" contains the lyrics:
How can we win / when fools can be kings?/ Don't waste your time/ or time will waste you.
- Richard II is about a rather foolish king, whose final soliloquy contains the line "I wasted time, and now doth time waste me."
- The Scarlet Pimpernel has Sir Percy quoting John of Gaunt's "this blessed plot/ this earth, this realm, this England" speech before going before Chauvelin's firing squad.
- In the Total Drama story, Legacy, one chapter begins with the quote,
For God's sake, let us sit upon the groundAnd tell sad stories of the deaths of kings;Some deposed, some slain in war...
- Once when Stephen Colbert substituted for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show he introduced the show;
"I'm sitting in for Jon Stewart, and here's the thing...Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous, by drunken prophecies, libels and dreams, to set Comedy Central and Jon Stewart in deadly hate, the one against the other; and if Comedy Central be as true and just as I am subtle, false, and treacherous, this day should Jon Stewart closely be mewed up."
Romeo and Juliet
- The Arctic Monkeys song "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" from Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not has an obscure reference in an otherwise upbeat, superficial song:
Oh there ain't no love no, Montagues or Capulets
Just banging tunes and DJ sets
- Peggy Lee's Fever mentions several forbidden romances, including Romeo and Juliet:
Romeo loved Juliet
Juliet she felt the same
When he put his arms around her
He said, "Julie baby you're my flame"
- Blue Oyster Cult's Don't fear the Reaper mentions that Romeo and Juliet are "together in eternity".
- The line is brought up in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle after discovering that Dylan's former name was "Helen Zaas".
- "Oh, Romeo...Catch!"
- In Dino Attack RPG, as he was emerging from his Angst Coma, one of the thoughts flying through Rex's head was "Then I defy you, stars!"
- When playing as Venice in Europa Universalis III, you get prompted with a message to expand your territory, before being asked "Why not fair Verona, where we lay our scene?"
- In the 1993 film Gettysburg, Longstreet asks Harrison, a former actor, if he can spy the Union's position at night, Harrison quotes Juliet: "all the world will be in love with night and pay no worship to the garish sun."
- Romeo and Juliet makes part of the song "Flesh Failures" in the rock musical Hair.
- In Irregular Webcomic!, the sysadmin and Linux-user Mercutio to his co-workers (who prefer Windows or Mac OS): "A curse on both your OSs"
- And in Good Omens, this line is misquoted by Wensleydale as "A plaque on both your houses!"
- The White Deer by James Thurber: "A plague on both your horses!"
- In the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Ties That Bind" Granny Goodness forces Mister Miracle and Big Barda to help rescue Kalibak from Virman Vundabar. When the two are about to finish off Granny Goodness in the end, Martian Manhunter points out the Enemy Civil War needs to continue. Scott remarks, "A curse on both their houses."
- "Not if you call them 'Stench-Blossoms'." "Or 'Crap-Weeds'."
- The Sims 2 has the town of Veronaville, which is named for the town of Verona in Shakespeare's work. It also has a pair of Feuding Families named the Montys and Capps, with a pair of Star-Crossed Lovers named Romeo and Juliette.
- "What light from yonder window breaks.... That window over there, dummy!"
- "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo? Oh, There's Romeo!"
- The Tick made references to the "What's in a name" line.
- "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet?" says Susie Barton in Time Flies.
- From the UK version of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, one session of Number Of Words involved the four players reenacting the final scene, with a handicap reducing all their lines to two to six words long. Stephen Fry, who got the largest number (six) managed to work around it in a noticeably rigid fashion, uttering lines like "Once a Capulet, Always a Capulet!", "You love Romeo? You love Romeo?!" and the immortal line "I'm going to count to six."
- An entire boss fight in the Karazhan instance of World of Warcraft is an homage to Romeo and Juliet, featuring "Romulo" and "Julianne." The two even make quotes from various acts in the play throughout the fight.
- "Wherefore art thou, Romeo?" Of course, "Romeo" is often replaced with another character's name. Though "wherefore" means "why", most parodies forget that.
- The Hunger Games: The "Star crossed lovers" and the use of the Romeo and Juliet theme as the Mockingjay signal.
- RuneScape had a (now removed) beginner's quest based around getting Romeo and Juliet together.
- Maxwell Anderson's political satire Both Your Houses takes its title from Mercutio's famous line.
- One young man in Dead Poets Society tries to impress a girl by reciting Sonnet 18. ("Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?...") He goes on to claim he wrote it...
- Doctor Who contained a veiled reference to Sonnet 57 (among many, many less subtle references, natch) in the episode featuring the Bard himself.
- Proust's masterpiece In Search of Lost Time has been published in English under the title Remembrance of Things Past, a line from Sonnet 30. ("When to the sessions of sweet silent thought...")
- The Marathon Infinity level "Poor Yorick" (itself a Shakespeare reference) has a secret terminal that consists entirely of the text from Sonnet No. 131.
- In an episode of My So-Called Life, Mr. Katimsky's class discusses Sonnet #130 (the one that begins, "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun"), which leads both Brian and Jordan to make a realization about Angela.
- Kate Wilhelm's Hugo-winning novel Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang, whose title is taken from Sonnet 73. ("That time of year thou mayest in me behold...")
- In In a Lonely Place , the drunken Classically Trained Extra who stumbles down the stairs in Steele's apartment quotes from Shakespeare's Sonnet 29.
- In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, when Bonk gets angry at the Joker and calls him a fake, the Joker replies, "Ah, brave new world...that has such [putzes/yutzes] in it." This is a parody of a line spoken by Miranda in The Tempest: "O, wonder!/How many goodly creatures are there here!/How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world/That has such people in't" (V, i).
- Miranda's speech is, in fact, the Title Drop in Brave New World. The Savage really knows his Shakespeare.
- Arguably, "Brave New World" is almost the opposite of "To thine own self be true" nowadays. Whereas "to thine own self be true" was meant as ironic (in context), it is now used seriously. Whereas "brave new world" is meant to be said seriously, but chances are, if something's described as a "brave new world" in fiction, something is—or will soon be—Gone Horribly Wrong (most likely because Huxley's dystopian novel has become more well-known than the play it got its title from.
- Chapter Sixteen of the original Web Animation Broken Saints is called "Tempest".
- Another little one in Call of Duty: Black Ops: while the player is being led into the inner sanctum of the Pentagon by Robert McNamara, the clearance codes he gives at the checkpoints are "Sycorax" and "Prospero".
- The Collector: The main female character is called Miranda, and she gets kidnapped by Frederick who sees himself and introduces himself as Ferdinand, because he would like to invoke a romance between them, based on the couple. Miranda thinks of him as monster and calls him Caliban.
- The Decemberists' epic song "The Island" is a retelling of The Tempest In the Style of... Emerson, Lake & Palmer (well, Progressive Rock more generally, too).
- Daughters Of The Dust: As the boat Viola's in approaches the island, where she grew up but moved away from years ago, Viola says "What's past is prologue."
- Exception: In the Doctor Who/Sherlock Holmes crossover All-Consuming Fire, Watson uses the line straight, to describe a future "that has such people" as Bernice Summerfield.
- The Firefly universe has planets named Ariel and Miranda, after characters in The Tempest. Moreover, Miranda's most famous line in The Tempest is "O brave new world, that hath such people in it!", and the planet Miranda was at one time a Brave New World-like dystopia. If one wants to stretch it a bit, the Reavers could be seen as a reference to Caliban.
- There's a little one in Galaxy of Fear. A long-dead witch went by the name of Sycorax.
- In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Zaphod wants to trip the light fantastic with Questular.
- Prospero's "We are such stuff as dreams are made on" was paraphrased by Humphrey Bogart for his iconic final line in The Maltese Falcon: "The stuff that dreams are made of".
- In On the Verge, Alex does the "O brave new world" line straight, only to be immediately lampshaded as a plagiarist by Fanny.
- The Relativity villain, Phanthro, is a big fan of Shakespeare. In his introductory story, "Pressure Cooker", all of the clues he gives the heroes are in the form of "Tempest" quotes. His outfit even indirectly references the play.
- Rain of the Ghosts takes place on Prospero Keys and features a character named Miranda among other references.
- The Simpsons did it with "Three Men and a Comic Book", Martin Prince also paraphrases Prospero's line when he touches the pages of the comic book "Radioactive Man # 1":
Martin Prince: (Clearly moved and respectful): "This is the stuff that dreams are made of"
- In the movie Time After Time, time-travelling H. G. Wells says "O brave new world that hath such people in it" as he observed 1980s Los Angeles.
- Warhammer 40,000: The Primarch Magnus was found on the planet Prospero, known these days as the Planet of the Sorcerers, while Lion'el Jonson was found on Caliban. There is also a planet named Sycorax, a psychic storm-plagued Death World that serves as Training from Hell for psykers.
- Both Ariel and Miranda are moons of Uranus in real life, as well as Caliban, Sycorax, Prospero, Setebos, Stephano, Trinculo, Francisco, Ferdinand, Titania, Oberon, Puck, Cordelia, Ophelia, Bianca, Cressida, Desdemona, Juliet, Mab, Portia, Rosalind, Margaret Perdita, and Cupid. In fact, according to Wikipedia, Ariel was one of the few moons of Uranus that wasn't initially named after a Shakespeare character—the first four were Titania and Oberon (after A Midsummer Night's Dream) and Ariel and Umbriel (after Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock). It just so happened that when they started finding more moons, Pope only got one more shout-out (Belinda) and Shakespeare got a couple dozen or so, with The Tempest alone receiving nine, ten if you include Ariel as a Tempest shout-out as well.
- The opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games were packed with references to The Tempest, including Kenneth Branagh quoting at length.
- "If music be the food of love, play on" is quoted by Dr. Phibes in Dr. Phibes Rises Again.
If music be the food of love, play on;
- A phrase which is equalled only by "wherefore art thou Romeo" for 'Shakespearian lines horribly misunderstood by the general public'. The original context gives it quite a different tone:
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
- "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them." A very frequently parodied line, with "greatness" replaced with some other quality. Probably the most famous example is from Catch-22: "Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them."
- Emilie Autumn's "O Mistress Mine" is based on a song from this play, and "Girls! Girls! Girls!" contains a variation on the "Some are born great..." line.
- Thank You, Jeeves has Bertie trying to quote the "patience on a monument" speech, only to break down when he gets to the word "damask", which Jeeves both supplies and defines.
- The Neverending Story by Michael Ende quotes the Twelfth Night song that begins:
When that I was and a little tiny boyWith hey, ho, the wind and the rain
- In Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy misquotes or paraphrases Shakespeare by remarking "if poetry be the food of love"...
The Winter's Tale
- In Adventures of Huckleberry Finn the Duke's and King's acts are basically mashups of half-remembered lines from Shakespeare plays.
- In one of the nightmare sequences in the original A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Nancy's class is analyzing Julius Caesar. After Nancy starts seeing a corpse talk to her, one of the students quotes a line from Hamlet:
"O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams."
- Blackadder did this to varying extents throughout its seasons.
- The original series had a lot of Shakespearean references, particularly to Richard III, given its Alternate History premise in which far from being killed, one of the "Princes in the Tower" grew up to be Richard IV, a psychotic Boisterous Bruiser (BRIANBLESSED). The end credits even list "Additional dialogue — William Shakespeare".
- In more detail: the first episode was basically the last act of Richard III crossed with Macbeth, complete with three witches whose names in the shooting script are those of the princesses from King Lear. Some of the more grandiose characters quote directly from Henry V and Julius Caesar. (The account of the King's charge into Constantinople later in the series echoes Coriolanus, but that may be a coincidence.)
- The second series was a Re Tool, but one episode ("Bells") had Blackadder Jumping the Gender Barrier and falling in love with "Bob" (thus referencing Twelfth Night), and since Bob was actually named Kate, they used the line "Kiss me, Kate." In one episode Percy says "Let us sit upon the carpet and tell sad stories", (a paraphrase of John of Gaunt in Richard II: "For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings") and in the finale, Melchett says "Like private parts to the gods are we, they play with us for their sport" (a paraphrase of the Earl of Gloucester in King Lear: "As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods, they kill us for their sport.") The episode "Money" loosely parallels the plot of The Merchant of Venice, and includes a mad beggar who has wandered out of King Lear and quotes from it incessantly. The character of Nursie is a pretty clear tribute to Romeo and Juliet; then there are the names of several unseen characters (Romeo the Builder, Uncle Osric, etc.).
- The third season had an episode involving the Scottish Play and its related superstitions.
- The original series had a lot of Shakespearean references, particularly to Richard III, given its Alternate History premise in which far from being killed, one of the "Princes in the Tower" grew up to be Richard IV, a psychotic Boisterous Bruiser (BRIANBLESSED). The end credits even list "Additional dialogue — William Shakespeare".
- Quite a lot in Coraline. The poster in the old ladies' apartment reads "King Leer". The boy in the uniforms store yelled "My kingdom for a horse!". Several lines from Hamlet were quoted during the theater scene. And to top it off, Oregon natives will recognize the city the titular character's family moved to as Ashland, Oregon, where the Shakespeare Festival is held annually.
- Batman; Being a narcissist who loves showing off how smart he is - or how much he perceives himself to be - the Penguin tends to quote from the Bard all the time in the comics and some animated adaptations. For instance, in one story from 1997:
Penguin: "And lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds". Shakespeare's Sonnet 94, don't you just love that Bard?Batman: Not when he's quoted by a ham like you, Cobblepot.Penguin: Ham? I'll have you know I studied Shakespeare at - (Cut off as Batman belts him.)
- Dan Vs. "Ye Olde Shakespeare Dinner Theatre" is essentially made of Shakespeare quotes, which makes sense, since Dan's beef is with the terrible acting at a Shakespeare-themed dinner theater. Further, the plot references the Bard multiple times: for example, Dan takes out one of the actors by pouring soda in his ear, referencing the play-within-a-play from Hamlet. Then he defeats another actor by gluing a donkey mask onto his face, referencing A Midsummer Night's Dream. And the trio of tech ladies working at the theatre seem to be modeled after the witches from Macbeth.
- One of the Dragaera books explains that Paarfli's verbose and anachronistic writing style is borrowed from the style of the popular play Redwreath and Goldstar Have Traveled to Deathsgate. This page, http://www.speakeasy.org/~mamandel/Cracks-and-Shards/jokes.html#Shakespeare lists several other Shakespearean allusions as well as many allusions to other works.
- The villains of The Father Luke Wolfe Trilogy all have motivations similar to those of a Shakespeare villain; the play featuring that villain is mentioned throughout the novel in Father Wolfe's class discussions. The specific connections are: Dr. Brandt and Claudius, Allie Carpenter and Iago, and Colonel Stone and Brutus.
- In FoxTrot, Jason and Marcus begin an attack on Paige with a yell of "Cry havoc, and let slip the bugs of war!" (Julius Caesar III.i) Paige corrects them, saying "It's 'dogs',"... and then they each squirt a bug at her. Jason explains that "Dogs wouldn't fit in out squirt guns." Marcus asks, "Did we shoot two bees, or not two bees?"
- 1949 Looney Tunes cartoon A Ham In A Role features a cartoon dog who works for Looney Tunes but really wants to do Shakespeare. The dog even has a portrait of Shakespeare on his wall! Over the course of the cartoon the dog recites from Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Richard III, and Julius Caesar.
- In The Hunger Games, Katniss remembers a boy who was eliminated from one edition of the games for cannibalism. His name? Titus. There are some other minor characters with names from Shakespeare—Cressida comes to mind, for one and Lavinia, who has no tongue.
- Kill Shakespeare is a comic based around all Shakespeare characters and stories... there's no place to start.
- The Monkey Island series has got plenty of them, and I mean PLENTY:
- In The Secret of Monkey Island, Stan S. Stanman quotes Polonius in saying, "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" (Hamlet I.iii).
- In Monkey Island 2, if the player has Guybrush examine the skull in his inventory, he says, "Alas, poor Dad", in a spoof of Hamlet (V.i).
- In The Curse of Monkey Island, a character decides to rewrite various Shakespeare plays to better suit the local pirates' tastes, mangling not only famous Shakespeare quotations but entire plotlines, resulting in lines such as "Wherefore art thou treasure, Romeo?", "Spot, ye blasted dog, get out of me bloomin' garbage! Out, Damned Spot!!" and "Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him...and his two pals!", the latter spoken while juggling three skulls (one of them being Murray, of course).
- Speaking of Murray, if the player tries having Guybrush use him anywhere else, he'll say, "Alas, I can't use Murray with that" (another spoof of Hamlet (V.i)).
- Tales of Monkey Island has a few of the shout-outs to Shakespeare:
- At the beginning of the intro to Chapter 2, the Voodoo Lady quotes England's deposed king Edward IV's words to Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick (a.k.a. just Warwick), before the former is taken captive in Henry VI Part 3: "What fates impose, that men must needs abide; / It boots not to resist both wind and tide" (IV.iii). Only her subtitle got it right ("needs"), while her voice got it wrong ("need").
- In Chapter 4, if the player has Guybrush use one of the severed legs on the altar without dipping it in sugar water, he will quote a few lines in a spoof of "Alas, poor Yorick" from Hamlet (V.i) (this is done in the PS3 version in order to net the player a "Guybrush Goes Classy" silver trophy).
- Speaking of PS3 trophies, there are a few trophies that are shout-outs too ("What's in a Name?" from the balcony scene of Romeo and Juliet (II.ii), and "Adieu, Adieu..." which is a reference to Hamlet's father's written line, "Adieu, adieu, remember me," from Hamlet (I.v)).
- In Chapter 5, Morgan stabs LeChuck and calls him a "bunch-backed toad", which is taken from the line from Richard III, in which Queen Margaret, widow of King Henry VI, curses Queen Elizabeth (wife of King Edward IV) with: "The day will come that thou shalt wish for me / To help thee curse that poisonous bunch-backed toad" (I.iii).
- Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru is a gender flipped Twelfth Night Adventure (right down to the most powerful cast member getting the Wholesome Crossdresser) that quotes Hamlet ("To be, or not to be" in Japanese) and has Romeo and Juliet as the class play.
- In the movie Renaissance Man, Danny DeVito's character is assigned to teach a class of undereducated students on an Army base. To that end, he takes the novel approach of using the various works of Shakespeare to kick-start their minds.
- An episode of The Simpsons ("Funeral for a Fiend"), when Sideshow Bob attempts to blow the Simpson family up:
Sideshow Bob: Let's not tarry. As Shakespeare said, "It it were done—when 'tis done—then 'twere best / It were done quickly." Power on! [turns on the laptop as a detonator and laughs maniacally] This time I've made no mistakes.
Lisa: Actually, you made one. What Shakespeare really said was, "'twere well / It were done quickly."
Sideshow Bob: Yes, I'm sure you've studied the immortal bard extensively under your "Miss Hoover." [leaves and shuts the door]
Lisa: Macbeth, Act I, Scene vii. Look it up.
Sideshow Bob: [reenters the room] I shall! [takes the laptop] Come on, Wikipedia. Load, you unwieldy behemoth!
[the laptop explodes, and Bob falls to the ground]
Sideshow Bob: "Hoist on his own petard."
Lisa: [corrects him again] It's "Hoist with his own petard".
Sideshow Bob: Oh, get a life!
- Just about every other line in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, especially if it's said by General Chang.
- Its very title is from Hamlet: "[D]eath—the undiscovered country, from whose bourne/No traveler returns". (III.i)
- Henry IV, Part II
- Chang: We have not heard the chimes at midnight?
- Henry V
- Chang: Once more unto the breach, dear friends.
- Chang: The game's afoot.
- Julius Caesar
- Chang: Cry havoc! And let slip the dogs of war!
- Chang: I am constant as the northern star.
- The Merchant of Venice
- Chang: Tickle us, do we not laugh? Prick us, do we not bleed? Wrong us, shall we not revenge?
- Richard II
- Chang: Let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the deaths of kings.
- Romeo and Juliet
- Chang: Parting is such sweet sorrow.
- The Tempest
- Chang: Our revels now are ended.
- Vorkosigan Saga: Miles Vorkosigan frequently quotes from Shakespeare, especially but not exclusively Richard III — like Shakespeare's Richard, Miles is a physically deformed smooth talker with a possible but dubious claim on the throne (although a good guy).
- In Brothers in Arms, he memorably recites the entire text of Richard III as a side effect of being hit with a Truth Serum.
- In Komarr, when his future wife, Ekaterin, is questioned if Miles had a role in her husband's death, he mentally quotes "Was any woman in this manner wooed...", referencing Richard's famous Comforting the Widow scene (I.ii). This becomes something of a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment when Miles' political enemies help make it a widespread rumor that Miles killed Ekaterin's husband.
- He pretends to be rehearsing a snippet from the same scene in The Warrior's Apprentice, as a hastily improvised excuse for being unchaperoned with Unlucky Childhood Friend Elena.
- In A Civil Campaign, he needs to write Ekaterin a letter of apology. After going through several drafts, he tries one in poetry, but grumbles, "I was not born under a rhyming planet."
- Also in A Civil Campaign, he has a conversation with Ekaterin's son Nikki about Hamlet, because Nikki is worried that Miles might have killed his father and that he'll have to get revenge. Miles points out that "Nobody expects you to carry out a really good revenge till you're at least old enough to shave," so, since Nikki is eleven, even if Miles did kill his father he doesn't have to worry about revenge for several more years.
- Cordelia and Mark have a conversation in Mirror Dance that heavily references The Tempest, with Mark comparing himself to Caliban.
- One book also recounts how the Barrayarans made a point of holding on to Shakespeare while they were cut off from Galactic civilization. Jo Walton describes what happened: "Shakespeare was preserved very well, extremely well indeed, so well that when his works were compared with Galactic works after the recontact it was discovered that there were three new canonical plays."
- Also from Whose Line, a suggestion from "Scenes from a Hat" involves "Outtakes from the Hillbilly National Theater's Shakespeare Festival":
Greg: "Juliet, you get down here! I love you and you're my cousin, get on down here!"Colin: "Oh, that this too too solid flesh would squeal like a pig!"Wayne: "Yea, the two revenuers from Verona approacheth... read a book, people!"Greg: (to Wayne) "Look, Othello, we don't mind y'all movin' here, I just don't want you datin' my sister no more!"
- In the first episode of Westworld the, apparently malfunctioning, Peter Abernathy threatens Ford and Bernard saying: "By most mechanical and dirty hand I will have such revenges on you both. What they are yet I know not, but they will be the terrors of the earth." before he is shut down. The first sentence is taken from a scene in Henry IV where Pistol tells Fallstaff to take revenge for the imprisonment of Doll, a prostitute he loves. The second is King Lear rebuking his daughters.
- The phrase that seems to trigger sentience in the hosts is "these violent delights have violent ends" from Romeo and Juliet.