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Famous Last Words / William Shakespeare

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William Shakespeare's characters had plenty of these. If you're the title character in a tragedy, you're getting one.

  • Coriolanus
    • "If you have writ your annals true, 'tis there, that, like an eagle in a dove-cote, I flutter'd your Volscians in Corioli: Alone I did it. Boy!" Unfortunately for Coriolanus those weren't his last words, as this final fit of rage causes him to carry on before finally being suddenly and unceremoniously cut down by assassins in front of his murderous rival Aufidius (no dramatic final confrontation for you!). His actual last words are "O that I had him, with six Aufidiuses, or more, his tribe, to use my lawful sword!", which are a bit rubbish considering he has a mouth to rival the Tenth Doctor's. This was no doubt intentional.
  • Hamlet:
    • "O, I am slain!" Polonius
    • "God ha' mercy on his soul! And of all Christian souls, I pray God. God be wi' ye." Ophelia's final line before she exits and drowns offstage.
    • "The drink, the drink! I am poison'd!" Gertrude
    • "O, yet defend me friends; I am but hurt." Claudius
    • "Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet: mine and my father's death come not upon thee, nor thine on me." Laertes
    • "The rest is silence." Hamlet
  • Henry IV, Part 1:
    • "No, Percy, thou art dust, / And food for — " Hotspur (a rare Shakespearean example of a character dying mid-sentence)
  • Julius Caesar:
    • "Et Tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar." Julius Caesar
    • "Caesar, thou art revenged, even with the sword that kill'd thee." Cassius
    • "Caesar, now be still: I kill'd not thee with half so good a will." Brutus
  • King Lear:
    • "And I'll go to bed at noon." The Fool, in many productions
    • "O, I am slain! My lord, you have one eye left to see some mischief on him. O!" the First Servant
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    • "My sickness grows upon me." Regan
    • "Ask me not what I know." Goneril
    • "Do you see this? Look on her! Look, her lips! Look there, look there!" King Lear
    • "I have a journey, sir, shortly to go; / My master calls me, I must not say no." Kent (he doesn't die onstage, but he is clearly not long for this world).
  • Macbeth:
    • "O, treachery! Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly! Thou mayst revenge. O slave!" Banquo
    • "He has killed me, mother; Run away, I pray you!" Macduff's son
    • "Murder!" Lady Macduff
    • "Thou liest, abhorred tyrant; with my sword I'll prove the lie thou speak'st." Young Siward
    • "Lay on, Macduff, and damn'd be him that first cries, 'Hold, enough!'" Macbeth
  • Othello:
    • "O damn'd Iago! O inhuman dog!" Roderigo
    • "Farewell, commend me to my kind lord: O, farewell!" Desdemona
    • "Moor, she was chaste; she loved thee, cruel Moor. So come my soul to bliss, as I speak true. So speaking as I think, I die, I die." Emilia
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    • "Demand me nothing. What you know, you know. From this time forth I never will speak word." Iago (possibly, it's left ambiguous whether he lives or dies)
    • "I kiss'd thee ere I kill'd thee: no way but this; killing myself, to die upon a kiss." Othello
  • Richard III:
    • "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!" Richard III
  • Romeo and Juliet
    • "Help me into some house, Benvolio, or I shall faint. A plague o' both your houses! They have made worm's meat of me. I have it, and soundly too. — Your houses!" Mercutio
    • "Thou wretched boy, that didst consort him here, shalt with him hence." Tybalt
    • "Thus with a kiss I die." Romeo
    • "If thou be merciful, open the tomb. Lay me with Juliet." Paris
    • "Yea, noise? Then I'll be brief. O happy dagger! This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die." Juliet


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