SparkNotes Blog

Shakespeare Quotes for When Your Relatives Ask What You’re Doing With Your Life

If your family’s anything like mine, they come to Thanksgiving dinner armed with a veritable tsunami of questions you don’t want to answer. Why don’t you have a boyfriend yet, Elodie? What’s up with your hair, Elodie? POLITICS, ELODIE, LET US DISCUSS THEM AT LENGTH.

The solution: quote Shakespeare at them, because it just so happens that the Bard of Avon himself has crafted the perfect responses for every situation.

When someone asks how the semester is going:
“I have not slept one wink.”
—Cymbeline, Act 3, Scene 4

When they ask if you have a job yet:
“‘Tis neither here nor there.”
—Othello, Act 4, Scene 3

When they ask where you’re planning to go to college:
“What have I done that thou dar’st wag thy tongue in noise so rude against me?”
—Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 4

When they ask what you’re going to major in:
“Art and baleful sorcery.”
—Henry VI Part 1, Act 2, Scene 1

When someone starts to talk about politics:
“What is the matter? Keep the peace here, ho!”
—Henry IV Part 2, Act 2, Scene 1

When someone asks you about your love life:
“It hath the primal eldest curse upon ‘t.”
—Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 3

When your cousins who are the same age as you are actually succeeding at life:
“But how, but how? give me particulars.”
—Antony and Cleopatra, Act 1, Scene 2

When they ask you whatever happened to [insert the name of your ex]:
“She hath betray’d me and shall die the death.”
—Antony and Cleopatra, Act 4, Scene 14

When your grandma asks if you actually leave the house dressed like that:
“I’ll confine myself no finer than I am: these clothes are good enough to drink in.”
—Twelfth Night, Act 1, Scene 3

When a ridiculous argument breaks out at the dinner table:
“If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.”
—Twelfth Night, Act 3, Scene 4

When someone comments on the fact that you’re going up for third helpings of everything:
“My poor body, madam, requires it.”
—All’s Well That Ends Well, Act 1, Scene 3

When someone asks how your grades are:
“We have seen better days.”
—As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7

When they ask why you don’t have a boyfriend yet:
“I am too blunt and saucy.”
—Cymbeline, Act 5, Scene 5

When they ask why you’re always playing on your phone:
“I am alone the villain of the earth.”
—Antony and Cleopatra, Act 4, Scene 6

When your Aunt Gertrude has had one glass of wine too many:
“Gertrude, do not drink.”
—Hamlet, Act 5, Scene 2

When you’re hanging out in the kitchen taking a break from the chaos and some relatives come in to chat:
“Do you look for ale and cakes here, you rude rascals?”
—Henry VIII, Act 5, Scene 4

When someone asks you why you decided to cut your hair like that:
—Troilus and Cressida, Act 5, Scene 3