SparkNotes Blog

30 Shakespeare Quotes That Would Make Great Conversation Starters

I have never said a single intelligible thing in my life. I live in fear of starting conversations with people because I know I will inevitably panic and say something unnerving and not at all relatable, something like, “Hey I like your shirt, what’s your favorite Germanic death deity?”

You see, it’s for this reason that I’ve started stealing conversation starters from other, better, less terrified people, and I figure the pinnacle of all those people is probably William Shakespeare. Dude had a way with words. So if you ever find yourself in a dubious social situation—a party, or a blind date, or a formal witch gathering in the hinterland—here are a few ways to break the ice:

1. “The good time of day to you, sir.”

2. “We came hither to fight with you.”

3. “Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel?”

4. “Holla, you clown!”

5. “I have brought you a letter and a couple of pigeons here.”

6. “Good dawning to thee, friend.”

7. “What seest thou else in the dark backward and abysm of time?”

8. “Caesar sends greeting to the Queen of Egypt.”

9. “The gods will plague thee.”

10. “I will not trouble you as yet to question you about your fortunes.”

11. “Give me your hand and let me feel your pulse.”

12. “I am sick of this false world.”

13. “I have found thee.”

14. “A witchcraft drew me hither.”

15. “Let me be boiled to death with melancholy.”

16. “Prithee, speak.”

17. “Good-e’en, good fellow.”

18. “Thou look’st like him that knows a warlike charge.”

19. “The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together.”

20. “How now, my pretty knave? How dost thou?”

21. “O Jupiter, how weary are my spirits!”

22. “I know not what to say.”

23. “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.”

24. “Where art thou, death?”

25. “Come not within the measure of my wrath.”

26. “O ill-starr’d wench!”

27. “For what is in this world but grief and woe?”

28. “Canst tell how an oyster makes his shell?”

29. “Conscience doth make cowards of us all.”

30. “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”