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The SparkNotes Blog

Homework help made hilarious.

Everything That Happened in 2020, Summed Up in Shakespeare Quotes

2020 is finally over, and all I have to say is this: what in God’s name just happened? It was February and then I blinked and it was December, and it feels like I lived a thousand lives in between. 

So for anyone who is feeling similarly unmoored and befuddled and wants to remember what happened this year (I don’t know why you would, but life is a rich tapestry and to each their own), here are the many catastrophes and occasional triumphs of 2020 summed up in Shakespeare quotes.

When we were all excited for 2020 but there were already wildfires in Australia doing irreparable damage:
“Yet you began rudely.”
Twelfth Night, Act 1, Scene 5

When Meghan Markle and Harry announced they were leaving the Royal Family on Instagram:
“[Exeunt Duchess.]”
Henry VI, Part II, Act 2, Scene 3

When Donald Trump was impeached by the House but ultimately acquitted by the Senate:
“Come on then, and remove him.”
Cymbeline, Act 4, Scene 2

When Parasite won Best Picture at the Oscars:
“Dream of success and happy victory!”
Richard III, Act 5, Scene 3

When coronavirus first hit the news and the prevailing advice was “Just wash your hands”:
“Out, damned spot! out, I say!”
Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 1

And when we realized it was an airborne virus: 
“[All put on their masks.]”
Much Ado About Nothing, Act 2, Scene 1

When Sarah Palin was on The Masked Singer and we all had some fun with that for a minute:
“This news distracts me!”
The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 2, Scene 2

When countries started rolling out lockdown orders to flatten the curve:
“Hell itself breathes out 
Contagion to this world.”
Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 2

When Skype somehow lost the video call wars to Zoom despite having a decade-long head start:
“But how, but how?”
Antony and Cleopatra, Act 1, Scene 2

When Elon Musk and Grimes named their kid X Æ A-12:
“O, be some other name! 
What’s in a name?”
Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2

When they tore down Confederate statues as a result of ongoing protests against police violence:
“A good riddance.”
Troilus and Cressida, Act 2, Scene 1

When Trump refused to condemn white supremacists:
“’Twas you incensed the rabble.”
Coriolanus, Act 4, Scene 2

When some people got to hunker down but others had to keep going to work:
“The nobles they are fled, the commons they are cold.”
Richard II, Act 2, Scene 2

When the Pentagon confirmed the existence of UFOs and we all said “Not now, we’re busy”:
day is hot, and the weather, and the wars, and the 
king, and the dukes: it is no time to discourse.”
Henry V, Act 3, Scene 2

When the wildfires in California quickly got out of control:
“The land is burning.”
Henry IV, Part I, Act 3, Scene 3

When everyone in Trump’s circle tested positive for coronavirus:
“They are infected; in their hearts it lies; 
They have the plague.”
Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act 5, Scene 2

When the election results took days because the bulk of votes were mail-in:
“I am to wait, though waiting so be hell.”
—Sonnt 28, ln. 799

When Donald Trump lost the election:
“[Exit Clown.]”
Othello, Act 3, Scene 1

When we got to watch Trump lost the election multiple times: 
“O wonderful, wonderful, most wonderful wonderful, and yet 
again wonderful, and after that, out of all whooping!”
As You Like It, Act 3, Scene 2

When a variant of COVID-19 started popping up:
“Sure the gods do this year connive at us.”
The Winter’s Tale, Act 4, Scene 4

When anyone asked “How are you?” at any point this year:
“So weary with disasters.”
Macbeth, Act 3, Scene 2

How we’re feeling going into 2021:
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.”
Henry V, Act 3, Scene 2