For centuries, The Bard’s plays have been beguiling us with shadings of emotion and countless twists of fate. The bravery of his heroes is inspiring, and the courage of his heroines is touching.

We shouldn’t forget how demanding it was to be a Renaissance lady – patient, obedient, and above all, silent. Shakespeare questions, challenges, and even mocks these prototypical images allowing his heroines to act in accordance with their own nature. They are often caught in the whirlwind romance, thorn between their duties as wife, mother, sister, lover. 

Let us remind ourselves of the most notable life lessons by Shakespeare’s women.

But to be frank, and give it thee again.
And yet I wish but for the thing I have:
My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.

Romeo and Juliet – Act II, Scene II

Nought’s had, all’s spent,
Where our desire is got without content;
‘Tis safer to be that which we destroy
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.

Macbeth, Act III, Scene II

Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity.
Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind.
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
Nor hath Love’s mind of any judgment taste—
Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste.
And therefore is Love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.
A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Act I, Scene I

If to do were as easy as to know what were good to
do, chapels had been churches and poor men’s
cottages princes’ palaces. It is a good divine that
follows his own instructions: I can easier teach
twenty what were good to be done, than be one of the 210
twenty to follow mine own teaching.
Merchant of Venice, Act I, Scene II
Feel free to share in the comments your favourite lines by Shakespeare’s women!
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