Don’t make Shakespeare do this face by misquoting him:
1. Oh Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?
Most people assume that Juliet is asking Romeo where he is, but she’s actually asking why he’s from the family he’s from.
The lines that follow are:
“Deny thy father and refuse thy name.
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.”
2. “What the dickens”
It’s widely assumed that Shakespeare was referring to Charles Dickens but Shakespeare died in 1616 and Dickens was born in 1812 so….
In Shakespeare’s time “dickens” referred to the devil.
3. “Star-crossed lovers”
Fate was believed to be controlled by the stars in Shakespeare’s time. So don’t call people star-crossed lovers unless you’re expecting them to die. (like Romeo and Juliet)
“It is the stars,
The stars above us, govern our conditions.”
(King Lear, 4.3.37), Kent
4. “Neither rhyme nor reason”
In the modern sense, we use this phrase to describe events that happen or people who do things that don’t make sense. But in Shakespeare’s day, this was an insult that suggested a person was not only nonsensical but also lacked sophistication.
5. “Sea change”
In The Tempest, this means that a deadly storm is coming but modern uses of this phrase suggest a positive connotation of life changes.
**Compiled from: dailywritingtips.com, toptenz.net, and my brain.