More Shakespeare Quotes Translated


Awhile back, Cracked Spines had a post about translated Shakespeare quotes. For the most part, the post was a gag, though the translations were, essentially correct. There seems to be a demand for Shakespeare quote translations, so this post will be more serious for those readers who are seeking serious translations sans sarcasm. The quotes are broken up by which piece they appeared in. Unfortunately, we cannot translate everything, so here are some of the more famous quotes from the most popular Shakespeare pieces.

Romeo & Juliet Quotes Translated

"These violent delights have violent ends and in their triumph die like fire and powder, which as they kiss consume." ~ Friar Laurence

Here, Friar Laurence is giving Romeo advice about his quick and passionate love of Juliet. Given the context of the quote, it seems that the Friar is telling Romeo not to move too fast or too hard in love. Perhaps his fervor does not bode well for the relationship as it can make the love that is there burn out quickly. If he could love calmly and tamely, he would be safer. The word violent here seems to mean passionate. However, the word does foreshadow the violent end of the lovers' lives.

"A plague on both your houses!" ~ Mercutio

In this scene, Mercutio is cursing the Capulets and the Montagues. The violence and animosity between the two families has torn both of the families apart. So, when he says "A plague on both your houses." he means to curse the two families, not literally their houses.

"A greater power than we can contradict hath thwarted our plans." ~ Friar Laurence

This is the Friar's way of telling Juliet that their plans are ruined and Romeo is dead. It is unclear whether he speaks of a god or fate here, but he is clearly saying that a power that they are helpless against has messed up their plans to fake Juliet's death and bring the two lovers together again in life.

"O happy dagger! This is they sheath; there rust and let me die." ~ Juliet

Here, Juliet is not saying so much that the dagger is happy; but that she is happy it is there. This is the scene in which she sees her husband lying dead and decides to take her own life. The sheath she speaks of is her chest. So, she is saying, I am thrilled there is a dagger here, I am going to plunge it into myself and hope that it will rot there and succeed in killing me.

"But soft. What light through yonder window breaks?" ~ Romeo

In this scene, Romeo is speaking to himself. He is essentially saying, "Be quiet, a light is coming on in that window. I wonder who it is?" He later realizes it is Juliet.

"O I am fortune's fool." ~ Romeo

Romeo says this after the scene where he is driven to kill Tybalt to save himself. He is saying that he is a victim of fate, that he has been played a crappy hand by fate. In short, he is saying "That really sucks."

Macbeth Quote Translations

"Present fears are less than horrible imaginings." ~ Macbeth

In this scene, Macbeth fears for the future. This line is essentially him telling himself that what he is thinking is not worth fear for he does not know what the outcome will be. What he is afraid of in his mine are just thoughts.

"Come what come may. Time and hour run through the roughest day." ~ Macbeth

Taken in context, this is one of several mentions in this scene of leaving the future to chance. Macbeth does not want to worry, so he says, let what will happen, happen. Time goes by no matter how hard or happy the day.

"Screw your courage to the sticking place and we'll not fail." ~ Lady Macbeth

This is Lady Macbeth bullying her husband, essentially. He has misgivings about murdering Duncan. She is essentially saying, if you find your courage and hang on to it, we will succeed in this murder.

A Midsummer's Night Dream Quote Translations

"I'll put a girdle round about the earth in 40 minutes." ~ Puck

With this line, Puck (the troublemaker elf of the play) is saying he can travel around the entire world in 40 minutes.


"And yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays." ~ Bottom

The meaning in this quote is rather clear, but it is a popular quote, so those who do not know the context may need to find the meaning. Here, the character Bottom is saying that people in love do not behave reasonably more often than not and vice versa.

"And those things do best please me that do befall preposterously." ~ Puck

Puck is saying here that he is happiest when ridiculous things happen. Order does not suit him.

So, here are a scant few popular Shakespeare quotes translated. Please feel free to leave comments in the comments section for other quotes you would like to see translated. However, there is no guarantee that the humor will be left out next time.

Shelly Barclay

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