How’d Shakespeare Get So Smart?

ShakespeareI once quoted Shakespeare in a sermon and my wife laughed, “You never read Shakespeare in your life!” and she was right. I lack the bard-appreciation gene.But I’m not above lifting his quotes when they serve my purposes. Take this one for example:

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak 

knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.” 

A quick Google search tells me this quote is from a little ditty Shakespeare wrote called Macbeth. Here’s my paraphrase of what it means.

“Give sorrow words…” If you’re heart is aching, talk about it. We all need a safe place to vent. This is what counselors, therapists, and friends are for. If talking isn’t your thing, write about it. Journaling is therapy. Get the pent up angst out of your head and onto paper.

“the grief that does not speak…”  Grief in our hearts is like a jabbering personality trying to process his/her emotions. We invite disaster if we silence that voice.

“knits up the o-er wrought heart…” Bottling up heartache is like putting a cork in a pressure cooker. If we bottle up heart ache it’ll ‘knit up’ which I think means stressed, tense, tight, and all knotted up.

“…and bids it break.” If we stuff those emotions long enough we’ll soon crack.

Good job, Mr. Shakespeare. Now if only you’d quit writing in King James English I might actually read Macbeth. 

Leave a comment


  1. As a teacher of Shakespeare, I’d love to teach you the big themes that continue to resonate in life. I’ve only started to really appreciate him myself so I get it. You’re welcome to join us some time…wouldn’t it feel great to join teenagers and feel like a kid again? I’d even consider going easy on grading your papers 🙂 Until then, continue to lift his verbiage. He knew what he was talking about every once in awhile. (except for all that bloodshed in Julius Ceasar. yikes)

  2. nancy

     /  March 10, 2014

    its better to be authentic to heal .. honesty is always better …people need to just allows grievers to grieve

  3. Bruce Becker

     /  March 10, 2014

    “Out! Out! Damned spot!” – Lady MacBeth. Don’t think it needs a translation. Bruce :}


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