Top 10 Shakespeare Death Quotes

Shakespeare’s writing has stood the test of time because he writes beautifully about universal themes – and they do not come more universal than death!

When Shakespeare deals with death, he is at his most poetic and can really pull at the heart strings. In this article, we have mined the Bard’s plays and sonnets for the Top 10 Shakespeare death quotes.

1. Alas, Poor Yorick!

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite
jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath bore me on his back a
thousand times, and now how abhorr'd in my imagination it is!
My gorge rises at it.

(Hamlet, Act 5, Scene 1)

2. Dusty Death

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow

(Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5)

3. Ruin Hath Taught Me

Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate 
That Time will come and take my love away. 
This thought is as a death which cannot choose
But weep to have that which it fears to lose.

(Sonnet 64)

4. To die, We Know Not Where

Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
To lie in cold obstruction and to rot;
This sensible warm motion to become
A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice;
To be imprison'd in the viewless winds,
And blown with restless violence round about
The pendent world; or to be worse than worst
Of those that lawless and incertain thought
Imagine howling: 'tis too horrible!
The weariest and most loathed worldly life
That age, ache, penury and imprisonment
Can lay on nature is a paradise
To what we fear of death.

(Measure for Measure, Act 3, Scene 1) 

5. Cowards Die

Cowards die many times before their deaths,
The valiant never taste of death but once.

(Julius Caesar, Act 2, Scene 2)

6. Womb of Death

Thou detestable maw, thou womb of death,
Gorged with the dearest morsel of the earth,
Thus I enforce thy rotten jaws to open,
And in despite I’ll cram thee with more food!

(Romeo and Juliet, Act 5, Scene 3)

7. O My Soul's Joy!

It gives me wonder great as my content 
To see you here before me. O my soul's joy! 
If after every tempest come such calms, 
May the winds blow till they have waken'd death! 
And let the laboring bark climb hills of seas 
Olympus-high and duck again as low 
As hell's from heaven! If it were now to die, 
'Twere now to be most happy; for, I fear, 
My soul hath her content so absolute 
That not another comfort like to this 
Succeeds in unknown fate.

(Othello, Act 2, Scene 1)

8. Death of a Dear Friend

This passion, and the death of a dear friend, would
go near to make a man look sad.

(A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 5, Scene 1)

9. Weakest Kind of Fruit

I am a tainted wether of the flock,
Meetest for death: the weakest kind of fruit
Drops earliest to the ground.

(The Merchant of Venice, Act 4, Scene 1)

10. What Sights of Ugly Death Within Mine Eyes!

Lord, Lord! methought what pain it was to drown:    
What dreadful noise of water in mine ears!    
What sights of ugly death within mine eyes!            
Methought I saw a thousand fearful wracks;    
A thousand men that fishes gnaw’d upon;    
Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,    
Inestimable stones, unvalu’d jewels,    
All scatter’d in the bottom of the sea.            
Some layin dead men’s skulls; and in those holes    
Where eyes did once inhabit, there were crept,    
As ’twere in scorn of eyes, reflecting gems,    
That woo’d the slimy bottom of the deep,    
And mock’d the dead bones that lay scatter’d by.    

(Richard III, Act 1, Scene 4)