55 Best Shakespeare Quotes About Death, Loss And Grief

Srija Chanda
Dec 12, 2023 By Srija Chanda
Originally Published on Jan 13, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
William Shakespeare's wax figure

William Shakespeare is considered as the greatest writer of all times.

Born in England in 1564, Shakespeare was a prolific dramatist, poet and writer. He is also credited with the prestigious title of 'The Bard Of Avon'.

William Shakespeare has written numerous plays and among them tragedy was a vital ingredient. Such important plays involve the likes of 'Hamlet', 'Romeo And Juliet', 'Julius Caesar' and others. A particular line from Hamlet, "To be, or not to be: that is the question" is often considered as the most famous line by William Shakespeare.

If you liked our Shakespeare quotes about death go check out famous 'Hamlet' quotes and Lady Macbeth quotes.

Shakespeare Quotes About Death From Chronicle Tragedy Plays

Here are some of the best William Shakespeare quotes about death.

1. "But now the arbitrator of despairs,

Just Death, kind umpire of men’s miseries,

With sweet enlargement doth dismiss me hence."

- Mortimer, 'Henry VI', Act II, Scene V.

2. "Why, what is pomp, rule, reign, but earth and dust?

And, live we how we can, yet die we must."

- Warwick, 'Henry VI', Act V, Scene II.

3. "I would they were, that I might die at once;

For now they kill me with a living death."

- Gloucester, 'Richard III', Act I, scene II.

4. "He that cuts off twenty years of life

Cuts off so many years of fearing death."

- Cassius, 'Julius Caesar', Act III, Scene I.

5. "O, in the battle think on Buckingham,

And die in terror of thy guiltiness.

Dream on, dream on, of bloody deeds and death."

- Ghost Of Buckingham, 'Richard III', Act V, Scene V.

6. "Join not with grief, fair woman, do not so,

To make my end too sudden."

- King Richard, 'Richard II', Act V, Scene I.

7. "My mangled body shows,

My blood, my want of strength, my sick heart shows,

That I must yield my body to the earth

And, by my fall, the conquest to my foe."

- Warwick, 'Henry VI', Act V, Scene II.

8. "O, then began the tempest to my soul

Who pass'd, methought, the melancholy flood,

With that grim ferryman which poets write of,

Unto the kingdom of perpetual night."

- Clarence, 'Richard III', Act I, scene IV.

9. "As I bethink me, you should not be king

Till our King Henry had shook hands with Death."

- Queen Margaret, 'Henry VI', Act I, Scene IV.

10. "Fates, we will know your pleasures.

That we shall die, we know. 'Tis but the time,

And drawing days out, that men stand upon."

- Brutus, 'Julius Caesar', Act III, Scene I.

11. "This grief is crowned with consolation."

- Enobarbus, 'Antony and Cleopatra', Act I, Scene II.

12. "Ah, what a sign it is of evil life,

Where Death’s approach is seen so terrible!"

- King Henry, 'Henry VI', Act III, Scene III.

13. "Be York the next that must be bankrupt so!

Though death be poor, it ends a mortal woe."

- Duke Of York, 'Richard II', Act II, Scene I.

14. "'Tis a vile thing to die, my gracious lord,

When men are unprepared and look not for it."

- Catesby, 'Richard III', Act III, scene II.

15. "When beggars die there are no comets seen.

The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes."

- Calphurnia, 'Julius Caesar', Act II, Scene II.

16. "And in the end,

Having my freedom, boast of nothing else

But that I was a journeyman to grief?"

- Henry Bullingbrook, 'Richard II', Act I, Scene III.

17. "O Death, made proud with pure and princely beauty!

The Earth had not a hole to hide this deed."

- Pembroke, 'King John', Act IV, Scene III.

18. "To weep is to make less the depth of grief."

- Richard, 'Henry VI', Act II, Scene I.

19. "So wise so young, they say do never live long."

- Richard, 'Richard III', Act III, Scene I.

20. "Cowards die many times before their deaths.

The valiant never taste of death but once."

- Caesar, 'Julius Caesar', Act II, Scene II.

Shakespeare Quotes About Death From Romantic Plays


Here you will find Shakespeare quotes about the death of a loved one, Shakespeare quotes about death and love from romantic plays.

21. "What's gone, and what's past help, Should be past grief."

- Paulina, 'The Winter's Tale', Act III, Scene II.

22. "Death, that hath suck'd the honey of thy breath,

Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty."

- Romeo, 'Romeo And Juliet', Act V, Scene III.

23. "Fear no more the heat o’ the sun,

Nor the furious winter’s rages;

Thou thy worldly task hast done,

Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages:"

- Guiderius, 'Cymbeline', Act IV, Scene II.

24. "How oft when men are at the point of death

Have they been merry, which their keepers call

A lightning before death!"

- Romeo, 'Romeo And Juliet', Act V, Scene III.

25. "He that dies pays all debts."

- Stephano, 'The Tempest', Act III, Scene II.

26. "Honest plain words best pierce the ear of grief."

- Berowne, 'Love's Labor's Lost', Act V, Scene II.

27. "Come, gentle night, come, loving, black-browed night,

Give me my Romeo."

- Juliet, 'Romeo And Juliet', Act III, Scene II.

28. "By medicine life may be prolonged, yet death will seize the doctor too."

- Cymbeline, 'Cymbeline', Act V, Scene V.

29. "Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an acre of barren ground: long heath, brown furze, anything. The wills above be done, but I would fain die a dry death."

- Gonzalo, 'The Tempest', Act I, Scene I.

30. "Life and these lips have long been separated.

Death lies on her like an untimely frost upon the sweetest flower of all the field."

- Capulet, 'Romeo And Juliet', Act IV, Scene V.

Shakespeare Quotes About Death From Revenge Tragedy Plays

Here are some best quotes about grief from Revenge tragedy plays of William Shakespeare.

31. "But that the dread of something after death-

The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn

No traveller returns- puzzles the will."

- Hamlet, 'Hamlet', Act III, Scene I.

32. "O reverend tribunes! O gentle, aged men!

Unbind my sons, reverse the doom of death."

- Titus, 'Titus Andronicus', Act III, Scene I.

33. "Thou know'st 'tis common; all that lives must die, Passing through nature to eternity."

- Gertrude, 'Hamlet', Act I, Scene II.

34. "After life’s fitful fever he sleeps well.

Treason has done his worst; nor steel nor poison,

Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing

Can touch him further."

- Macbeth, 'Macbeth', Act III, scene II.

35. "Alas, poor man! grief has so wrought on him,

He takes false shadows for true substances."

- Marcus, 'Titus Andronicus', Act III, Scene II.

36. "The violence of either grief or joy

Their own enactures with themselves destroy."

- Player King, 'Hamlet', Act III, Scene II.

37. "What, man! Ne'er pull your hat upon your brows.

Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak

Whispers the o'erfraught heart and bids it break."

- Malcolm, 'Macbeth', Act IV, Scene III.

38. "Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand,

Blood and revenge are hammering in my head."

- Aaron, 'Titus Andronicus', Act II, Scene III.

39. "To sleep: perchance to dream: - ay, there’s the rub;

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come."

- Hamlet, 'Hamlet', Act III, Scene I.

40. "Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing."

- Macbeth, 'Macbeth', Act V, Scene V.

Shakespeare Quote About Death From Other Plays

Enlisted below are some of the best death quotes from other iconic plays of William Shakespeare. These death quotes often remind us how beautiful life is.

41. "When remedies are past, the griefs are ended

By seeing the worst, which late on hopes depended.

To mourn a mischief that is past and gone

Is the next way to draw new mischief on."

- Duke, 'Othello', Act I, Scene III.

42. "O! Grief hath chang’d me since you saw me last,

And careful hours with time’s deformed hand

Have written strange defeatures in my face:

But tell me yet, dost thou not know my voice?"

- Egeon, 'The Comedy of Errors', Act V, Scene I.

43. "If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess

makes it soon mortal."

- Countess, 'All's Well That Ends Well', Act I, Scene I.

44. "My grief lies onward, and my joy behind."

- William Shakespeare, Sonnet 50.

45. "You see me here, you gods, a poor old man, As full of grief as age; wretched in both."

- King Lear, 'King Lear', Act II, Scene IV.

46. "If I must die, I will encounter darkness as a bride, and hug it in mine arms."

- Claudio, 'Measure For Measure', Act III, Scene I.

47. "Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead,

excessive grief the enemy to the living."

- Lafeu, 'All's Well That Ends Well', Act I, Scene I.

48. "Come away, come away, death,

And in sad cypress let me be laid."

- Feste, 'Twelfth Night', Act II, Scene IV.

49. "I am a tainted wether of the flock,

Meetest for death. The weakest kind of fruit

Drops earliest to the ground, and so let me."

- Antonio, 'The Merchant Of Venice', Act IV, Scene I.

50. "Be absolute for death; either death or life

Shall thereby be the sweeter."

- Duke Vincentio, 'Measure For Measure', Act III, Scene I.

51. Thou art not conquer'd; beauty's ensign yet

Is crimson in thy lips, and in thy cheeks,

And death's pale flag is not advanced there."

- Romeo, 'Romeo And Juliet', Act V, Scene III.

52. "Golden lads and girls all must,

As chimney-sweepers, come to dust."

- Guiderius, 'Cymbeline', Act IV, Scene II.

53. "And when I shall die,

Take him and cut him out in little stars,

And he will make the face of heaven so fine

That all the world will be in love with night."

- Juliet, 'Romeo And Juliet', Act III, Scene II.

54. "My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,

O, prepare it!

My part of death, no one so true

Did share it."

- Feste, 'Twelfth Night', Act II, Scene IV

55. "It is too late, he drags me down; I sink, I sink, — my soul is lost forever!"

- Macbeth, Act V, Scene V.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Shakespeare quotes about death then why not take a look at 'Hamlet' revenge quotes, or 'Macbeth' witches quotes

Main image credit: Massimo Todaro / Shutterstock.com

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Written by Srija Chanda

Master of Arts specializing in Mass Communication/Media Studies

Srija Chanda picture

Srija ChandaMaster of Arts specializing in Mass Communication/Media Studies

An aspiring media professional, Srija is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Mass Communication at St. Xavier's University, Kolkata, after completing her degree in journalism. With experience in PR and social media, she has also honed her leadership skills through her participation in a youth parliament. Srija's interests include devouring books, watching movies, and exploring new places through travel.

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