Shakespeare's Most Recognized Speeches

I asked this question quickly on Twitter, but it’s really hard to explain it in short terms.
What I’m looking for is what would best be described as the most recognizable Shakespeare speeches. The kind of thing where, if you showed it to a regular person (not necessarily a Shakespeare Geek) they’d say “Oh, ok, yeah, I’ve heard that. That’s Shakespeare, right?”
I figure “To be or not to be” is up there. As is Henry’s “Band of Brothers” speech. When I asked on Twitter, a number of people went immediately to Marc Anthony’s funeral speech (“Friends, Romans, Countrymen…”) as well as the opening of Richard III (the winter of our discontent).
What else ya got? I’m not talking about one-liner quote/cliches that everybody knows, I’m talking a good chunk of lines that somebody might recite in various contexts. A speech that lasts long enough that, if someone started it, you’d have time to stop what you were doing and listen until it was done.
Doing research for one of my many side projects that may or may not ever see the light of day. 🙂

11 thoughts on “Shakespeare's Most Recognized Speeches

  1. What about Enobarbus's speech describing Cleopatra on the Nile (Antony and Cleopatra 2.2)? It's famous, but not totally sure how instantly recognizable it is.

  2. Both the balcony speeches in R&J are pretty cliched as recognizable Shakespeare. Puck's closing monologue might also qualify.

  3. Obviously Jacques' "All The World's A Stage" speech in As You Like It.

  4. Maybe the "To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow…" speech?

    Or this? "Hath not a Jew eyes?…"

    Or Prosero's last two speeches?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I would probably say Juliet's balcony speech probably deserves to be on the list.

  6. Piper Ellie says:

    Hamlet ~ Speak The Speech (Act 3 Scene 2)

  7. "Out, out, damned spot"
    "Is this a dagger which I see before me"
    "Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks"
    "The quality of mercy is not strained"

  8. "If music be the food of love, play on."

    "O, for a muse of fire that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention."

  9. Anonymous says:

    If these shadows have offended . . .
    I used it at a farewell dinner when I was leaving a job and everyong knew it was Shakespeare and most knew it was "the one with the faeries."

  10. What about "Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble"?

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