WORDS and their meanings – Dr Dawn Gould

As weeks, months and years pass readers and listeners will become used to the new language of technology but maybe will be unaware that frequently phrases dating back at least 500 years are still being used in everyday speech.


“To be or not to be, That is the question?” From Hamlet by Shakespeare Act 3 scene i Hamlet is an unhappy man wondering whether he should live and put up with the many unpleasant events thrown at him or should he not live on.


“Frailty thy name is woman” – Hamlet Act1 scene ii.   Hamlet is referring to the possibility that women have an ingrained weakness of character.    He had been talking to his mother the queen and is decidedly distressed at his mother’s quick remarriage to his father’s brother.


“Neither a borrower nor a lender be”  Hamlet Act 1 scene iii Polonius father to Laertes is giving his son words he hopes will keep him out of trouble. When lending money the lender can lose both his money and his friend.


“Come what may”  Macbeth (Come what come may) Act 1 scene  iii He will leave his future to chance.  (I) bear a charmed life Macbeth Act 5 scene  viii


Brevity is the soul of wit”   Macbeth Act 2 scene ii   This is irony. Polonius is not brief so he lacks wit.