One of the most frequently used words in the works of Shakespeare is ‘dream’, hence this page presents a list of Shakespeare’s dream quotes. A dominant recurring theme in Shakespeare’s works is the opposition of fantasy and reality, and often the confusion of the two. This career-long fascination is summed up when the wizard Prospero, in Shakespeare’s fantasy play, The Tempest, utters what was to become Shakespeare’s most famous dream quote, and perhaps the most famous dream quote of all time: ‘We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.’

Here is a list of some of the best-known dream quotes from Shakespeare:

1. ‘My troublous dreams this night doth make me sad.’

(Gloucester, King Lear)

2. Romeo: ‘I dreamt a dream tonight.’
Mercutio: ‘And so did I.’
Romeo: ‘Well, what was yours?’
Mercutio: ‘That dreamers often lie.’
Romeo: ‘In bed asleep, while they do dream things true.’
Mercutio: ‘Oh, then I see Queen Mab hath been with you. She is the fairies’ midwife…

(Romeo and Juliet)

3. ‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’

(Hamlet, Hamlet)

4. ‘To die, to sleep – to sleep – perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub, for in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause.’

(Hamlet, Hamlet)

5. ‘If we shadows have offended, think but this and all is mended, that you have but slumber’d here, while these visions did appear. And this weak and idle theme, no more yielding but a dream.’

(Puck, A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

6. ‘A dream itself is but a shadow.’

(Hamlet, Hamlet)

7. ‘He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.’

(Caesar, Julius Caesar)

8. ‘The very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.’

(Hamlet, Hamlet)

9. ‘Look to my house. I am right loath to go:
There is some ill a-brewing towards my rest,
For I did dream of money-bags to-night.’

(Shylock, The Merchant of Venice)

10. ‘Why, thou hast put him in such a dream, that when the image of it leaves him he must run mad.’

(Sir Toby Belch, Twelfth Night)

11. ‘Dream on, dream on, of bloody deeds and death:
Fainting, despair; despairing, yield thy breath!’

(Richard III)

12. ‘I have heard my daughter say, she hath often dreamed of unhappiness and waked herself with laughing.’

(Leontes, Much Ado About Nothing)

13. ‘When I waked, I cried to dream again’

(Caliban, The Tempest)

14. ‘Dreams are toys’

(Antigonus, The Winter’sTale)

15. ‘If it be thus to dream, still let me sleep!’

(Sebastian Twelfth Night)

16. ‘What dreamed my lord? Tell me, and I’ll requite it with sweet rehearsal of my morning’s dream.’

(Duchess, Henry VI Part 2)

17. ‘How like a dream is this I see and hear!
Love, lend me patience to forbear awhile.’

(Valentine, Two Gentlemen of Verona)

18. ‘Break up the senate till another time,
When Caesar’s wife shall meet with better dreams.’

(Brutus, Julius Caesar)

19. ‘All days are nights to see till I see thee
And nights bright days when dreams do show me thee.’

(Sonnet 43)

20. ‘I dreamt last night of the three weird sisters:
To you they have show’d some truth.’

(Macbeth, Macbeth)

What do you think – any famous Shakespeare quotes missing from the above list?

11 replies
  1. Richard Goffman
    Richard Goffman says:

    You left out the most obvious ones: those from A Midsummer Night’s DREAM! Not least of which is Puck’s soliloquy/apology at the end of the play:
    If we shadows have offended,
    Think but this, and all is mended,
    That you have but slumber’d here
    While these visions did appear.
    And this weak and idle theme,
    No more yielding but a dream,
    Gentles, do not reprehend:
    if you pardon, we will mend:
    And, as I am an honest Puck,
    If we have unearned luck
    Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
    We will make amends ere long;
    Else the Puck a liar call;
    So, good night unto you all.
    Give me your hands, if we be friends,
    And Robin shall restore amends.

  2. Richard Goffman
    Richard Goffman says:

    Sorry. I retract my comment! I overlooked, misspoke, and screwed up. I’ll just shuffle off now.

  3. c
    c says:

    “I dreamt there was an emperor Antony.
    Oh, such another sleep, that I might see
    But such another man!”
    Spoken by Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra


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