Share this page

Shakespeare Quotes on Marriage

Shakespeare's advice on marriage, both sensible and comical

Shakespeare treats the subject of marriage with both a playful sarcasm and a voice of warning. His comedies are rife with characters chasing each other in attempts to marry, whereas his tragedies portray several doomed marriages.

Top Shakespeare Quotes on Marriage

Hanging and wiving goes by destiny

— The Merchant of Venice, Act 2 Scene 9, line 84; Nerissa to Portia

Thou art sad; get thee a wife, get thee a wife!

— Much Ado About Nothing, Act 5 Scene 4, line 121; Benedick to Leonato
Beatrice, sitting on a garden table and resting her left arm on it, looks down at Benedick, who is leaning with his right forearm on the table and looking slightly hopefully up at Beatrice.
Much Ado About Nothing, RSC, 1976

For what is wedlock forced but a hell, / An age of discord and continual strife? / Whereas the contrary bringeth bliss, / And is a pattern of celestial peace

— 1 Henry VI, Act 5 Scene 5, lines 62-65, Suffolk to other lords

Who wooed in haste and means to wed at leisure

— Taming of the Shrew, Act 3 Scene 2, line 11, Katherina to Baptista, of Petruchio
Katherine, her hair loose and wild and the laces of the bodice of her gown loosened, holds her hands to her head as she snarls (presumably at Petruchio).
Taming of the Shrew, RSC, 1962

Marriage is a matter of more worth / Than to be dealt in by attorneyship

— 1 Henry VI, Act 5 Scene 5, lines 55-56, Suffolk to other lords

The instances that second marriage move / Are base respects of thrift, but none of love

— Hamlet, Act 3 Scene 2, lines 192-93, FIrst Player (as King) to Second Player (as Queen)
Two characters (Laertes saying farewell to Ophelia?) stand with their heads close together, each with their right hand holding the back of the other's head. The man wears a cloak, the lady a fur-collared low-cut dress; she carries some flowers in her left hand.
Hamlet

Time goes on crutches till love hath all his rites

— Much Ado About Nothing, Act 2 Scene 1, Lines 336-37; Claudio to Don Pedro

Get thee a good husband, and use him as he uses thee

— All's Well That Ends Well, Act 1 Scene 1, Lines 214-15; Parolles to Helena
The head of Dame Judy Dench, with curled blond hair and wearing a ruff looking heavenward with a worried expression.
All's Well That Ends Well, RSC, 2003

If men could be contented to be what they are, there were no fear in marriage

— All's Well That Ends Well, Act 1 Scene 3, lines 50-51; Clown to Countess of Rossillion

Fools are as like husbands as pilchards are to herrings, the husband's the bigger

— Twelfth Night, Act 3 Scene 1, lines 34-36; Feste to Viola

Find more quotes by theme

Shakespeare Quotes

Read the play summaries

Shakespeare's Plays

Learn about William Shakespeare

Shakespedia Index
Where the story began Relive Shakespeare's love story Walk in Shakespeare’s footsteps