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Brevity is the soul of wit. — William Shakespeare ｜ 言貴簡潔。 – 威廉．莎士比亞刊登日期: 2013.03.24
作者: Grace Tse
The above quotation has become a standard proverb in the English language. It means that a wise person should use few but exact words. The quotation comes from the play “Hamlet”（《哈姆雷特》）written by William Shakespeare（1564 – 1616）, one of the greatest playwrights and poets in the world.
“Hamlet” is one of Shakespeare’s best-known tragedies. In the play, Prince Hamlet discovers that his father has been killed by his uncle. So he seeks to avenge this deed, which leads him into a world of madness and murder.
What other plays did Shakespeare write? He wrote at least thirty plays. Famous comedies are “The Merchant of Venice”（《威尼斯商人》）, “Twelfth Night” （《第十二夜》）and “Taming of the Shrew”（《馴悍記》）. Well-known tragedies are “Romeo and Juliet”（《羅密歐與茱麗葉》）, “King Lear”（《李爾王》）and “Macbeth”（《馬克白》）.
Although Shakespeare lived more than 400 years ago, his plays are still performed and adapted in theatres and movies in different languages all over the world. Students study Shakespeare’s works in school and at university.
Shakespeare also wrote a lot of poems. As his works have greatly influenced the entire English language, you may notice that a lot of English idioms or proverbs came from his works. Examples include “I have not slept one wink” （我都沒闔過眼）, “love is blind” （愛情是盲目的） and “all corners of the world” （世界各地）.
As Shakespeare used the language of his time, modern people often find it difficult to understand his language and style. Perhaps you can try to read some simplified versions which have been rewritten in present-day English.