Last modified on 15 September 2014, at 15:09

Last words in Shakespeare

The last words of various famous characters in Shakespeare. In a minority of cases, a description of a character's off-stage death is included.

Antony and CleopatraEdit

I am dying, Egypt, dying:
Give me some wine, and let me speak a little. . .
The miserable change now at my end
Lament nor sorrow at; but please your thoughts
In feeding them with those my former fortunes
Wherein I lived, the greatest prince o' the world,
The noblest; and do now not basely die,
Not cowardly put off my helmet to
My countryman,--a Roman by a Roman
Valiantly vanquish'd. Now my spirit is going;
I can no more.
- Antony
As sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle,--
O Antony!--Nay, I will take thee too.
What should I stay--
- Cleopatra, as she applies the second asp to her arm.

HamletEdit

O, yet defend me, friends; I am but hurt.
- Claudius
O, I am slain!
- Polonius
He is justly served;
It is a poison temper'd by himself.
Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet:
Mine and my father's death come not upon thee,
Nor thine on me.
- Laertes, talking of Claudius
O good Horatio, what a wounded name,
Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me!
If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart
Absent thee from felicity awhile,
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
To tell my story. . .
O, I die, Horatio;
The potent poison quite o'er-crows my spirit:
I cannot live to hear the news from England;
But I do prophesy the election lights
On Fortinbras: he has my dying voice;
So tell him, with the occurrents, more and less,
Which have solicited. The rest is silence.
- Hamlet
No, no, the drink, the drink!—O my dear Hamlet! —
The drink, the drink! I am poison’d.
- Gertrude

Henry IV, part 1Edit

O, Harry, thou hast robb'd me of my youth!
I better brook the loss of brittle life
Than those proud titles thou hast won of me;
They wound my thoughts worse than sword my flesh:
But thought's the slave of life, and life time's fool;
And time, that takes survey of all the world,
Must have a stop. O, I could prophesy,
But that the earthy and cold hand of death
Lies on my tongue: no, Percy, thou art dust
And food for--
- Hotspur

Henry IV, part 2Edit

Laud be to God! even there my life must end.
It hath been prophesied to me many years,
I should not die but in Jerusalem;
Which vainly I supposed the Holy Land:
But bear me to that chamber; there I'll lie;
In that Jerusalem shall Harry die.
- King Henry IV

Henry V Edit

a' parted even just between twelve
and one, even at the turning o' the tide: for after
I saw him fumble with the sheets and play with
flowers and smile upon his fingers' ends, I knew
there was but one way; for his nose was as sharp as
a pen, and a' babbled of green fields. 'How now,
sir John!' quoth I 'what, man! be o' good
cheer.' So a' cried out 'God, God, God!' three or
four times. Now I, to comfort him, bid him a'
should not think of God; I hoped there was no need
to trouble himself with any such thoughts yet. So
a' bade me lay more clothes on his feet: I put my
hand into the bed and felt them, and they were as
cold as any stone; then I felt to his knees, and
they were as cold as any stone, and so upward and
upward, and all was as cold as any stone.
- Mistress Quickly
They say he cried out of sack.
- Nym
Ay, that a' did.
- Mistress Quickly
And of women.
- Bardolph
Nay, that a' did not.
- Mistress Quickly
Yes, that a' did; and said they were devils incarnate.
- Boy describing Falstaff's death. Falstaff actually dies offstage.

Julius CaesarEdit

Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar!
- Julius Caesar
Caesar, thou art revenged,
Even with the sword that kill'd thee.
- Cassius
Caesar, now be still:
I kill'd not thee with half so good a will.
- Brutus, as he runs on his sword

King JohnEdit

O cousin, thou art come to set mine eye:
The tackle of my heart is crack'd and burn'd,
And all the shrouds wherewith my life should sail
Are turned to one thread, one little hair:
My heart hath one poor string to stay it by,
Which holds but till thy news be uttered;
And then all this thou seest is but a clod
And module of confounded royalty.
- King John

King LearEdit

And my poor fool is hang'd! No, no, no life!
Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life,
And thou no breath at all? Thou'lt come no more,
Never, never, never, never, never!
Pray you, undo this button: thank you, sir.
Do you see this? Look on her, look, her lips,
Look there, look there!
- King Lear
Slave, thou hast slain me: villain, take my purse:
If ever thou wilt thrive, bury my body;
And give the letters which thou find'st about me
To Edmund Earl of Gloucester, seek him out
Upon the British party: O, untimely death!
- Oswald

MacbethEdit

I will not yield,
To kiss the ground before young Malcolm's feet,
And to be baited with the rabble's curse.
Though Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane,
And thou opposed, being of no woman born,
Yet I will try the last. Before my body
I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff,
And damn'd be him that first cries, 'Hold, enough!'
- Macbeth
He has kill'd me, mother:
Run away, I pray you!
- Macduff's son

OthelloEdit

O, who hath done
This deed?
- Emilia
Nobody; I myself. Farewell.
Commend me to my kind lord: O, farewell!
- Desdemona


What did thy song bode, lady?
Hark, canst thou hear me? I will play the swan,
And die in music. [sings] 'Willow, willow, willow.'--
Moor, she was chaste; she loved thee, cruel Moor;
So come my soul to bliss as I speak true;
So speaking as I think, I die... I die.
- Emilia


Demand me nothing: what you know, you know:
From this time forth I never will speak word.
- Iago, who does not die onstage, but who is being led to his immediate torture and eventual death.


Soft you; a word or two before you go.
I have done the state some service, and they know't.
No more of that. I pray you, in your letters,
When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,
Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,
Nor set down aught in malice: then must you speak
Of one that loved not wisely but too well;
Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought
Perplex'd in the extreme; of one whose hand,
Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away
Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdued eyes,
Albeit unused to the melting mood,
Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees
Their medicinal gum. Set you down this;
And say besides, that in Aleppo once,
Where a malignant and a turban'd Turk
Beat a Venetian and traduced the state,
I took by the throat the circumcised dog,
And smote him, thus.
- Othello
Stabs himself
O bloody period!
- Lododvico
All that's spoke is marr'd.
- Gratiano
I kiss'd thee ere I kill'd thee: no way but this;
Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.
- Othello
Falls on the bed, and dies

Richard IIEdit

O, spare me not, my brother Edward's son,
For that I was his father Edward's son;
That blood already, like the pelican,
Hast thou tapp'd out and drunkenly caroused:
My brother Gloucester, plain well-meaning soul,
Whom fair befal in heaven 'mongst happy souls!
May be a precedent and witness good
That thou respect'st not spilling Edward's blood:
Join with the present sickness that I have;
And thy unkindness be like crooked age,
To crop at once a too long wither'd flower.
Live in thy shame, but die not shame with thee!
These words hereafter thy tormentors be!
Convey me to my bed, then to my grave:
Love they to live that love and honour have.
- John of Gaunt
That hand shall burn in never-quenching fire
That staggers thus my person. Exton, thy fierce hand
Hath with the king's blood stain'd the king's own land.
Mount, mount, my soul! thy seat is up on high;
Whilst my gross flesh sinks downward, here to die.
- King Richard II

Richard IIIEdit

Which of you, if you were a prince's son,
Being pent from liberty, as I am now,
if two such murderers as yourselves came to you,
Would not entreat for life?
My friend, I spy some pity in thy looks:
O, if thine eye be not a flatterer,
Come thou on my side, and entreat for me,
As you would beg, were you in my distress
A begging prince what beggar pities not?
- Clarence
Slave, I have set my life upon a cast,
And I will stand the hazard of the die:
I think there be six Richmonds in the field;
Five have I slain to-day instead of him.
A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!
- King Richard III, just before he engages in the fight with Richmond in which he dies.
Let's to it pell-mell
If not to heaven, then hand in hand to hell!
- Richard III, Ian McKellen and Richard Loncraine movie adaptation, taken from Richard's speech earlier in the play.

Romeo and JulietEdit

Here, here will I remain
With worms that are thy chamber-maids; O, here
Will I set up my everlasting rest,
And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars
From this world-wearied flesh. Eyes, look your last!
Arms, take your last embrace! and, lips, O you
The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss
A dateless bargain to engrossing death!
Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavoury guide!
Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on
The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary bark!
Here's to my love!
O true apothecary!
Thy drugs are quick. Thus, with a kiss, I die.
- Romeo
Go, get thee hence, for I will not away.
What's here? a cup, closed in my true love's hand?
Poison, I see, hath been his timeless end:
O churl! drunk all, and left no friendly drop
To help me after? I will kiss thy lips;
Haply some poison yet doth hang on them,
To make die with a restorative.
Thy lips are warm.
Yea, noise? then I'll be brief. O happy dagger!
This is thy sheath;
there rust, and let me die.
- Juliet
Help me into some house, Benvolio,
Or I shall faint. A plague o' both your houses!
They have made worms' meat of me: I have it,
And soundly too: your houses!
- Mercutio
Thou, wretched boy, that didst consort him here,
Shall with him hence.
- Tybalt

Titus AndronicusEdit

O, why should wrath be mute, and fury dumb?
I am no baby, I, that with base prayers
I should repent the evils I have done:
Ten thousand worse than ever yet I did
Would I perform, if I might have my will;
If one good deed in all my life I did,
I do repent it from my very soul.
- Aaron the Moor ..

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