To Thine Own Self Be True: 10 Shakespeare Tattoos

To Thine Own Self Be True: 10 Shakespeare Tattoos

This April the world celebrated 400 years of the legend that is William Shakespeare.

William Shakespeare is the most famous writer of all time. His poetic words transcend countries, cultures, and centuries. By inking his language on their bodies forever, these individuals also allow his words to transcend life - they vow to take his philosophies to the grave in the form of beautiful tattoos.

2016 marks 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare (23 April 1564 - 23 April 1616) - poet, playwright, and genius. Shakespeare tattoos can be popular, especially when it comes to some of the bard's most famous quotes. 

"To thine own self be true" is a well-known phrase from Hamlet. I myself have this tattoo on my own neck and think it makes an appropriate title for a tattoo article... 

In wearing tattoos on our bodies, we're being true... dedicating and committing ourselves forever to our own views, personalities, likes and ambitions. In the play, Polonius is telling Laertes to be brave. I think our tattoos whisper this to us every day too. 


1. "We know what we are, but know not what we may be" quote from Hamlet

Tattoo by AJ McGuire #AJMcGuire #Hamlet #moth #quote #WilliamShakespeare #Shakespeare (photo: Instagram)

2. William Shakespeare portrait

Tattoo from Instagram @allisintattoos #newschool #nuschool #nuskool #WilliamShakespeare (photo: Instagram)

3. "Though she be but little she is fierce" quote from A Midsummer Night's Dream 

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4. William Shakespeare portrait

William Shakespeare tattoo, artist unknown, from Instagram @lucillegraveney #WilliamShakespeare #holiday #pool #sun

5. "What's past is prologue" quote from The Tempest

Tattoo by Billy Muren #BillyMuren #TheTempest #Shakespeare #sword #watercolour (photo: Instagram)

6. "To thine own self be true" quote from Hamlet

Watercolour tattoo by Cynthia Finch #CynthiaFinch #Hamlet #WilliamShakespeare #Shakespeare #quote #watercolour (photo: Instagram)

7. A scene from Romeo and Juliet, in Verona

Tattoo by Giovanni Speranza, Italy #GiovanniSperanza #Verona #RomeoandJuliet #Italy #blackandgrey (photo: Instagram)

8. Depiction of the character Ophelia from Hamlet

Tattoo by Joel Rich #JoelRich #Hamlet #Ophelia #WilliamShakespeare #Shakespeare (photo: Instagram)

9. "Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt" quote from Shakespeare's Measure for Measure

Tattoo by Sara Lou, LA, USA (heart not by Sara, photo from Instagram) #WilliamShakespeare #Shakespeare #MeasureforMeasure #SaraLou

10. "Be just and fear not" quote from Henry VIII

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