I was talking to a friend today, who shall remain nameless, and said “Aye, there’s the rub.”  She replied “the RUB??”.  She didn’t know the phrase.  A quick survey of my immediate colleagues: they didn’t either.

How can ANYONE who has a western university education not know “Aye, there’s the rub”.  How can they not know what it means, much less where it comes from?  It’s one of the most memorable phrases in the canon of English literature, and I don’t care what they say, it’s IMPORTANT.

“To sleep, perchance to dream, aye there’s the rub
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come.”

from HAMLET, people, HAMLET.  The to be or not to be soliloquy, no less.

One Response

  1. I said ‘now is the winter of our discontent’ blithely to someone the other day, expecting them to laugh, and they looked at me like I had grown a extra head. I have accepted that not everyone knows my beloved Middleton as well as I do and would forgive them for not recognising those quotes, but SHAKESPEARE? It hurts me, Miss Erin.

    Other note: apparently Hamlet is the most quotable of Shakespeare’s plays. It’s got heaps of the notables in it: ‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,’ ‘Alas, poor Yorick,’ ‘To be or not to be,’ ‘the play’s the thing’ and ‘aye, there’s the rub,’ just to name a few. So not knowing Hamlet… badness.

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