We often hear how much Shakespeare has influenced our language, that there are phrases and words we still use today. Often they go unnoticed because they’re so tightly woven into our minds and tongues. There’s one recently however that has been hitting me over the head repeatedly.
Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince:
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!
– Hamlet (V.ii)
“Good night sweet prince,” says Horatio as Hamlet dies. This phrase is everywhere! I haven’t always watched a lot of TV, but I’ve had time recently. Over the last couple months I’ve heard these words at multiple deaths or people going to sleep. In all instances it is used for comic effect for those who get the reference. And all should, if they paid attention in English while studying Hamlet. Most, of course, didn’t.
The most recent shows I heard this phrase were Futurama and M*A*S*H. There are others, but I can’t seem to remember them at this moment in time. I should have been keeping track.
Keep your eyes and ears peeled for this one. And let me know where else you find it. In fact, if you find other similar occurrences of different Shakespearean phrases please let me know! I’d love to hear about it.