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William Shakespeare

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William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare.jpg
The "Chandos portrait" depicts the great poet and playwright, William Shakespeare.

First reference: The Second Coming
"William Shakespeare" on Wikipedia

William Shakespeare was British playwright and poet who is sometimes referenced on Heroes.


William Shakespeare (?-23 April 1616) is one of the most widely known and popular playwrights ever. The "Bard of Avon" wrote at least 38 plays and 154 sonnets. His works have been translated into every major language and have been preformed more than any other playwright's. He had three children with his wife Anne Hathaway. He was the partial owner of the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men, as well as the Globe Theater. Little is known of his personal life, and many controversies surround him.


The Second Coming

Linderman quotes Shakespeare's Hamlet (Act V, Scene 2) to Nathan when he says, "There's a divinity that shapes our ends--rough hew them how we will."

Graphic Novel:Sum Quod Sum, Part 2

In London, Claude takes Elle to the Globe Theatre to see Shakespeare's Hamlet, comparing that Elle's daddy issues to Hamlet's.


Arthur tells Linderman to read his Shakespeare. He says that Shakespeare has taught us that when "the son challenges the father, only one is left standing."

Once Upon a Time in Texas

Claire asks Noah, what he dreamed of when he was young. He wanted to teach high school English, specifically Shakespeare. He then recites the first verses of King Theseus's speech in A Midsummer Night's Dream, who cannot wait to be married to Hippolyta. Claire first thought the lines were from Romeo and Juliet.

Later, Noah quotes Lysander (from Act I, Scene 1 of A Midsummer Night's Dream) when he speaks to Hiro, saying, "The course of true love never did run smooth."

Graphic Novel:From the Files of Primatech, Part 5

When Claude says he "shagged a bird named Sylvia once", Thompson calls him "Romeo", a reference to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

Heroes Evolutions


On his blog, Brian makes a post that quotes Shakespeare's 29th Sonnet, leaving out a few words and letters as a clue:

When, in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least,
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings,
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Saving Charlie

Hiro recalls being in the middle of a production of Romeo and Juliet, dressed in a foppy tunic and tights. (Chapter 37)

Slow Burn

In chapter 2 of Slow Burn, "The Watcher" says, "Find out the cause of this effect, or rather say, the cause of this defect, for this effect defective comes by cause." He implores the reader to remember the quote and who said it. In fact, it was Shakespeare who wrote the lines, which were said by "Polonius" in the play Hamlet.

In chapter 3 of Slow Burn, The Watcher says to Gail Bowman, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks," quoting "Queen Gertrude" in the play Hamlet.

In chapter 4 of Slow Burn, The Watcher sends Chris a phone message and says, "Take all the swift advantage of the hours." "Lord Stanley" first said those lines in the play Richard III.

The title of a page from chapter 5 of Slow Burn is "Wherefore Art Thou, Amanda?" This line is paraphrased from Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet. "Juliet" really says, "Wherefore art thou, Romeo?" Also in chapter 5, The Watcher says to Chris, "How far that little candle throws its beams. So shines a good deed in a naughty world." "Portia" says this in Act V, Scene 1 of The Merchant of Venice.

In chapter 6 of Slow Burn, The Watcher says to Chris, "If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then to me." Chris asks The Watcher what that is supposed to mean, and The Watcher replies, "That is The Scottish Play. Honestly Bowman, have you never read Shakespeare?" In truth, it "Banquo's" line from the third scene of the first act of Macbeth, a play which is euphemistically called "The Scottish Play". Later, Chris asks The Watcher what his name is, and The Watcher replies, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." This is "Juliet's" line from Act II, Scene 2 of Romeo and Juliet.

In chapter 8 of Slow Burn, The Watcher says, "Knowledge is the wing whereby we fly to Heaven, or so sayeth The Bard." This is a line from Act IV, Scene 7 of Henry VI, Part II. He also announces that "now is the winter of our discontent," which is the very first line from Richard III. The Watcher refers to Samuel as the Carnival's own Richard the Third, and says, "They that stand high have many blasts to shake them, and if they fall, they dash themselves to pieces." This is "Queen Margaret's" quote from Act I, Scene 3 of Richard III. The Watcher makes more allusions to this play when he says, "I will tear down Richard the Third." He quotes Act I, Scene 4, "The people are like water and the ruler, a boat. Water can support a boat or overturn it." Later, The Watcher quotes Act IV, Scene 4 of The Winter's Tale when he says, "Though I'm not naturally honest, I am sometimes so by chance."

Additionally, the title of a page from chapter 8 is "Where Eagles Dare Not Perch". This is a line from Act I, Scene III of Richard III. The title of another page from the same chapter is "A Word that Cowards Use". This is a section of a line from Act V, Scene 3 of Richard III; the full line reads, "Conscience is but a word that cowards use, devised at first to keep the strong in awe." Another page's title is "Trust a Few, Do Wrong to None", which is a line from Act I, Scene 1 of All's Well That Ends Well. The title of another page is "All Unknown to Me, My Gracious Lady", which is a line from Act II, Scene 4 of Richard III. A line from Act II, Scene 2 of The Merchant of Venice provides the title for another page from chapter 8: "A Wise Father That Knows his Child". Another title, "He Capers Nimbly in a Lady's Chamber" takes its title from the opening scene of Richard III.

In chapter 10 of Slow Burn...

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In chapter 3 of Purpose, "The Watcher" says to John, "Oft expectation fails and most oft there where most it promises, and of it hits where hope is coldest and despair most fits." This is Helena's line from Act II, Scene 1 of All's Well That Ends Well. Later, when John agrees to be his partner, The Watcher says a line from Act 4, Scene 3 of King Henry V: "For he that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother."


  • The subtitle of the graphic novel Rebellion, Part 2 is Providence in the Fall of a Sparrow. This is a line from Shakespeare's play Hamlet.

References to People edit

Charles DarwinDuvaliersBob DylanAlbert EinsteinSigmund FreudFriedrich NietzscheWilliam Shakespeare

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