In Brief: Best One Liners

POLONIUS This business is well ended.
My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief: your noble son is mad:
Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
What isn’t but to be nothing else but mad?
But let that go.

HAMLET Act 2, Scene 2

It is ironical to quote a longish statement to cite a proverb on brevity!

Since those Shakespearean days, English masters say the context has undergone a sea change. In the play, Hamlet, Polonius is a sort of sidekick of King Claudius, the uncle of the enigmatic and tragic hero. The king’s compadre is, in modern-day language, a sleuth who spies on the prince. At the cost of being self-contradictory, once he informs the king and the queen rhetorically in a long-winded way that brevity is the soul of wit, when he was passing information about Hamlet. For that matter he is never brief when he starts talking. His character is very similar to folks around us—those secret souls who keep telling us surreptitious stuffs but would add, in the same breath, that we should not tell anyone. Sigmund Freud described Polonius as ‘the old chatterbox’. The queen’s immediate reply to the informer is killing: More matter, with less art. 


One-liners text courtesy: Collected from several online resources. Most of them are in public domain. 



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