Shakespeare the Common Man

photo of black ceramic male profile statue under grey sky during daytimeHaving visited Stratford on Avon recently I had per chance to visit Shakespeare’s birthplace and experience the relative horrors of what it was like to live in Elizabethan times. Everyday life was hard and unhealthy! The Black Death was an ever present threat and it’s cause little understood.

We now regard Shakespeare as a literally genius and indeed he was.

Yet William Shakespeare was also a philosopher with amazing insight into the human condition. We can learn so much from his quotations.

Amazingly, in many ways he was also an ordinary chap who married at 18 to a lady six years his senior, who was pregnant at the time. Simply his main motivation for writing was to support his wife and three children. In his life he experience many hardship and was largely self-educated, when four hundred years ago 80% of the population couldn’t read. Beyond that little was known, except of course of his many insightful plays

I read ‘Julius Caesar’ at school for ‘O’ level English Literature, but frankly found the Elizabethan language hard going. Recently I went to a brilliant YMCA Scarborough production of ‘Kiss Me Kate’, a modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Taming of the Shrew’ and found the plot down to earth and entertaining. Life hasn’t changed that much in 400 years!

There are many quotations from the writer in his plays that live on.

Many have become part of our mental ‘stock in trade’.

Happy reading, if you have a little time!

 ‘Grist to the mill’ when it come to a better understanding of ourselves and fellow human beings.

William Shakespeare quotes such as “To be, or not to be” and “O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?” are some of literature’s most celebrated lines. Other famous Shakespeare quotes such as “I’ll not budge an inch”, “We have seen better days” ,”A dish fit for the gods” and the expression it’s “Greek to me” have all become catch phrases in modern day speech. Furthermore, other William Shakespeare quotes such as “to thine own self be true” have become widely spoken pearls of wisdom.

Sonnet 18
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date”.
To be, or not to be: that is the question”. – (Act III, Scene I).
“Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry”. – (Act I, Scene III).
“This above all: to thine own self be true”. – (Act I, Scene III).
“Though this be madness, yet there is method in ‘t.”. – (Act II, Scene II).
“That it should come to this!”. – (Act I, Scene II).
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. – (Act II, Scene II).
“What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals! “. – (Act II, Scene II).
“The lady doth protest too much, methinks”. – (Act III, Scene II).
“In my mind’s eye”. – (Act I, Scene II).
“A little more than kin, and less than kind”. – (Act I, Scene II).
“The play ‘s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king”. – (Act II, Scene II).
“And it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man”. – (Act I, Scene III).”This is the very ecstasy of love”. – (Act II, Scene I).
“Brevity is the soul of wit”. – (Act II, Scene II).
“Doubt that the sun doth move, doubt truth to be a liar, but never doubt I love”. – (Act II, Scene II).
“Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind”. – (Act III, Scene I).
“Do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe?” – (Act III, Scene II).
“I will speak daggers to her, but use none”. – (Act III, Scene II).
“When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions”. – (Act IV, Scene V).
As You Like It
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts” – (Act II, Scene VII).
“Can one desire too much of a good thing?”. – (Act IV, Scene I).
“I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it” – (Act II, Scene IV).
“How bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man’s eyes!” – (Act V, Scene II).
“Blow, blow, thou winter wind! Thou art not so unkind as man’s ingratitude”.(Act II, Scene VII).
“True is it that we have seen better days”. – (Act II, Scene VII).
“For ever and a day”. – (Act IV, Scene I).
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool”. – (Act V, Scene I).
King Richard III
“Now is the winter of our discontent”. – (Act I, Scene I).
“A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!”. – (Act V, Scene IV).
“Conscience is but a word that cowards use, devised at first to keep the strong in awe”. – (Act V, Scene III).
“So wise so young, they say, do never live long”. – (Act III, Scene I). Off with his head!” – (Act III, Scene IV).
“An honest tale speeds best, being plainly told”. – (Act IV, Scene IV).
“The king’s name is a tower of strength”. – (Act V, Scene III).
“The world is grown so bad, that wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch”. – (Act I, Scene III).
Romeo and Juliet
“O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?”. – (Act II, Scene II).
“It is the east, and Juliet is the sun” . – (Act II, Scene II).
“Good Night, Good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.” – (Act II, Scene II).
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. – (Act II, Scene II).
“Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast”. – (Act II, Scene III).
“Tempt not a desperate man”. – (Act V, Scene III).
“For you and I are past our dancing days” . – (Act I, Scene V).
“O! she doth teach the torches to burn bright”. – (Act I, Scene V).
“It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear” . – (Act I, Scene V).
“See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand! O that I were a glove upon that hand, that I might touch that cheek!”. – (Act II, Scene II).
“Not stepping o’er the bounds of modesty”. – (Act IV, Scene II).
The Merchant of Venice
“But love is blind, and lovers cannot see”.
“If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”. – (Act III, Scene I).
“The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose”. – (Act I, Scene III).
“I like not fair terms and a villain’s mind”. – (Act I, Scene III). The Merry Wives of Windsor
“Why, then the world ‘s mine oyster” – (Act II, Scene II).
“This is the short and the long of it”. – (Act II, Scene II).
“I cannot tell what the dickens his name is”. – (Act III, Scene II).
“As good luck would have it”. – (Act III, Scene V).
Measure for Measure
“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt”. – (Act I, Scene IV).
“Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall”. – (Act II, Scene I).
“The miserable have no other medicine but only hope”. – (Act III, Scene I).
King Henry IV, Part I
“He will give the devil his due”. – (Act I, Scene II).
“The better part of valour is discretion”. – (Act V, Scene IV).
King Henry IV, Part II
“He hath eaten me out of house and home”. – (Act II, Scene I).
“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown”. – (Act III, Scene I).
“A man can die but once”. – (Act III, Scene II).
“I do now remember the poor creature, small beer”. – (Act II, Scene II).
“We have heard the chimes at midnight”. – (Act III, Scene II)
King Henry IV, Part III
“The smallest worm will turn, being trodden on”. – (Act II, Scene II).
“Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind; The thief doth fear each bush an officer”. – (Act V, Scene VI).
King Henry the Sixth, Part I
“Delays have dangerous ends”. – (Act III, Scene II). “Of all base passions, fear is the most accursed”. – (Act V, Scene II).
King Henry the Sixth, Part II
“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”. – (Act IV, Scene II).
“Small things make base men proud”. – (Act IV, Scene I).
“True nobility is exempt from fear”. – (Act IV, Scene I).
King Henry the Sixth, Part III
“Having nothing, nothing can he lose”.- (Act III, Scene III).
Taming of the Shrew
“I ‘ll not budge an inch”. – (Induction, Scene I).
Timon of Athens
“We have seen better days”. – (Act IV, Scene II).
 Julius Caesar
“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him”. – (Act III, Scene II).
“But, for my own part, it was Greek to me”. – (Act I, Scene II).
“A dish fit for the gods”. – (Act II, Scene I).
“Cry “Havoc,” and let slip the dogs of war”. – (Act III, Scene I).
“Et tu, Brute!” – (Act III, Scene I).
“Men at some time are masters of their fates: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings”. – (Act I, Scene II).
“Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more”. – (Act III, Scene II).
“Beware the ides of March”. – (Act I, Scene II).
“This was the noblest Roman of them all”. – (Act V, Scene V).
“When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept: Ambition should be made of sterner stuff”. – (Act III, Scene II).
“Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous”.(Act I, Scene II).
“For Brutus is an honourable man; So are they all, all honourable men”. – (Act III, Scene II).
“As he was valiant, I honor him; but, as he was ambitious, I slew him” . – (Act III, Scene II).
“Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, it seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come”. – (Act II, Scene II).
“There ‘s daggers in men’s smiles”. – (Act II, Scene III).
“what ‘s done is done”.- (Act III, Scene II).
“I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more is none”. – (Act I, Scene VII).
“Fair is foul, and foul is fair”. – (Act I, Scene I).
“I bear a charmed life”. – (Act V, Scene VIII).
“Yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness.” – (Act I, Scene V).
“Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red” – (Act II, Scene II).
“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.” – (Act IV, Scene I).
“Out, damned spot! out, I say!” – (Act V, Scene I)..
“All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.” – (Act V, Scene I).
“When shall we three meet again in thunder, lightning, or in rain? When the hurlyburly ‘s done,
When the battle ‘s lost and won”. – (Act I, Scene I).
“If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me”. – (Act I, Scene III).
“Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it; he died as one that had been studied in his death to throw away the dearest thing he owed, as ‘t were a careless trifle”. – (Act I, Scene IV).
“Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under ‘t.” – (Act I, Scene V).
“I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself, and falls on the other.” – (Act I, Scene VII).
“Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand?” – (Act II, Scene I).
“Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” – (Act V, Scene V).
King Lear
“How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child!” – (Act I, Scene IV).
“I am a man more sinned against than sinning”. – (Act III, Scene II).
“My love’s more richer than my tongue”. – (Act I, Scene I).
“Nothing will come of nothing.” – (Act I, Scene I).
“Have more than thou showest, speak less than thou knowest, lend less than thou owest”. – (Act I, Scene IV).
“The worst is not, So long as we can say, ‘This is the worst.’ ” . – (Act IV, Scene I).
“‘T’is neither here nor there.” – (Act IV, Scene III).
“I will wear my heart upon my sleeve for daws to peck at”. – (Act I, Scene I).
“To mourn a mischief that is past and gone is the next way to draw new mischief on”. – (Act I, Scene III).
“The robbed that smiles steals something from the thief”. – (Act I, Scene III).
Antony and Cleopatra
“My salad days, when I was green in judgment.” – (Act I, Scene V).
“The game is up.” – (Act III, Scene III).
“I have not slept one wink.”. – (Act III, Scene III).
Twelfth Night
“Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them”. – (Act II, Scene V).”Love sought is good, but giv’n unsought is better” . – (Act III, Scene I).
The Tempest
“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, rounded with a little sleep”.
King Henry the Fifth
“Men of few words are the best men” . – (Act III, Scene II).
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
“The course of true love never did run smooth”. – (Act I, Scene I).
“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind”. – (Act I, Scene I).
Much Ado About Nothing
“Everyone can master a grief but he that has it”. – (Act III, Scene II).
Titus Andronicus
“These words are razors to my wounded heart”. – (Act I, Scene I).
The Winter’s Tale
“What ‘s gone and what ‘s past help should be past grief” . – (Act III, Scene II).
“You pay a great deal too dear for what’s given freely”. – (Act I, Scene I).
Taming of the Shrew
“Out of the jaws of death”. – (Act III, Scene IV).
“Thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges”. – (Act V, Scene I).
“For the rain it raineth every day”. – (Act V, Scene I).
Troilus and Cressida
“The common curse of mankind, – folly and ignorance”. – (Act II, Scene III).
“Nature teaches beasts to know their friends”. – (Act II, Scene I).



Are We Taking Too Many Pills?


addiction adult capsule capsules
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The following is an abstract from the website of Dr James Le Fanu [] a highly respected medical practitioner well known for his weekly medical column in the Daily Telegraph.

Dr Le Fanu’s most recent book ‘Too Many Pills’ investigates the reasons behind the threefold rise in the number of prescriptions issued by doctors over the past fifteen years and the devastating consequences for many of a ‘hidden epidemic’ of drug induced illness.

The number of prescriptions issued by family doctors has soared threefold in just fifteen years with millions now committed to taking a cocktail of half a dozen (or more) different pills to lower the blood pressure and sugar levels, statins, bone strengthening and cardio protective drugs.

In ‘Too Many Pills’ James Le Fanu examines how this progressive medicalisation of people’s lives now poses a major threat to their health and wellbeing, responsible for a hidden epidemic of drug induced illness (muscular aches and pains, lethargy, insomnia, impaired memory and general decrepitude), a sharp increase in the number of emergency hospital admissions for serious side effects and implicated in the recently noted decline in life expectancy.

The origins of this medical catastrophe go back to the 1970’s and the immensely profitable shift in the marketing strategy of the pharmaceutical industry in favour of ‘selling to everyone’. Extrapolating from the certain benefits of treating those at high risk of stroke, heart attacks, diabetes and other illnesses, the drug companies have targeted the much greater numbers of the healthy redefining the normal as abnormal, exaggerating up to fifty fold the results of clinical trials designed to demonstrate the need to take medicines indefinitely.

This policy of mass medicalisation is now deeply entrenched in routine medical practice with family doctors financially incentivised to prescribe, their income dependent on their success in hitting targets of the proportion of their patients on treatment.

The paradoxically harmful, if increasingly well recognised, consequences of too much medicine are illustrated by the remarkable personal testimony of the readers of James Le Fanu’s weekly medical column, coerced into taking drugs they do not need, debilitated by their adverse effects – and their almost miraculous recovery on discontinuing them.

The only solution Le Fanu argues is for the public to take the initiative. His review of the relevant evidence for the efficacy, or otherwise, of commonly prescribed drugs should allow readers of ‘Too Many Pills’ to ask much more searching questions about the benefits and risks of the medicines they are taking.

What I do the Most…

anxiety bearing circle color
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People often ask me what condition I see and treat the most as a clinical hypnotherapist.

The short answer, after 12 years of experience in the profession, is : Anxiety.

Anxiety can take many forms, have many causes and express itself in many different way at varying levels. It is a common reaction to life events.

In itself, anxiety is a normal and natural emotional state that we all need to respond to danger in it’s various guises. It has fittingly been described as ‘fear spread thinly’.

We often become over-anxious when over-loaded with worries, when concerned about ourselves or others, when facing new challenges, addressing lifestyle changes, experiencing health issues, or finding a need to rise to higher expectations. Very many people feel they are ‘not good enough’ and lack self-belief or confidence.

Our ability to respond to change is often influenced by personality. Some people are literally born worriers. Others are more able to switch off, or compartmentalise, their concerns more easily. They might enjoy a challenge and view anxiety more as excitement. Think of kids on a big dipper!

Our life-time experiences (mental conditioning) over time – particularly in the formative years before adulthood – will have moulded our personality from the moment of birth. Even before birth. And, of course, we inherit certain characteristics too. These create our unconscious, or automatic responses, to stressful events. We can often react instinctively  based on the way we’ve been ‘programmed’ by life.

Of course, being over-anxious can have physical and mental effects which generally are not in our interest. An out-of-control panic attack is one manifestation. Hypertension (high blood pressure) is another. Anxiety can cause us to avoid progressing through life too and rising to new challenges. Quite simply, anxiety can undermine our happiness potential.

So if we can bring it down to a more acceptable level that enhances (not reduce) our enjoyment of life that can often make a huge difference.

In hypnotherapy I utilise the pleasant and relaxed state of hypnosis to change your unconscious and over-anxious response to events. This leads to less worry, greater acceptance of uncertainty and a stronger belief in your own ability to enjoy life.     

What I Look For in Clients

To be successful any client coming to see me for clinical hypnotherapy most possess the following:

  • Be Open-minded

  • Solidly Reliable – turn up for arranged appointments

  • Committed to a set number of therapy sessions

  • Have realistic expectations


Depression: cause or effect?


A recent supposition by psychiatrist Professor Edward Bullmore in his book ‘ The Inflated Mind’ is that depression is CAUSED by inflammation in the body.

It is well known that inflammation is an immune response which occurs when we are stressed. The most obvious visible form of inflammation is a redness from a physical injury when more blood flows to the damaged area.

Less obviously, levels of inflammation are associated with chronic diseases, including diabetes, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and gum disease. It seem reasonable therefore to add depression – when we are certainly stressed – to this list.

For decades the standard medical treat for depression has been prescribed antidepressants, SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) which can have a range of unpleasant side-effects and don’t work for everyone.

The idea that an illness of the mind can be treated with a pill might seem reasonable as a quick-fix but in no way however does it address the REAL REASON why a person is depressed.

We can get depressed for many reasons: financial problems, relationship breakup, insecurity, job loss, overwork, inability to cope, isolation, physical illness, worry about family members, bereavement and poor living conditions among others.

Depression might also be traced to an emotionally unresolved past event. Emotional experiences during childhood can linger in the unconscious well into adulthood. These can perpetuate a pattern of depression throughout life. It is this underlying cause which needs to be identified and resolved.

Why do medically trained doctors – including psychiatrists who come with the same basic medical school training – insist in looking for physical (medical) causes of depression? In the majority of people, depression arises from psychological factors. The physical medical symptoms – such as inflammation or changes in brain chemistry – are not causes, but simply symptoms of distress.

Yes, depression has physical effects which could perhaps be managed with an anti-inflammatory drug or with antidepressants BUT this doesn’t address WHY people get depressed. The fact is depression has BOTH mental and physical effects. The need is to restore a holistic balance in the human dynamic.



Are We Becoming a More Addictive Society?

In my hypnotherapy work I often see clients who have an addiction, or some form of strong attachment to an aspect of their life

Often too these are conditioned responses associated with underlying anxiety or stress. They can take many forms. Society offers many choices: obviously there is tobacco and smoking, then there’s alcohol use, over-eating, gambling, the internet, mobile phones, video games, sex addiction, the newer virtual reality, tattoos, shopping, drugs, porn, medication, Facebook, Twitter and other social media…you can probably think of quite a few more. Through repetitive use or consumption we can easily get hooked! Which is just what the purveyors of products and services intend: get them hooked and we’ll sell more.

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