Monday, January 24, 2011

The Most Famous (or Infamous) Misquotation of Shakespeare

The Maltese Falcon. Dir. John Huston. Perf. Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, and Peter Lorre. 1941. DVD. Turner Home, 2009.

The last line of The Maltese Falcon is frequently cited as a misquotation of a line from Shakespeare. Sam Spade, the Humphrey Bogart character, says, "The . . . uh . . . stuff that dreams are made of."

The actual quote, spoken by Prospero in The Tempest, alters in only two respects:
. . . . . . . . . . . . We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep. (IV.i.156-58)
Here's the line spoken by the inimitable Humphrey Bogart. The delivery is so marvelous that we overlook the altered preposition and the substitution of "that" for "as":

Links: The Film at IMDB.

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Duane Morin said...

Google hits for "stuff that dreams are made of" : 1.9 million

Google hits for "stuff as dreams are made on" : 1.0 million


kj said...

Apparently, the line "stuff as dreams are made on" pleased not the 1.9 million. ’Twas caviare to the general.


Anonymous said...

Wrong, last line is ward bond saying "huh?"

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Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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