This is one of Shakespeare's most famous quotes, but does it deserve to be? I know that if I wrote something like this autocorrect would tell me to use the active voice, or worse just say, "meh".
It simply asks whether it is better to be alive or dead, but does so in such a way as to reveal that Hamlet as a dithering fool. If I had written the play, I would have had a Greek Chorus sing out, "Hey Hamlet, shit or get off the pot!" Then I would have Laertes lead the audience in a sing along, "Shit or get off the Pot, Hamlet. Shit or get off the pot!" I would have also had a Boy George look alike playing Ophelia and had her ditch the flower song to sing instead, "Do you really want to hurt me? Do you really want to make me cry?"
I think that maybe God chose to inspire that guy Willie from Stratford Upon Avon rather than Doug from close to Stratford Upon Highway 41 to write this play for a good reason. I mean he got one of the masterpieces of Western literature out of it. If I had written it, a character based on Jerry Springer would have been one of the central characters and the ending would have made Hieronymus Bosch blush with shame. So, good call there, God.
I dither too, but then again, I don't talk like a Shakespearean character. The best I could for a soliloquy would be something like, "Well, I don't know there. Seems like I'm damned if do, and I'm damned if I don't."
I know a part of Shakespeare's genius was in creating the tale using Iambic Pentameter, but even so, he could have gotten a lot more mileage out of something like, "Either shitteth or getteth offeth the pot." I have to believe that then the audience would have left the Globe nodding their heads in agreement rather then shaking their heads with disbelief.
2) I think therefore, I am
Descartes could have literally used almost any human activity to prove existence. Afterall if someone does not exist they wouldn't be eating. He could just as easily have used the verbs, to steal, to walk, to breathe, to fuck, to sneeze, or to fart. I know that there is some artistic licence involved and the word "think" was used for the effect that it invoked. But he could have endeared himself forever in the mind of the common people had he chosen a verb that most of us are more inclined to actually do sometime. The phrase could also be used as a test to see if a word is a verb or not. It wouldn't make sense to say something like, "I school system, therefore I am."
I think the verb choice owes something to the fact that science was just getting started when it was first uttered, and some of those posers were even then trying to set themselves as the smartest people in the room, either that or they were just so infatuated with rational thought that they couldn't think straight.
3) Four score and seven years ago
I love me some Abraham Lincoln. I believe that he was true gift from God, but I wish he would have just said "87 years ago", and I'm sure that many generations of American school children would agree.