There's a meme going around (mostly LiveJournal) that says "When you see a Shakespeare quote, post one of your own." I'm not in the mood to play that, since I can quote Shakespeare whenever I want :). But I thought it would be fun to see what people are quoting. So I blog searched for "shakespeare meme" and "quote shakespeare" over the last few days and tallied the results. Guess who wins?
Quoted Once : Julius Caesar, Othello, As You Like It, Comedy of Errors, Venus and Adonis, Richard II. I'm a little disappointed that Julius Caesar didn't get more love. But can I just say bravo to whoever threw Comedy of Errors in there? Nobody thinks to quote that one :). Although you would have gotten even more points for Pericles, Prince of Tyre.
Quoted Twice : The Tempest, Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, Twelth Night, King Lear, Macbeth. I think that if I kept looking I would have found more for all of these, they seemed like logical choices and very quotable.
Quoted Three Times : Any of the Sonnets. I suppose this is misleading since there are lots of sonnets to choose from, but most people probably never even thought that the sonnets counted. I'd have to go back and look but I'm pretty sure none of the three quotes I found was "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day", either. That's good.
Runners Up, Quoted Four Times : Hamlet, Henry V, Midsummer Night's Dream.
And the Winner, Quoted Seven Times : Much Ado About Nothing
So does that mean that the dialogue between Beatrice and Benedick is the most popular stuff Shakespeare ever wrote? Is it a coincidence that Kenneth Brannagh has made popular movies of three out of the top four quoted plays?