FACT CHECK: Did Shakespeare Say, ‘Expectation Is The Root Of All Heartache’?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

A post shared on Facebook more than 1,200 times credits playwright William Shakespeare with saying, “Expectation is the root of all heartache.”

Verdict: False

The saying does not appear in any of Shakespeare’s work.

Fact Check:

Widely considered one of the greatest playwrights of all time, Shakespeare wrote at least 37 plays, as well as numerous sonnets and poems. The popularity of his work, much of which is still read today, has resulted in him being frequently credited with quotes, genuine and apocryphal.

The Folger Shakespeare Library puts this saying about heartache in the latter category, listing the quote as “commonly misattributed” on its website. (RELATED: Did Shakespeare Say, ‘The Earth Has Music For Those Who Listen’?)

The Daily Caller News Foundation searched the Shakespeare Quartos Archive, an online database of all his plays, as well his collected poetry, but found no record of the statement in either. According to the Folger Shakespeare Library, the only instance of Shakespeare using the word “heartache” (spelled “heart-ache”) appears in the titular character’s “To be, or not to be” soliloquy in “Hamlet.”

Paul Bruda, author of “Shakespeare Early and Late: A Textbook,” also confirmed in an email to the DCNF that the quote did not belong to Shakespeare.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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