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Is Taylor Swift the Modern Shakespeare?

Who said it? Taylor Swift or Shakespeare?

Credit: Shutterstock/Lanang Banget

Let’s play a fun little game to see how well you can differentiate between Taylor Swift’s lyrics and Shakespeare’s works. 

Shakespeare graphics.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/alex74

It is no surprise that there have been countless remarks about the similarities between Taylor Swift and Shakespeare. However, it also shocks many that their work remains similar in spite of their vastly different generations. Shakespeare may not have partaken in the music industry, but him and Taylor share a striking poetic resonance and emotionality.

The Rules of the Game

As you read the article, there will be endless opportunities to test your understanding of Taylor Swift and Shakespeare’s art. We will start off slowly, and then the questions will become more difficult as the article progresses. I will give you the correct answer at the end of the paragraph. Let the games begin!

@whatsonstage Is it Shakespeare or is it Taylor Swift? We asked Luke Thompson and the cast of @Royal Shakespeare Company Love's Labour's Lost to celebrate the release of #TSTTPD#lukethompson ♬ original sound – WhatsOnStage

The cast of @Royal Shakespeare Company Love’s Labour’s Lost also tested their abilities to differentiate between Taylor Swift’s and Shakespeare’s quotes. This game will follow similar rules to those in this video. Without further ado, let’s begin. 

Round 1

“Lantern burning / Flickered in my mind for only you / But you were still gone”

Take a minute and think about who could possibly write this. Note the text’s context and its connotations. What is the author trying to convey with this? 

Once you are ready the answer will be below…

This is Taylor Swift! The quote is from “This Love (Taylor’s Version)” off of her album 1989.

Okay let’s try again with a new quote.

“Parting is such sweet sorrow.”

This one may be difficult, but take your time.

Once you are ready, the answer will be below.

This is Shakespeare! Its from Act 2 Scene 1 from Romeo and Juliet.

Let’s do another one.

“Present fears / Are less than horrible imaginings.”

Think of your favorite Taylor Swift songs and your favorite Shakespeare plays. Who do you think it is?

When you’re ready, the answer is below.

This is also Shakespeare! This quote is from his play Macbeth from Act 1 Scene 3.

Photo of display case of 1989: Taylor's Version.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/melissamn

Round 2

This round will be a little more difficult, but I will give you more to work with. Let’s begin!

“And I’ll do anything you say / If you say it with your hands / And I’d be smart to walk away / But you’re quicksand”

Take your time with your analysis. 

The answer is below.

This is Taylor Swift. This song is “Treacherous (Taylor’s Version)” off of Red.

Time for the next quote.

“So I lied and I cried / And I watched a part of myself die / ‘Cause no amount of freedom gets you clean / I’ve still got you all over me”

Now, this may be easy for some of you, but I mean, I definitely have an advantage here. 

Once you’re ready, the answer is below.

This is also Taylor Swift! This song is “You All Over Me (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault] [feat. Maren Morris]” and this is from Fearless.

Time for the last quote from this round.

“These violent delights have violent ends / And in their triumph die like fire and powder”

This is a good one because it could be either of them.

The answer is below. 

This is Shakespeare, but you and I both knew that. This is also from Romeo and Juliet Act 2 Scene 6.

Let’s add another quote to this round; it will keep things interesting before the last and final round. 

“For you and I are past our dancing days”

This one is shorter than the others, so it’s more difficult, but think long and hard. 

Once you’re ready, the answer will be below. 

This is Shakespeare! This is also from Romeo and Juliet, Act 1 Scene 5.

Photo of the Romeo and Juliet movie.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Stefano Chiacchiarini ’74

Third and Final Round

This is the last round, but these quotes will be short and challenging to distinguish between both Taylor Swift and Shakespeare. Finally, let’s play the game of who said it. 

“You knew you won, so what’s the point of keeping score?”

Once you’re ready, the answer will be below.

This is from Taylor Swift’s “hoax” of the Folklore album.

Folklore is some of Swift’s best and most poetic work, with her art truly coming alive. 

Next quote:

“Let us once lose our oaths to find ourselves, Or else we lose ourselves to keep our oaths”

The answer is below.

This is Shakespeare, from his play Love’s Labour’s Lost, precisely act 4 scene 3. 

It is one of my favorite plays. It’s comedic, but it also incorporates heartbreak and love. 

Next quote:

“Who is it that can tell me who I am?”

Once you’re ready, the answer will be below.

This is also Shakespeare! This is from his play King Lear, act 1 scene 4.

Last quote of the final round:

“Silenced as the soul was leaving”

Once you’re ready, the answer will be below.

This is Taylor Swift. It is from her most recent album, TTPD, and the song is “How Did It End?” 

Photo of Tayler Swift's new album TTPD.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Hazel Plater

Collect your points.

So, how did you do? Did you get more Shakespeare quotes correct than Swift, or vice versa? 

Some quotes were more difficult than others, with the lines between the two becoming increasingly blurred. Shakespeare wrote about love in many different contexts, as does Taylor Swift. I am not the first person to write about their similarities, and I certainly won’t be the last, because both of these artists have left enduring impacts on the world through their creativity.

Written By

Hi! I am in my third year at Boston College, and I enjoy predicting future fashion trends and keeping up with articles from the top Fashion magazines globally.

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