Shakespeare Quotes

The makings of

3rd Gentleman:
At length her grace rose, and with modest paces
Came to the altar, where she kneel'd, and saint-like
Cast her fair eyes to heaven, and pray'd devoutly;
Then rose again and bow'd her to the people;
When by the archbishop of Canterbury
She had all the royal makings of a queen,
As holy oil, Edward Confessor's crown,
The rod, and bird of peace, and all such emblems
Laid nobly on her. . . .

Henry The Eighth Act 4, scene 1, 82–90

The "3rd gentleman" (Shakespeare's generic or "everyman" characters are identified by number) describes the coronation of Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn. The elaborate rituals he describes are of some historical interest; but for our purposes, what's notable is that this is the first recorded use of the phrase "the makings of." We mean "the potential to be" or "the stuff of" Shakespeare means something like "the trappings of or "the symbolic distinctions of." In the modern sense, Anne didn't really have "the makings of" a queen. Henry VIII, inspired by little more than lust, single-handedly "made" her, just as he was soon to "un-make" her with charges of, among other things, adultery. She was ultimately beheaded.

Themes: greatness

Speakers: 3rd Gentleman