Shakespearean "Nothing New"   Is there a quote from Shakespeare on the subject of there being nothing new under the sun, or about how history repeats itself? Something similar?

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shakespeareguru eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The actual quote is from the Bible.  Ecclesiastes, 1:9:

What has been is what will be,

and has been done is what will be done;

and there is nothing new under the sun.

However, in Sonnet 59, Shakespeare explores the same theme:

If there be nothing new, but that which is
Hath been before, how are our brains beguil'd,
Which labouring for invention bear amiss
The second burthen of a former child.
Oh that record could with a backward look,
Even of five hundred courses of the sun,
Show me your image in some antique book,
Since mind at first in character was done,
That I might see what the old world could say
To this composed wonder of your frame;
Whether we are mended, or where better they,
Or whether revolution be the same.
Oh sure I am the wits of former days,
To subjects worse have given admiring praise.

You can find out more about Shakespeare's sonnets and the quote from Ecclesiastes from the links below.  I have also posted your Question to the William Shakespeare Group, in case others have alternate quotes to offer.


litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

So many lines from Shakespeare have become part of our culture and language.  You have provided a good example.  Also consider "all the world's a stage" and "to be or not to be, that is the question."  Sometimes we don't realize the origins of what we say.