Words to live by.
Or to rebel against.
If I see one more “To thine own self be true” tattoo/Facebook quote/bumper sticker, I’m going to… well, I’m not actually going to do anything, but it’s going to annoy me.
On its own, sure, “To thine own self be true” is a wonderful sentiment. But the monologue from which it is taken is not a list of sage advice - it’s a HILARIOUS list of irony and contradictions. (Your Mileage May Vary re: Polonius character studies, and I’m no Shakespeare scholar - I just know that whenever I see or read Polonius, it is all about the lulz. I mean, the guy advises Laertes to “not…be false to any man,” and then two acts later lurks behind a curtain to spy. Also, the man says “brevity is the soul of wit” when all he ever does is ramble like his tongue is off its hinges. There’s more, but that’s for another day.)
The point is, people with “To thine own self be true” tattoos really just wanted the words “Be yourself” in fancy language. And that’s fine. To each his own. But just own up to that, then, and stop acting like you ~*understand Shakespeare OMG,*~ because Polonius probably shouldn’t be the guy whose words strike your emotional chords.
David Tennant in BBC Hamlet