“Beware the ides of March” is one of the most well-known phrases in all of Shakespeare. Let’s check out some of his different iconic warnings.
1) “Beware the ides of March.” (Julius Caesar, I.2.18, I.2.19, and I.2.23)
This phrase, first spoken in warning by the Soothsayer to Julius Caesar, is repeated two extra instances in lower than a minute on stage. The “ides” of any given month referred to the first new moon of that month, which often fell between the thirteenth and fifteenth days of the month in our calendar system. The “ides of March” is the 74th day of the Roman calendar, which corresponds to March 15––the date of Julius Caesar’s assassination in 44 BCE.
2) “O beware, my lord, of jealousy!” (Othello, III.3.195)
This warning, spoken by Iago to Othello, is an ironic second for the viewers. Using reverse psychology, Iago manipulates Othello into believing that Desdemona has cheated on him with Cassio and cultivates in Othello the very jealousy he warns in opposition to. Iago succeeds in making a jealousy so sturdy in Othello that he murders Desdemona. This line is adopted by the most iconic phrase in the play, when Iago describes jealousy as “the green-eyed monster” (Othello, III.3.196).
3) “Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff; / Beware the thane of Fife!” (Macbeth, IV.1.81-82)
The First apparition, an armed head, delivers this warning to Macbeth. Because of this prophecy, Macbeth makes an attempt to homicide Macduff, however Macduff slays him in the finish.
4) “If I be waspish, finest beware my sting.” (The Taming of the Shrew, II.1.223)
Katherine utters this warning to Petruchio of their first fast witty alternate. Each makes use of the different’s phrases in opposition to them: Petruchio, to argue that he’ll get Katherine to like him, and Katherine, to claim that he won’t.
5) “Priest, beware your beard.” (Henry VI, Part 1, I.3.48)
The Duke of Gloucester delivers this line to the Cardinal of Winchester earlier than a combat breaks out amongst them. The verb “to beard” means to problem or to defy. This may also be a reference to the torture of beard plucking, as in King Lear when Regan plucks out Gloucester’s beard earlier than Cornwall gouges out his eyes.