to thine own self be true

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From a monologue delivered by the character Polonius in Act I Scene III of Hamlet by William Shakespeare.

Proverb[edit]

to thine own self be true

  1. Be yourself; be true to yourself; do not engage in self-deception.
    • c. 1599-1601, William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I, Scene III:
      This above all: to thine ownself be true,
      And it must follow, as the night the day,
      Thou canst not then be false to any man.
    • 1977, The Psychological and Social Impact of Physical Disability (eds. Robert P Marinelli and Arthur E. Dell Orto), Springer Publishing Co. (1977), ISBN 9780826122100, page 306:
      "To thine own self be true," I saw, was what produced vitality, confidence, and genuine expression in one's interpersonal relations.
    • 1986, Gary Diedrichs, "Bewitched", Orange Coast, August 1986:
      Know thyself. To thine own self be true. For the man or woman who can confront the demon within, there is a hopeful prognosis.
    • 1995, Paula C. Rust, Bisexuality and the Challenge to Lesbian Politics: Sex, Loyalty, and Revolution, New York University Press (1995), ISBN 081477444X, page 51:
      Several of these women said simply, "to each her own," while others like Sue were only slighty more verbose: "Each of us has a right and a responsibility 'to thine own self be true.' Another person's sexual preference is not my business or concern."
    • 2004, James M. Morris & Andrea L. Kross, Historical Dictionary of Utopianism, Scarecrow Press (2004), ISBN 0810849127, page 262:
      "To thine own self be true" whatever the consequences was taken as the principle of true freedom and humanity by the romantics.
    • 2012, Mark D. White, "The Sound and the Fury Behind 'One More Day'", in Spider-Man and Philosophy: The Web of Inquiry (ed. Jonathan J. Sanford), John Wiley & Sons (2012), ISBN 9780470575604, page 241:
      As Shakespeare wrote, "To thine own self be true," at least according to what kind of person you believe yourself to be.

Translations[edit]