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  • Erica

    I believe youâ??re right to point out the Nazisâ?? misread of Nietzsche (although the read you provide is really shallow: the lion of Nietzscheâ??s work represents the second stage of transformation in becoming the ubermensch or â??overman,â?? Nietzscheâ??s ideal individualist who rises against the slave mentality of conformist thinkingâ??so itâ??s not a stretch at all to say the blond beast is a lion, he refers to the beast earlier in the essay and itâ??s central to his ideas). But I wouldnâ??t necessarily say the Nazis misread the text because they are, as you say, â??stupid.â??

    Nietzscheâ??s sister actually played a big role in framing her brotherâ??s work as being pro-national socialism. After Nietzscheâ??s mental breakdown, she edited his work and even falsified his letters, to promote, as an anti-Semite, her own bigotry. Thanks to her, Nietzscheâ??s reputation has long been the godfather of Nazism. Many philosophers like Bertrand Russel and Rawls have misunderstood Nietzsche as being elitist and pro-totalitarian not because they are â??stupidâ?? but because of how his work was framed. In fact, itâ??s likely some Nazis were well aware of what they were doing, selectively using Nietzscheâ??s philosophy to justify their horrifying practices.

  • Arthur Lindley

    The answer to what it is that doesn’t love a wall — ‘that sends the frozen groundswell under it’ — is, of course, ‘frost’.

  • Jesse

    This was great! However, unlike most of the 126 sonnets about the boy, Sonnet 18 is about how procreation isn’t the only way to keep the boy’s beauty and that the boy’s beauty will live through the poem’s line.

  • DT

    Wherefore means “how” not “why”. Romeo, how are you? She’s saying hello. She cares.

  • Chalkwhite76

    One that I always love is “Had we the world enough, and time,” from To His Coy Mistress by Marvell. The line by itself is almost always used wistfully, like “If only we had the time to have a rich and full love.” What people seem not to realize is that the poem it opens is basically “I know that you’re ‘waiting for marriage,’ but you should really have sex with me.” He’s saying, “If we had the time, I would court you forever, but we don’t, we’re going to be dead soon, you should let me put my penis inside of you.”

  • MarkAngelo

    Whoever made this, I love you! LOL. I love the “Wherefore are thou, Romeo” part. It makes me laugh.

  • Sam

    I’m not sure about this whole post and don’t care enough to discuss but whoever Dennis is, you made my little piece of Australia giggle hysterically tonight, thank you 🙂

  • MB

    Shocked that with all the misused and misunderstood Shakespeare lines on here, “The world is my oyster…” doesn’t make an appearance.

    • Enlighten us, what is the misunderstanding?

      • MB

        The common usage of the phrase completely ignores the line that follows it:

        I will not lend thee a penny.

        Why then the world’s mine oyster,
        Which I with sword will open.

        This is not some ambiguous sentiment; it is an overt and threatening one. Shakespeare chooses the image of the oyster not simply because of pearl inside, but also because it was traditionally opened with a blade. It may be an image of readily-available wealth, but it is money to be specifically gained through violent means.

  • Dennis

    When Ben franklin said,”time is money” he did not mean that “time” was literally money. That would be silly–Ben simply meant that if you buy a clock you will have to pay for it.

  • kunal

    one more to the list :-Friedrich Nietzsche – “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” The above quote has got nothing to do with carefree dancing as much as it has to do with people who are gripped with passion n fervour n love n forget the nearby society n its stupid rules !!!

    • Walter

      “as it has to do with people who are gripped with passion n fervour n love n forget the nearby society n its stupid rules !!!”
      And just look at the sad irony of those that misappropriated so much of his work.

  • Jayney

    I would have added “To sleep, perchance to dream” from Hamlet to this list.

    So many times I have seen people quote this when saying goodnight, but I doubt they understand the true meaning.

    The whole soliloquy is about Hamlet’s contemplation of suicide, and the sleep to which he refers is death. He is then concerned that if he does kill himself and “sleep” he will be troubled by ongoing visions haunting him.

    Not quite the sleep and dreams that those using the phrase intend.

    • I absolutely agree with this!

  • I don’t agree that “The Road Not Taken” is misunderstood due to your proof found in the second stanza.
    When examining the lines “Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same” , one could also make an argument that, because the one path was “grassy and wanted wear”, the “equal wear” could mean the lack of wear. Since it is an unreliable narrator, we do not know if the narrator is the one who did not make the paths worn paths, of if society did not make the paths worn paths. If the narrator did not travel either path, then both paths were worn about the same, and this is in the sense that neither were traveled enough by the narrator for him to know which to take. But since one had more grass on it, it seemed to have called to the narrator more than the other. That is the counterpoint to your argument, and since there is this counterpoint, does that mean this poem has been misunderstood to begin with? Just a thought. (In addition to the argument about “regret” posted above.)

  • Also, with “Romeo and Juliet”, “Wherefore thou art” is very misunderstood. Not meaning, where are you, but, why are you. Perhaps this should replace the “Frost” quote. Again, just a thought.

  • I agree that the Lewis Carol line is misunderstood, but not for the reason that you claimed it be misunderstood for. Yes, there is a sense of sarcasm in the Duchess’s voice, however, it should be obvious that she is sarcastic to the reader. I think what is misunderstood is that love is indeed that actual focus of this part of “The Mock Turtle’s Story”. But rather the focus concerns a sense of order in the world, which then, in turn, falls back to your valid point of mathematics. Love, therefore, is a red herring. And perhaps those who quote this quote, might actually be using it in a sarcastic sense, and yet others do actually misunderstood the meaning. But, as I said, love is not the main focus of this section of the story. Lewis Carol loved children, and also used his college and the surrounding town as part influence to his work.

  • As for “to thine own self be true”, yes, Laertes should roll his eyes, but partly because his father is going on and on, but also because he is a typical young man. Shakespeare knew this, and knew that often fathers dish out more advice then needed. But what came first, the cliches or did Shakespeare coin the phrases? Was Shakespeare actually passionate about the relationship between a father and a son, or lack of, in this point? Couldn’t have been that Hamlet wished his father was around to give such advice, and even beyond that, advice of how to frame his Uncle? So, therefore, is this line actually misunderstood, or more misused?

  • (Never mind my comment about “Wherefore art thou”. I didn’t look at the entire website first. Sorry.)

  • This is a great website, otherwise! 🙂

  • Will

    How did “Now is the winter of our discontent” miss the cut?