what’s past is prologue

This Shakespeare tattoo belongs to Brooke.

I am a student currently in my third year of an English Lit. BA at RHUL. My dissertation about The Tempest is positively screaming at me to finish it from the bottom of my screen! As the Shakespeareans amongst you will already have noticed, this is a quotation from The Tempest.

Shakespeare is so important to me. I plan to make my career in Shakespeare studies, post-grad then academia for as long as the world will put up with my ramblings.

The quote itself provokes a lot of questions, and it’s one of those phrases whose meaning changes depending on the context. For me it means that everything that has come before is prologue to what comes next. My mistakes lead in to my victories. Everything that has happened has an influence on and a purpose in my life today, and tomorrow. Essentially: The person I am is indivisible from the person I was, and I’m okay with that.

The Tempest itself is just incredible. It’s an absolute masterpiece and it’s an honour to wear a small part of it on my back.

Literary Tattoos: The Tempest Shakespeare

“What’s past is prologue.”

- William Shakespeare, The Tempest


  1. Brooke says

    Hello Kate, thank you for your comment! My tattoo artist (Sam@ Silver Needles II) and I wanted to go as close to the first folio font as possible. So I took in a facsimile of the right page of the first folio and Sam tweaked the font slightly until it was tattoo friendly.

  2. Sarah says

    that is so beautiful! so exciting to see shakespeare’s words – i have a quote from romeo and juliet on my back – juliets words :
    when i die
    take him and cut him out in little stars
    and he will make the face of heaven so fine
    that all the world will be in love with night.


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