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Tricia Christensen
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Stack of gold bars.

The common idiomatic expression, "https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpgall that glitters is not gold,"https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpg means that some things that are "https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpgglittery"https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpg — things often considered attractive or desirable — aren’t necessarily good. In contrast, things that are not as appealing may actually have great value. This idea is held in numerous cultures, but the saying itself is often attributed to Shakespeare. Well-known allusions to the bard or the meaning of his words come from Thomas Gray, J.R.R. Tolkien, and some unexpected cultural sources.


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Pair of gold rings.

Like many of the famous Shakespeare lines, "https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpgall that glitters is not gold"https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpg is an inaccurate quote. As it appears in The Merchant of Venice, the line is "https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpgall that glisters is not gold,"https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpg and it is written in a locket contained in a gold casket. The prince of Morocco, who has been attempting to win Portia’s hand, finds and chooses it. Going for the gold casket is an obvious choice, and it represents a failure on the prince’s part to recognize that value isn’t only found in the most expensive packages.

You are watching: What does all that glitters is gold mean


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Shakespeare wrote that "https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpgall that glisters is not gold."https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpg

Thomas Gray, the 17th century poet, echoes Shakespeare"https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpgs sentiments in his poem, On a Favorite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes. As the title suggests, a beloved cat fails to understand that what looks desirable may not be, and drowns while trying to catch fish. The poem’s final three lines are: "https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpgNot all that tempts your wand’ring eyes/And heedless hearts is lawful prize;/Nor all that glisters gold."https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpg Like the Moroccan prince, the cat’s tendency to be captivated by the attractive object — the fish — overtakes its ability to choose more wisely.


Another famous use of this idiom occurs in Tolkien"https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpgs The Fellowship of the Ring. When the hobbits arrive in Bree, they get a note from Gandalf containing a poetic quote that begins, "https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpgAll that is gold does not glitter."https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpg The poem was written by Bilbo and refers to Aragorn, who at first appears to be a dangerous and disreputable companion.


Tolkien, like Shakespeare, refers to the hidden value in things that can often be overlooked, and Aragorn’s journey through The Lord of the Rings certainly proves his value repeatedly. This theme is repeated when Frodo concludes of Aragorn: "https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpgI think a servant of the enemy would look fairer and feel fouler."https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpg The author seems to caution readers to see and judge by better measures than what is apparent to the eye.



Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests includemedicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currentlyworking on her first novel.


Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests includemedicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currentlyworking on her first novel.

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Greatedia-- Shakespeare was the first to use this idiom in literature but I think it was used even before him. It might not have been the same word for word, but I don"https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpgt think we can say that Shakespeare came up with the idea. He came up with the phrase. burcin ~ December 13, 2013 There is a similar phrase in my culture. In English, it"https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpgs something along the lines of "https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpgevery good has an evil and every evil has a good."https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpg Its meaning is close to the "https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpgall that glitters is not gold"https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpg meaning.It basically means that things are not as they appear to be. Something might appear to be good at first, but bad things can come out of it. Or it could be the opposite, something may seem like it"https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpgs bad, but end up being beneficial. I think that "https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpgall that glitters is not gold"https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpg also implies that things that don"https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpgt glitter could be gold.These idioms also remind me of another idiom -- "https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpgdon"https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpgt judge a book by its cover."https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpg But that has a slightly different meaning I think. SarahGen December 12, 2013 I hear this idiom used for women often. For example, if a woman has an attractive outer appearance but an unattractive personality, one could use the "https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpgall that glitters is not gold"https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpg quote to explain it.I think that we human beings tend to be influenced by outer appearance at first. But what truly matters is not outer appearance. If we are talking about people, personality is more important. RoyalSpyder December 9, 2013 I’m quite surprised the article brings up the Spongebob episode, "https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpgAll That Glitters."https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpg In fact, the episode was the first thing I thought of when I saw the title. On another note, not only do I agree with the article when it says that some phrases find meaning in strange places, but I also think some words and phrases have become so routine in our culture, that we fail to realize the meaning or significance behind what we speak.In some ways, this may even cause what we say to lose its significance. Either that, or the meaning changes over time. As a brief example, let’s look at the word Google. Though the original term refers to the search engine, people now use it when referring to searching for info on the web. In other words, people say, “Google it.” It isn’t always a downside if the meaning of a word changes, but how are we expected to keep up with a society that"https://smashville247.net/what-does-all-that-glitters-is-gold-mean/imager_16_8998_700.jpgs constantly shifting? Greatedia December 9, 2013 Shakespeare is well known for coining a number of words and phrases, including courtship, luggage and laughable! He was truly a master of the English language. Post your comment
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