All That Glitters Is Not Gold Essay 200 Words Instead Of Said

All that glitters is not gold

What's the meaning of the phrase 'All that glitters is not gold'?

Not everything that is shiny and superficially attractive is valuable.

What's the origin of the phrase 'All that glitters is not gold'?

The original form of this phrase was 'all that glisters is not gold'. The 'glitters' version long ago superseded the original and is now almost universally used.

Shakespeare is the best-known writer to have expressed the idea that shiny things aren't necessarily precious things. The original editions of The Merchant of Venice, 1596, have the line as 'all that glisters is not gold'. 'Glister' is usually replaced by 'glitter' in modern renditions of the play:

O hell! what have we here?
A carrion Death, within whose empty eye
There is a written scroll! I'll read the writing.
All that glitters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told:
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold:
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.
Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgment old,
Your answer had not been inscroll'd:
Fare you well; your suit is cold.


Glitter or glister? Pay your money and take your choice.
Various different ways of expressing the idea that 'all that glitters/glisters is not gold' were in general circulation well before Shakespeare's day and it was a common enough notion to have been called proverbial by the 16th century. The 12th century French theologian Alain de Lille wrote "Do not hold everything gold that shines like gold". Geoffrey Chaucer also expressed the same idea in Middle English in the poem The House of Fame, 1380 - "Hit is not al gold, that glareth". Nevertheless, it is Shakespeare who gave us the version we now use.

The 'glitters' version of this phrase is so long established as to be perfectly acceptable - especially as 'glisters' and 'glitters' mean the same thing. Only the most pedantic insist that 'all that glisters is not gold' is correct and that 'all that glitters is not gold', being a misquotation, however cobweb-laden, should be shunned. John Dryden was quite happy to use 'glitters' as long ago as 1687, in his poem The Hind and the Panther:

For you may palm upon us new for old:
All, as they say, that glitters, is not gold.

The fall from grace of the British paedophile Gary Glitter has given glitter a bad name and the previously defunct alternative glister may yet return to the language.

See other phrases and sayings from Shakespeare.

See also: the List of Proverbs.

For other uses, see All That Glitters.

"All that glitters is not gold" is a well-known saying, meaning that not everything that looks precious or true turns out to be so. This can be applied to the people, places, or things that promise to be more than they really are.

While early expressions of the idea are known from at least the 12th century, the current saying is derived from a 16th century line by William Shakespeare.

Origins[edit]

The expression, in various forms, originated in or before the 12th century[1] and may date back to Æsop.[2] The Latin is Non omne quod nitet aurum est.[3] The French monk Alain de Lille wrote "Do not hold everything gold that shines like gold" in 1175.[4]

Chaucer gave two early versions in English: "But al thyng which that shyneth as the gold / Nis nat gold, as that I have herd it told" in "The Canon's Yeoman's Tale",[3] and "Hyt is not al golde that glareth" in "The House of Fame".[5]

The popular form of the expression is a derivative of a line in William Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice, which employs the word "glisters," a 17th-century synonym for "glitters." The line comes from a secondary plot of the play, the puzzle of Portia's boxes (Act II - Scene VII - Prince of Morocco):[6]

All that glisters is not gold—
Often have you heard that told.
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold.
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.
Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgment old,
Your answer had not been inscrolled
Fare you well. Your suit is cold—
Cold, indeed, and labor lost.

Panning for gold often results in finding pyrite, nicknamed fool's gold, which reflects substantially more light than authentic gold does. Gold in its raw form appears dull and lusterless.[7]

Glitters or glisters[edit]

The original version of the saying used the word glisters, but glitters long ago became the predominant form. Poet John Dryden used glitter in his 1687 poem The Hind and the Panther. The words glister and glitter have the same meaning.[8]

In other languages[edit]

The expression is also found in Yiddish (nit als vos glanst iz gold),[9] especially amongst Hasidim, and also appears in a Hebrew work of Mendele Mocher Sforim.[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]

In pop culture, this phrase shows up in Bob Marley's "Get Up, Stand Up".[10][11] It is also used as lyrics in the song "A Guided Masquerade" by Alesana, in the song "Domino Rain" by Antemasque, in the song "Gold" by Prince, and in the Kanye West song, "Family Business".

Another common formulation with the same meaning is "All that shines is not gold", as seen in the title and refrain of the song "All That Shines Is Not Gold"[12] and in the lyrics of "Next Time You See Me"[13] as well as Curtis Mayfield's "That's What Mama Say".[14]

Neil Young uses the saying in his song "Don't Be Denied" ("Well, all that glitters isn't gold, I know you've heard that story told.") from his 1973 album Time Fades Away to express his "realization that even success wouldn't make him happy", even after he obtained fame and money.[15] The inverse of this expression, "all that glitters is gold," is a lyric in the Led Zeppelin song, "Stairway to Heaven", the Smash Mouth song, "All Star", the Death in Vegas song, "All That Glitters", and in the Future Islands song "A Dream of You and Me" followed by the lyric "Don't believe what you've been told". "All that glitters is cold," is also a lyric in the song "Posthuman" by Marilyn Manson from the album "Mechanical Animals".[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

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