In celebration of Shakespeare Day 2021, Alexa has learnt to speak Shakespearean and can now recite popular lines, soliloquies and insults. The new update comes as research found that Brits use an average of 83 Shakespearean phrases a month.

“To be or not to be”, “wherefore art thou Romeo” and “all that glisters is not gold” are just a few of the recognisable phrases coined by Shakespeare. However, research from Amazon’s Alexa has revealed that Brits admit to not knowing that famous terms such as “fair play” (43%), “for goodness’ sake” (40%) and “what’s done is done(39%) derived from popular plays by The Bard.

From today, customers can ask Alexa to “speak like Shakespeare” for a variety of responses, and can ask the Voice Assistant to recite a Shakespearean sonnet and soliloquy and even a famous insult.

Despite lines from the playwright shaping the phrases we use today, over a third of Brits (34%) admit to struggling to understand the work of Shakespeare, with half (47%) claiming they haven’t read any Shakespeare since finishing their education.

The research also found that “for goodness’ sake”, from Shakespeare’s Henry the Eighth is the phrase used most by Brits, amounting to 120 times a year, with “fair play”, most famously from The Tempest and “what’s done is done”, spoken by Lady Macbeth, close behind.

“Shakespearean language is a work of art and there are many phrases that we still use today,” said Dennis Stansbury, Alexa UK & Ireland Country Manager. “Alexa is always learning and we hope that this update helps customers not only learn more about the history of the English language, but brings some joy.”

Ask Alexa on Shakespeare Day 2021:

  • “Alexa, speak like Shakespeare”
  • “Alexa, tell me a Shakespearean insult”
  • “Alexa, Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”
  • “Alexa, to be or not to be?”
  • “Alexa, recite a Shakespearean Sonnet”
  • “Recite a Shakespearean Soliloquy”
  • “Tell me a Shakespearean limerick”

Find out more: “Alexa, what’s Susie Dent’s Word of the Day?”