Uneasy lies the head that bears the weight of responsibility

The phrase is often mispronounced as “a crowned head is rich,” but it conveys the same idea

The word has become so popular, it appears in some dramas, movies, and TV shows

See Restlessness sleeps the crowned head1 Key Words to Know 2 Does Shakespeare Use “The crowned head sleeps restlessly?” 3 Why Does Shakespeare Use “Unsteady the head that wears the crown?” 4 FAQs 5 Other Tools

Key Words to Know

Unsettled – uncertain or unstable

A king or queen immediately faces a lot of stress when they come to power

Lie – Shakespeare uses the word “lie” here to explain that it’s not hard to work everyday as a king, it’s hard to find rest

Someone who has no energy should not worry about this

They avoid the burden of responsibility

Crown – Shakespeare uses the word “crown” to refer to the physical crown that the king wears but more specifically the weight of the responsibilities that he holds

It is the baggage that they carry with them every moment of their lives

This quote is found in King Henry IV Part 2

This quote is used in Act III, Scene 1, and is spoken by King Henry at the opening ceremony

Here are his words in the article:

Bending their terrible heads and hanging them

Can you, little sleep, rest?

To the wet child of water in the rudest hour,

Rejection of the king?

Restlessness lies the head that wears the crown

Here, King Henry is complaining about his sleep problem

They know that war is near and they are very worried

No matter how calm and focused his position is, he can’t calm his mind enough to sleep

He’s asleep this time!

Here, Henry is thinking about the men and women he rules

They are much poorer and have much less power than him, but they are sleeping, the one thing they want at this time

The king is in a different situation

He is very worried that “soft sleep” will not catch him

These lines describe the King’s true state, his lack of sleep, by describing what keeps him awake—his responsibilities

Why Does Shakespeare Use “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown? “

Why Does Shakespeare Use “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown? “

Shakespeare chose to use this word to show the dissatisfaction of the King at the time with his position

He is struggling under the burden of his office

He has to worry about the men and women around him, France, the state of the people in his country, and any immediate or distant threats to his rule

Although there are mentors who can help, in the end, it all comes down to the King and what he does

This quote is meant to remind readers that while being King or Queen comes with a lot of power, money, and fame, it also comes with dangerous responsibilities that make ultimate happiness hard to come by

Shakespeare uses “unsettled” as a way to show that the King is restless in everyday life and when he is trying to sleep

When he “lays” his head under the pillow, it becomes difficult as he struggles with his many problems

What does it mean to say, “the crowned head is rich?” This quote, which was inspired by a phrase used by William Shakespeare, suggests that someone with energy will rest less than someone without

With power comes responsibility that can prevent a person from being happy

What does wearing a crown mean?

The word “wearing a crown” indicates that someone is a King or Queen

Or that in general, they are responsible

This means that they can make decisions but are also responsible for dealing with them

Which Shakespearean play uses the phrase “the head that wears the helmet is unsteady?” This word is used in the play King Henry IV, Part II

Read: Henry IV, Part II by William Shakespeare

See: Henry IV, Part II

See: William Shakespeare’s Best Plays

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