Twelfth Night (Act 2, scene 5)
"Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em."
I hate to burst everyone’s bubble, but this seemingly poignant quote is actually pretty raunchy. (Please don’t let that stop you from slapping it on inspirational posters and cross-stitch patterns. IT’S WHAT SHAKESPEARE WOULD HAVE WANTED.)
Here, “great" is actually a synonym for “wealthy,” so what Malvolio is saying is you’re born with money, you earn money, or you have money “thrust” upon you. Having money “thrust” upon you means that you married rich, with marriage implying sexy things. During live performances, the actor playing Malvolio often does a pelvic thrust here just so there’s no confusion. Besides, can you imagine Shakespeare using the word “thrust” and NOT meaning it in a sexy way? He’s practically winking at us and going “GET IT?”