Who Said That Hell Is Empty And All The Devils Are Here? Unveiling the Origins and Impact of Shakespeare’s Iconic Phrase

Welcome to our blog post on the origins of the famous quote, “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” Have you ever wondered who said these chilling words? Well, you’re in for a devilishly delightful journey as we dive into the depths of literature to uncover the origins of this haunting phrase. From Shakespeare’s mastery of words to the influence of his devilish quotes in everyday English, prepare to be captivated by the dark allure of these timeless words. So, grab a cup of tea, dim the lights, and join us as we unravel the mystery behind this spine-tingling quote. Hell may be empty, but this blog post is anything but!

The Origins of “Hell is Empty and All the Devils Are Here”

The chilling words, “Hell is empty and all the devils are here,” echo across time from the lips of William Shakespeare’s character in The Tempest. A sentiment so profound that it transcends the era in which it was penned, this quote originates from a pivotal moment in Act 1, Scene 2, revealing the depth of Shakespeare’s mastery in capturing the human condition.

In this scene, the sentiment is expressed by the character Ferdinand, son of the King of Naples, who finds himself shipwrecked and confronted with the bewildering enchantments of Prospero’s island. It is a powerful metaphor for the revelation that the true nature of chaos and malevolence can often be found in our mortal realm, rather than some distant infernal pit.

The tenor of these words has captivated audiences for centuries, inspiring artists and thinkers to reflect on the darker aspects of humanity. This phrase has not only been immortalized in literary discussions but has also resonated within the echelons of music, particularly within the metal genre, where it has been embraced as an emblem of the tumultuous and often hellish nature of human existence.

Fact Detail
Original Source The Tempest by William Shakespeare, Act 1, Scene 2
Influential Use Title of the fourth album by British extreme metal band Anaal Nathrakh
Album Release October 29, 2007, by FETO Records

This stark pronouncement has also found its way into the titles of books and journals, gracing covers with its foreboding message, ever prompting readers to ponder its implications. The phrase’s resilience in cultural memory is a testament to the enduring power of Shakespeare’s language and its ability to articulate fundamental truths about our world.

The presence of this quote in such diverse forms of expression underscores its universal appeal and its capacity to speak to the fundamental fears and perceptions of our society. It captures a timeless truth: that the evils and tribulations we face in life often arise not from some external, mythological source, but from within the very fabric of our human interactions.

As we delve further into the realms of Shakespeare’s influence and the way his phrases have woven into the fabric of everyday English, let us continue to reflect on the potency of his words, which remain as relevant and stirring today as they did when they were first written.

Shakespeare’s Mastery of Words

The Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare, has an enduring legacy that has percolated through the ages, primarily due to his extraordinary command over the English language. His works are a testament to his ability to encapsulate the profundity of human experience within the confines of words. The quote “Hell is empty and all the devils are here,” a stark observation from The Tempest, is but a droplet in the ocean of Shakespeare’s linguistic prowess.

This phrase, a reflection of chaos unleashed in the mortal realm, showcases Shakespeare’s skill in weaving themes of human nature and societal structures into a tapestry of poetic dialogue. Shakespeare’s quotes are not mere words strung together; they are philosophical musings that have echoed through time, resonating with countless generations. Consider another gem from his collection:

“To be, or not to be: that is the question.”

This existential quandary from Hamlet captures the essence of human indecision and the fear of the unknown. It is a line that has been pondered upon and interpreted in myriad ways, yet its core speaks to the universal human condition.

Similarly, when Shakespeare penned:

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players,”

he was not simply crafting a metaphor for the theater but elucidating a vision of life itself, where each individual plays their assigned role, dictated by the unseen script of fate. This line from As You Like It reflects the transient nature of our existence and the roles we assume throughout our lives.

Shakespeare’s words often paint pictures of the intangible, as seen in the line:

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on,”

which turns our attention to the ethereal quality of our aspirations and existence, as portrayed in The Tempest. Likewise, expressions of love’s trials and tribulations are elegantly captured in:

“The course of true love never did run smooth,”

a sentiment from A Midsummer Night’s Dream that speaks to the heart’s perennial struggle.

The maestro of words also understood the power of music, declaring:

“If music be the food of love, play on,”

in Twelfth Night, thereby acknowledging the deep connection between our emotions and the arts.

Additionally, his ability to address the masses is immortalized in:

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears,”

from Julius Caesar, a call to attention that has transcended the play and found a place in modern rhetoric.

Shakespeare’s influence is such that his phrases have seeped into our everyday language, often without us realizing their origin. The proclamation “O brave new world” from The Tempest has become a common expression of wonderment at the future, while the simple yet profound “Be not afraid of greatness,” from Twelfth Night, encourages the pursuit of excellence.

He also reflects on the human condition with:

“We know what we are, but know not what we may be,”

an introspective line from Hamlet that speaks to the potential and unpredictability within us all. By delving into the depths of human nature and the complexities of society, Shakespeare’s words continue to enlighten, entertain, and inspire. As we wade through his sea of quotes, we find that the relevance of his work is as potent as ever, proving that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.

The next section will further explore how Shakespeare’s phrases have become an integral part of the English language, demonstrating the enduring impact of his works on everyday communication.

Shakespeare’s Phrases in Everyday English

The Bard of Avon’s linguistic legacy resonates through the corridors of time, echoing in the nooks and crannies of our everyday speech. The phrases coined by William Shakespeare have woven themselves into the very fabric of the English language. Let’s delve into the fascinating world of these expressions, which have clung to our tongues and found a home in modern vernacular.

Take, for example, the idiom “a wild goose chase”, a gem mined from the depths of Romeo and Juliet. It captures the futility of pursuing the unattainable, a chase after something as unpredictable as a wild goose. Today, it’s tossed around in boardrooms and playgrounds alike, describing a task that is likely a waste of time and effort.

Then there’s the relatable confession of being “in such a pickle”, voiced by the shipwrecked and disoriented Alonso in The Tempest. This phrase has sailed through centuries to describe our own moments of confusion or a particularly tricky situation. It’s a testament to Shakespeare’s understanding of the human condition that we still reach for his words when we find ourselves in a muddle.

And who can forget the layered complexity of Hamlet’s declaration, “I must be cruel, only to be kind”? This paradoxical statement from the troubled prince of Denmark, Hamlet, has traversed the emotional spectrum of literature to encapsulate the essence of tough love. It’s a phrase that captures the heart-wrenching decisions we sometimes must make for the greater good.

These examples are mere droplets in the ocean of Shakespeare’s influence. His mastery over language not only entertained and moved audiences of his day but continues to permeate our conversations with richness and color. As we utter these phrases, we may not always recall their storied origins, yet we are testament to the timeless relevance of Shakespeare’s words.

So the next time you find yourself chasing a hopeless endeavor, mired in confusion, or making a difficult choice for someone’s well-being, take a moment to appreciate the enduring wisdom of Shakespeare that still guides us through the complexities of life.

As we continue to explore the myriad ways in which Shakespeare’s language enriches our daily discourse, let us remember that these phrases are not mere relics of the past, but living, breathing elements of our present, shaping our expression and understanding of the world around us.

Other Famous Devilish Quotes

While the Bard’s haunting proclamation that “Hell is empty and all the devils are here” reverberates through the centuries, it finds company among other memorable infernal sayings that have captivated our collective imaginations. These quotes, like Shakespeare’s, explore the darker aspects of humanity and the mythic figure of the devil, each resonating with the cultural zeitgeist of their times.

Consider the humorous twist in Flip Wilson’s iconic line, “the devil made me do it.” This phrase, which became a catchall excuse for mischievous deeds, reflects a cultural moment where accountability meets folklore, encapsulating the human tendency to externalize blame. Wilson’s comedic genius turned the concept of temptation on its head, giving rise to a pop culture catchphrase that deflects responsibility with a wink and a smile.

In a more emboldening tone, Adharanand Finn’s words, “The Devil whispered in my ear: ‘You’re not strong enough to withstand the storm.’ Today I whispered in the Devil’s ear: ‘I am the storm.’” evoke a sense of defiant self-empowerment. This contemporary quote speaks to the resilience of the human spirit, a stark contrast to the notion of yielding to malevolent forces. It’s a battle cry for those who face their challenges head-on, transforming fear into fortitude.

These devilish quips and retorts, though varying in tone and context, share a common thread with Shakespeare’s enduring words. They all confront the concept of evil, either by accepting its influence with humor, as Wilson did, or by rejecting it with bold defiance, as Finn exemplifies. They contribute to the tapestry of our discourse on good and evil, adding layers of interpretation and nuance to an age-old struggle that continues to fascinate and perplex.

The allure of these quotes lies not only in their cleverness but also in their ability to capture the enduring human fascination with the diabolical. They serve as cultural touchstones that reflect our evolving relationship with the concept of the devil and the darkness within. As we weave these phrases into our conversations and narratives, they become part of the lexicon of our times, echoing Shakespeare’s legacy of exploring the depths of human nature through the power of words.


Q: Who said the line “Hell is empty and all the devils are here”?
A: The line “Hell is empty and all the devils are here” is from William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest.

Q: Where does the quote “all the devils are here” come from?
A: The quote “all the devils are here” comes from the first act of William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest.

Q: What is the fourth album by British extreme metal band Anaal Nathrakh titled?
A: The fourth album by British extreme metal band Anaal Nathrakh is titled “Hell Is Empty, and All the Devils Are Here.”

Q: What book features the quote “Hell is empty and all the devils are here”?
A: The quote “Hell is empty and all the devils are here” is featured in William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest.