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The meaning and origin of the expression: Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em

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Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em

What's the meaning of the phrase 'Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em'?

Literal meaning

What's the origin of the phrase 'Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em'?

Portrait of William ShakespeareFrom Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, 1602:

Malvalio:
In my stars I am above thee; but be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em.

See other phrases and sayings from Shakespeare.

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