(Some) Literary References in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

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Is it my soul that calls upon my name?

from Romeo and Juliet

Oh, you should never, never doubt what nobody is sure about.

from The Microbe
by Hilaire Belloc [1870-1953]

The suspense is terrible. I hope it’ll last.

from The Importance of Being Earnest, Act III
by Oscar Wilde [1854-1900]

All I ask is a tall ship and a star to sail her by.

from Sea Fever
by John Masefield [1878-1967]

‘Round the world and home again, that’s the sailor’s way!

from Homeward Bound
by William Allingham [1828-1889]

In springtime, the only pretty ring time
Birds sing, hey ding
A-ding, a-ding
Sweet lovers love the spring–

from As You Like It, Act V, Scene 3
by William Shakespeare [1564-1616]

Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.

Reflections on Ice-Breaking
by Ogden Nash [1902-1971]

Where is fancy bred? In the heart, or in the head? Shall we roll on?

from The Merchant of Venice, Act III, Scene 2
by William Shakespeare [1564-1616]

(And my personal favorite…)
We are the music-makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.

from Ode
by Arthur O’Shaughnessy [1844-1881]

We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams.
World-losers and world-forsakers,
Upon whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers,
Of the world forever, it seems.

With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world’s great cities,
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire’s glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song’s measure
Can trample an empire down.

We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world’s worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.

(from Tom Brodhead)


  1. “Up the airy mountain, down the rushing glen, we dare not go a hunting, for fear of little men!” -The Fairies by William Allingham

    “So shines a good deed in a weary world.” The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare

    “Bubbles, bubbles, and not a drop to drink” Paraphrase of “Water, water all around, and not a drop to drink” The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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