If you’ve encountered the phrase “we will all laugh at gilded butterflies” it might have left you a little confused. Is it some kind of instruction? Is it our plan for Saturday night? Because it sounds kind of boring.
Don’t worry, we’ll enlighten you. Saturday is bowling night.
We Will All Laugh at Gilded Butterflies – Meaning
“We will all laugh at gilded butterflies” is a quote that encourages people to look beyond the shiny exteriors of others. A butterfly that has been gilded may look beautiful, but it can no longer fly, meaning it has lost one of its main purposes and pleasures in life.
To be “gilded” means to be covered in a layer of gold. The weight of the gold would prevent the beautiful butterfly from ever taking flight again. Also, if we’re being realistic, dipping a butterfly in molten gold would kill it.
But we’re not being realistic. This is a metaphor. It’s saying that, although someone may appear beautiful and blessed externally, what lies below their surface can still be broken. From a distance, you might think someone has a perfect, shiny life but it can all be built on a lie.
- Person 1: I thought she had everything, but it turns out her husband’s cheating on her and they’re in a ton of debt!
- Person 2: Well, we will all laugh at gilded butterflies.
We Will All Laugh at Gilded Butterflies – Origin
The quote “we will all laugh at gilded butterflies” comes from actress Megan Fox, who has the words tattooed on her back.
However, she adapted the quote from the bard himself, Shakespeare.
It was King Lear, in the titular play,who said:
- So we’ll live, and pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh at gilded butterflies.
In the play, Lear is betrayed by his two daughters, and Cordelia’s older sisters, Regan and Goneril. He is tricked into believing that they love him and will take care of his kingdom. However, they quickly use his trust to overthrow him.
In this scene, he is attempting to comfort Cordelia, as they have both been taken prisoner. Regan and Goneril proved to be the “gilded butterflies” in the play – corrupt people masquerading under a facade of beauty and love.
In the quote above, Lear is suggesting that when he and Cordelia survive, they will simply laugh at those who hurt them, as their power will also prove to be a facade.
We Will All Laugh at Gilded Butterflies – Similar Quotes
Let’s take a look at some quotes that express similar sentiments to “we will all laugh at gilded butterflies”:
- Don’t judge a book by its cover.
- Don’t judge men’s wealth or godliness by their Sunday appearance. (Benjamin Franklin)
- Beauty is only skin deep.
- It’s what’s inside that counts.
- Looks can be deceiving.
Phrases That Mean the Opposite of “We Will All Laugh at Gilded Butterflies”
If “we will all laugh at gilded butterflies” is a quote that reminds us not to judge by appearances, then the opposite would be any phrase that encourages us to do so. Strangely, these are somewhat hard to come by.
We’ve persevered, however, and found at least one:
- Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. (Oscar Wilde)
This quote is taken from the preface to Oscar Wilde’s 1891 novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Wilde faced great criticism for the book, as it had been interpreted by many to be immoral and advocating for homosexuality.
He added the preface to beg critics to take it at face value, as a beautiful thing, not a reflection of him as an author. Sadly, it didn’t work, and the book was later used as evidence against him in his trial for homosexuality.
Correct Ways to Say “We Will All Laugh at Gilded Butterflies”
“We will all laugh at gilded butterflies” is already Megan Fox’s reinterpretation of the original quote from King Lear,which simply says:
- Laugh at gilded butterflies.
As such, we think you have license to play around with this one a little.
- We will laugh at gilded butterflies.
- We all laugh at gilded butterflies.
- We’ll laugh at gilded butterflies.
In What Situations Can You Use “We Will All Laugh at Gilded Butterflies”?
Use “we will all laugh at gilded butterflies” when discussing something or someone that appeared brilliant at first glance but turned out to be disappointing.
- Person 1: My new phone looks amazing, but you can’t actually use it to make calls.
- Person 2: We will all laugh at gilded butterflies.
- Person 1: What?
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.