All that glisters is not gold

William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, Act II Scene 7

Tolkien insightfully turns the saying around in The Fellowship of the Ring:

All that is gold does not glitter…

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, 182.

Wisdom looks past appearances. Gold gilding may hide rot. On the other hand, truth, beauty, and goodness may present with plain packaging.

  1. Don’t be too hasty to be taken in by handsome appearances. (E.g., Anna and Prince Hans in Frozen)
  2. Don’t be too hasty to rule out plain appearances. (E.g., The Selfish Prince and the Old Hag in Beauty and the Beast).
  3. Don’t rule out actual glittering gold in an attempt to absolutize 1 and 2 above.