Friday, August 2, 2013

The Art Of The Shakespearean Insult

People are far too lazy to come up with a decent insult nowadays. Long ago, it was common to put a bit of thought into your words before you wrote them. Of course, this likely had to do with the fact that written communication could take days, weeks, or even months to reach its destination depending on how far you were sending it. 

With the creation of the internet, everything has changed. When we're upset with someone, we can send off a Facebook message, tweet, or text that will almost instantaneously be delivered to the recipient's electronic device of choice. Why bother thinking up a good insult when you can just call them a horrible name or reduce them to a stereotype without the slightest hesitation?

For all we know, this could be a female tiger full of milk.
While you shouldn't go around insulting people all the time, sometimes it is good to let off a bit of steam. If you really need to tell someone they're an idiot, why not be clever about it? Shakespeare was the king of classy insults, so we thought we'd share just a few of our favorites. Perhaps they'll inspire us all to put more thought into our words in the future.

When describing your evil boss: "There is no more mercy in him than there is milk in a male tiger." - Coriolanus

Instead of "unfriending" someone on Facebook, try: "I do desire we may be better strangers." - As You Like It

Can't stand someone's idiotic prattle? Here are two options: "More of your conversation would infect my brain." - Coriolanus and "You are a tedious fool." - Measure for Measure

If you really prefer name-calling, try: "'Sblood, you starveling, you elf-skin, you dried neat's-tongue, you bull's-a-pizzle, you stock-fish! O! for breath to utter what is like thee; you tailor's-yard, you sheath, you bow-case, you vile standing tuck!" - Henry IV, Part 1

Are obscure references more your thing? Try: "Thou art a Castilian King urinal!" - The Merry Wives of Windsor

Burn.
For those who like linguistic insults: "Thou whoreson zed! Thou unnecessary letter!" - King Lear

Or, there's always: "You are as a candle, the better part burnt out." - Henry IV, Part 1

If you have a favorite insult by William Shakespeare, share it with us in the comments! We'd also love to hear any clever zingers you've come up with and used on your own.