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Shakespearean Insults

One of literature’s best word-slingers was William Shakespeare. Shakespeare could destroy a character in as little as ten words, much to the delight of his audiences. What is so fun about Shakespeare’s insults is that he doesn’t just call someone “coward,” he calls them “pigeon-livered”. We’ve complied a list of our favorite Shakespearean mic-drops:

“Scratching could not make it worse, an ‘twer such a face as yours were.” (Much Ado About Nothing) means, “You’re ugly.” Yikes!

“Thou art a boil, a plague sore, an embossed carbuncle in my corrupted blood” (King Lear) translates to “You’re a really mean person.”

“There’s a man that hath more hair than wit” (Comedy of Errors) means, “He’s not smart.”

See now why Shakespeare said it so much better?!

Learning how to process a great Shakespearean insult is about understanding how the bard was able to capture the right words, images and tones. We might not know exactly what he’s talking about, but certainly being called “a plague-sore” and “an embossed carbuncle” cannot be good. What are some of your favorites?

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