Not long ago the world of insults was plagued with “your mama” jabs and blonde jokes. Before impetuous contemporary attempts ensued, a true master of insults graced the stage: Shakespeare. His talent goes beyond fatal love stories, tragic comedies and dramatic historical accounts. Indeed, Shakespeare padded his stories with incredible insults that will set you apart when you use them today.
“I do desire we may become better strangers.”
This has to be my favorite insult from Shakespeare. His quote from “As You Like It” is short and simple, even for those who are not fluent in Shakespearean English. A great way to address the fact that you may not want to spend as much time with someone, this insult goes great with a subtle head tilt and a sarcastic delivery.
“Thou art a boil, a plague sore, an embossed carbuncle in my corrupted blood.”
Shakespeare knew how to create vivid imagery with this “King Lear” insult. It’s disgusting, it’s detailed and it’s effective.
“A most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise breaker, the owner of not one good quality!”
This is talent. Fight after fight of telling someone they do not keep their word or live up to the standards necessary in any relationship. The quote from “All’s Well that Ends Well” can be the tool you need to silence a quarrel and demand self-reflection from the other person.
“Away you three-inch fool!”
Wow, Shakespeare struck hard in “The Taming of the Shrew.” Nothing hurts more to a man than this. Use wisely and only when every other option has failed, because coming back from this five-word insult will be difficult.
“If you spend word for word with me, I shall make your wit bankrupt.”
Do not try to outwit the master of words. You will fail. Shakespeare warns all dim-witted fools that they cannot match his craftsmanship of words. So, next time you wish to insult a person’s lack of witty nature, pull this classic insult from “Two Gentlemen of Verona” out of your bag.
“Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit, for I am sick when I do look on thee.”
Imagine spitting this insult out with a perfected “stink eye” plastered on your face. With this quote from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” you’ll definitely take someone aback.
“Thou leathern-jerkin, crystal-button, knot-pated, agatering, puke-stocking, caddis-garter, smooth-tongue, Spanish pouch.”
Who doesn’t love a long-threaded, never ending insult that leaves you breathless after sputtering the words? Here is another powerful quote from “Henry IV, Part One” that can be used when the average “you suck” does not suffice.
So, if you’re tired of the common jabs at your foes, use these Shakespearean lines to exceed all expectations for your next insult.
Follow Ashlie Benson on Twitter: @Ashlie_Corina