Shakespearean Insults

Shakespearean Insults!

You juggler! you canker-blossom!
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (3.2.293)

Away, you mouldy rogue, away!
Henry IV P II (2.4.117)

Hang him, swaggering rascal!
Henry IV P II (2.4.66)

I was lucky enough to get to observe a TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club session last Saturday morning at Oakwood Village Library, and the children there had a fantastic time hurling a variety of Shakespearean insults at each other! It was really great to see these 7-12 year olds bring so much energy to the lines and deliver them with such relish.

Shakespeare certainly knew how to write a good insult –

Thou sodden-witted lord! thou hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows.
Troilus and Cressida (2.1.41)

Out of my sight! thou dost infect my eyes.
Richard III (1.2.159)

Just this week there’s been a great link doing the rounds on social media – ‘17 Shakespearean Insults To Unleash In Everyday Life’ from BuzzFeed UK:

Here are some of my favourites – and just to make them even better – there’s some dramatic looking cats thrown in as well!


Titus Andronicus [IV. ii. 1756]

enhanceinsult cat2d-buzz-10880-1365606373-8

Taming of the Shrew [IV. i. 1642]


Henry IV P I [II. ii. 772]


Two Gentlemen of Verona [I. ii. 249]


Henry IV P I [II. iv. 1054-56]

By Linda Nicoll


BuzzFeed UK ‘17 Shakespearean Insults To Unleash In Everyday Life’ Luke Lewis 11 April 2013 [Accessed 17 April 2013]

(Original photos taken from Shutterstock for BuzzFeed link)

Open Source Shakespeare, ‘Advanced Search’ George Mason University 2013: [Accessed 17 April 2013]