“Shakespeare Insults” is one of the most popular Shakespeare-related topics out there. The problem is that most of those sites are, in fact, just random phrase generators that result in funny-sounding insults that never actually were used in Shakespeare’s works.
Shakespeare is well-known for his sharp wit and clever insults, which have become iconic in popular culture. Some of his funniest and most memorable insults include lines like “Thou art a boil, a plague sore, an embossed carbuncle in my corrupted blood” from King Lear and “I do desire we may be better strangers” from As You Like It. Other memorable insults include “Thou art a flesh-monger, a fool and a coward” from Measure for Measure, and “Thou art a natural coward without instinct” from Henry IV, Part 1. Shakespeare’s insults were often used to mock and ridicule characters who were seen as foolish, vain, or cowardly, and they have since become a hallmark of his plays, adding humor and entertainment to the already rich and complex narratives.
Last night during Othello, I heard one that I don’t think I can call an insult, but it certainly goes under the banner of good “smack talk”. Othello is listening to Cassio talk about Desdemona (so he thinks). Where Cassio cannot hear him, Othello says, “O, I see that nose of yours, but not that dog I shall throw it to.” Nice! Who talks the best game in the works of Shakespeare?