The Best Shakespearian Cusses For Modern Use

Saturday marked 400 years since Shakespeare’s death and South Bank was full of it. Even President Obama visited The Globe for a quick performance of a Hamlet scene, while screens dotted along the riverside played various versions of his plays to crowds. Because, he’s kind of a big deal.

The barometer (bard-ometer?) for love, rage, betrayal, desire, comedy and tragedy, Shakespeare gave us words for every situation. “Tempt not a desperate man”, “The lady doth protest too much”, “That it should come to this” (anyone else hear The Streets’ “Has it come to this” from Original Pirate Material?)

He also gave us the hardest cusses. While our generation are still reeling from such witty slays as “your mum”, Shakespeare’s squad were rather more cutting. Well, at least better articulated, as “Villain, I have done thy mother” from Titus Andronicus proves. So from Macbeth to Macduff, Henry V to Falstaff, here’s an edit of the best Shakespearian takedowns. Suggested read: in Rowan Atkinson’s voice.