The Awesome Insult, part 2

I just loaded the StumbleUpon app to my iPad and the first place it sent me was a list of Shakespeare's best insults. I'm surprised at how few of these I remember. Most are the kind of thing you might expect: "Out of my sight! thou dost infect my eyes," from Richard III or "You whoreson malt-horse drudge" from The Taming Of The Shrew.

But there are also plenty that would feel right at home on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" or "30 Rock:"

"Your abilities are too infant-like for doing much alone." - Coriolanus

"I do desire we may be better strangers." - All's Well That Ends Well

"More of your conversation would infect my brain." - Coriolanus

"There is no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune." - 1 Henry IV

Not on this list, but one that often pops into my head when considering certain people, is Hamlet's aside to Horatio on the first appearance of the sycophantic courtier Osric:


Hamlet: Dost know this water-fly?

Horatio: No, my good lord.

Hamlet: Thy state is the more gracious, for 'tis a vice to know him.


See the rest of the list here.

Image by Alice and Martin Provensen, taken from the book Shakespeare: Ten Great Plays (1962, Golden Press, New York)