The 8 Dirtiest Moments in Shakespeare

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Image of 4 shakespearean actors entwined in a 4-way embrace

Good morrow and well met, for today is Shakespeare’s birthday AND death-day and to celebrate appropriately we have scraped together 8 of the dirtiest bawdy (bardy) moments from ol’ Shakey-pants’ work.

Because it’s always been about the dick jokes, y’all. Do you know us but at all?

So, adjust your ruff, pull up your cross-gartered stockings, and let’s get the fuck into it.

1. Much Ado About Nothing

Right from the title we’re dealing in double entendres. ‘Nothing’ is Elizabethan slang for vagina so it basically means: “a lot of fuss about pussy”. Cool. 

Then almost immediately, our first introduction to one of the protagonists alludes to him being a walking venereal disease: “If he have caught the Benedick, it will cost him a thousand pound ere a’ be cured.” 

In return, Benedick swears he will never “hang my bugle in an invisible baldrick” and on it goes for 5 acts. Even BeneDICK’s eventual declaration of love includes a sex pun. “I will live in thy heart, die (orgasm) in thy lap, and be buried in your eyes.” Stay classy, guys. 

Gif of Denzel Washington as Don Jon wagging his finger with a knowing smile

2. Romeo & Juliet

Just your regular tween romance in which thirteen-year-old Juliet monologues repeatedly about how much she wants to get Ro-Ro into her bed. Even the classic ‘a rose by any other name’ speech includes the line: “nor hand, nor foot, nor arm, nor any other part belonging to a man” fnar fnar. 

Oh, and she also dies (slang for orgasm) asking for his ‘happy dagger’ to rust inside her ‘sheath’. Yeah yeah, it’s a tragedy, but it’s also sex ‘n’ death right to the end.

Black and white gif of a woman swooning dramatically to the ground

3. Twelfth Night

Malvolio is the king of (accidental?) debauchery. While reading a (forged) letter from the lady he fancies, he declares: “By my life, this is my lady’s hand. These be her very C’s, her U’s and (N) her T’s, and thus makes she her great P’s.” Yes, that is how you spell **** and we’ll let you figure out the P bit. 

He’s also responsible for the most misquoted line by wannabe motivational speakers everywhere: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness THRUST upon ‘em.” 

Yes, he’s talking about his dick.

Gif of a white man in an open shirt doing a thrusting dance

4. Hamlet

To be or not to be whatever, but just imagine trying to sneak ‘c*ntry matters’ past the censors today:

HAMLET: Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
OPHELIA: No, my lord.
HAMLET: I mean, my head upon your lap.
OPHELIA: Ay, my lord.
HAMLET: Do you think I mean country matters?
OPHELIA: I think nothing, my lord.
HAMLET: That’s a fair thought to lie between maids’ legs

Reminder that ‘nothing’ also means vagina. That’s a double whammy in the space of 7 lines. Kudos, sir. 

Gif of a white woman in a denim jacket saying 'shocking'

5. Sonnet 20

Elizabethans loved a nice bit of androgyny, and never more so in this poem whereby Shakey talks in detail about how his (male) patron is soooo pretty and delicate and feminine AF and he’s super totally into that even though nature added ‘one thing to my purpose nothing’ (psst he’s talking about the guy’s cock) and ‘prick’d thee out for women’s pleasure’ (still talking about cock) but that’s ok cos all the laydeez will ‘use’ his ‘treasure’ (cock). 

Mm hmm. 

Cue all the old man scholars arguing for several hundred years that there was absolutely nothing gay about any of this lol bless.

Gif of David from Schitt's Creek rolling his eyes and nodding

6. The Taming of the Shrew

An otherwise irredeemable play contains this arse-licking zinger: 

PETRUCHIO: Who knows not where a wasp does wear his sting? In his tail.
KATHARINA: In his tongue.
PETRUCHIO: Whose tongue?
KATHARINA: Yours, if you talk of tails: and so farewell.
PETRUCHIO: What, with my tongue in your tail?

No further comments, your honour.

Gif of a white, red-headed woman sticking her tongue out and making a face

7. Henry V

Ok, buckle in for some Franglaise as the French Princess Catherine practices her English in preparation for marrying Henry, mispronouncing various body parts in a hilarious display of casual xenophobia. But the tables turn beautifully and profanely when she asks her maid the English word for ‘robe’ and is told ‘coun’ (gown) which sounds a lot like… uh… See you next Tuesday. 

Yep. Shakespeare really got the future queen of England to say c*nt live on stage. Bravo.

Gif of a white woman dressed as a quieen saying 'we'll see what happens' and licking her lips

8. Titus Andronicus

Aaaaand possibly the first recorded ye olde yo mama joke: 

CHIRON: Thou hast undone our mother.
AARON: Villain! I hath done thy mother!

Boom boom. Because he had sex wtih her. It’s about sex. It’s a sex joke. Okay cool. Bye. 

Gif of a black man saying yo mama

WHAT MORE DEBAUCHED VAGUELY WRITING RELATED STUFF LIKE THIS?

Of course you do.

Try these on for size:

Shakespeare in Love: The Best and Worst (But Mostly Worst) Couples in Shakespeare

Writing About S-E-X (omg mum please don’t read this)

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JoWHQ

JoWHQ

Jo is a writer who procrastinates about writing by writing about writing. She looks exactly like her avatar.
A happy woman sitting on a green sofa with a laptop. Lovely kitchen in the background. I'd be happy too tbh

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