Top 10 List of the Most Offensive Shakespearean Insults

Written by Ashleigh Gardner

December 14, 2016

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Shakespeare — his poetic language, his characters, and especially his mean, colorful, and outlandish jibes. When it comes to insults, Shakespeare slays.

#10 — From Richard III 

“Thou poisonous bunch-back’d toad!” (Act I, scene iii)


Get monologues from Richard III here.

#9 — From All’s Well That Ends Well

“A most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise breaker, the owner of no one good quality.” (Act III, scene vi)


Get monologues from All’s Well That Ends Well here.

#8 — From Measure For Measure

“Thou art a flesh-monger, a fool and a coward.” (Act V, scene i)


Get monologues from Measure for Measure here.

#7 — From Coriolanus

“More of your conversation would infect my brain.” (Act II, Scene i)


Get monologues from Coriolanus here.

#6 — From Macbeth

“Thou cream faced loon.” (Act V, Scene iii)


Get monologues from Macbeth here.

#5 — From Henry IV Part 2

“You scullion! You rampallian! You fustilarian! I’ll tickle your catastrophe!” (Act II, scene i)


Get monologues from Henry IV Part 2 here.

#4 — From The Taming of the Shrew

“You peasant swain! You whoreson malt-horse drudge!” (Act IV, scene i)


Get monologues from The Taming of the Shrew here.

#3 — From As You Like It

“Your brain is as dry as the remainder biscuit after voyage.” (Act II, scene vii)


Get monologues from As You Like It here.

#2 — From Henry IV Part 1

“You starvelling, you eel-skin, you dried neat’s-tongue, you bull’s-pizzle, you stock-fish–O for breath to utter what is like thee!-you tailor’s-yard, you sheath, you bow-case, you vile standing tuck!” (Act 2, Scene iv)


Get monologues from Henry IV Part 1 here.

#1 — From King Lear

A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson, glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest the least syllable of thy addition.” (Act II, scene ii)


Get monologues from King Lear here.

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Ashleigh Gardner received her AA in Theatre/Drama/Dramatic Arts from Valencia College and her Bachelors Degree in English Literature and Masters Degree in Literary, Cultural, and Textual Studies from the University of Central Florida. She is a playwright, an actor, and’s Editor. 
Thumbnail: Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash