Dirty Shakespeare

I’ve read a couple shakespeare plays in school, and found them mildly interesting. But something I found really interesting were a couple dirty puns I saw. At first, I figured that stuff must just sound dirty. But then I stumbled on a web page that said that mr. S did stuff like that all the time, and my textbooks were probably heavily edited.

So, guys, I (and, I’m sure, lots of others) would like to hear quotes of dirty jokes found in shakespeare’s works.

There are too many bawdy puns in Shakespeare to cover them exhaustively here, but my rule of thumb is that if you think something in Shakespeare is dirty, it very likely is. :wink:

Get a copy of The Decameron.
It isn’t Shakespeare, but it’s ribald.

"That I were a poperin pear
And thou an open-arse.’

(Romeo and Juliet, almost certainly misquoted)

Isn’t it Othello that mentions “the beast with two backs”?

Right play, wrong character, Lola; Iago tells, uh, someone that, uh, someone else and, uh, a third person are making the beat with two backs.

All right, I’ll go look it up…



What profane wretch art thou?


I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.

The book An Underground Education by Richard Zacks has a section on this.

Some examples:

Wow. I was seriously just going to start this thread. Here’s my current favorite.

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

Taming of the Shrew

Lady, shall I lie in your lap? (Lying down at OPHELIA’s feet)

OPHELIA No, my lord.

HAMLET I mean, my head upon your lap?

OPHELIA Ay, my lord.

HAMLET Do you think I meant country matters?

OPHELIA I think nothing, my lord.

HAMLET That’s a fair thought to lie between maids’ legs.
There are obvious sexual references in those lines but go to this site (Item 12) to read about Hamlet’s reference to “country matters”:


good topic freiheit



Who can control his fate? 'tis not so now.
Be not afraid, though you do see me weapon’d;
Here is my journey’s end, here is my butt

I can just imagine Othello, waving his dagger, and pointing to his rear-end.

Hamlet, II.ii

My excellent good friends! How dost thou,
Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do ye both?

As the indifferent children of the earth.

Happy, in that we are not over-happy;
On fortune’s cap we are not the very button.

Nor the soles of her shoe?

Neither, my lord.

Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of
her favours?

'Faith, her privates we.

In the secret parts of fortune? O, most true; she
is a strumpet. What’s the news?
A little joke on Lady Luck.

JULIUS CAESAR: “Come on my right hand”

My favorite, from Titus Andronicus

Chiron: Thou hast undone our mother.
Aaron: Villain, I have done thy mother.

And it means exactly what it sounds like.

Great stuff, guys. Thanks for responding.

I went to a production of “As You Like It” when I was in high school. There were run-ons between scenes, with crazy hijinks.
One sticks out in my mind.

Phoebe: Thou hast not the measure for pleasure.
Silvius: (running after her, his breeches at his ankles) IM YOUNG!!! I’LL GROW!!!

Of course, there’s the famous “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them”, from Twelfth Night. And there’s a lot of them in Measure for Measure, too. Upon being informed that one of the main characters is in jail, “Why? What has he done?” “A woman.”.

Of course Shakespeare intended all of these. Why did you think that he’s stayed so popular over all the centuries?

The old man in Taming of the Shrew : My cake is dough on both sides. :smiley:

Touchstone in As You Like It is quite the naughty boy. Just listen to the things he says! Unfortunately, in one of my moves my copy has gotten lost of buried:(

I rather like this exchange from Much Ado About Nothing:

DON PEDRO: You have put him down, lady, you have put him down.
BEATRICE: So I would not he should do me, lest I should prove the mother of fools.

Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet is pretty much the champion at this sort of thing. A sample:

MERCUTIO: Thou desirest me to stop in my tale against the hair.
BENVOLIO: Thou wouldst else have made thy tale large.
MERCUTIO: O, thou art deceived; I would have made it short: for I was come to the whole depth of my tale, and meant indeed to occupy the argument no longer.

And there’s this unfortunate innuendo from Henry V:

“Pistol’s cock is up, and flashing fire will follow!”

Well, I suppose when your name is a phallic symbol, you can’t help but talk dirty… :wink:

Damn, I gotta go dig out my old Shakespeare textbook from the attic!

I do remember in the first part of Henry IV, when the French send the King tennis balls, and our professor was asking us about what the message was. We were trying to guess, and I thought they were saying that the English didn’t have the balls to do anything.

But I was wrong, dammit.

Twelfth Night, II.v.

I’ll edit it a bit to make it clearer: “these be her very C’s, her U’s, ‘n’ her T’s”.

Also see “Shakespeare’s Bawdy” by Eric Partridge for much more.

The puntastic Sonnet 135, keeping in mind that “Will” could stand for the writer’s name, ‘will’ as a noun (inclination or disposition), a lady’s rudie bits, or a gentleman’s rudie bits:

Shakespeare was notorious enough for being indecent in places that he indirectly gave rise to the, now possibly slightly archaic, term “to bowdlerize”. Thomas Bowdler (1754-1825) having edited out the rude bits, or rather “whatever is unfit to be read aloud by a gentleman to a company of ladies”, to produce The Family Shakespeare in 1818. It’s sufficiently famous as a case of 19th century prudishness that I’d hope that textbook editors these days would be wary of following his example.

The Cambridge Companion to Literature in English’s entry on him notes that he did the same with Gibbon. He’d at least put the very rude bits in Latin in the first place.