Tag Archives: Shakespeare

Hoisted with One’s Own Petard

Castle About to Blow

     The phrase “hoisted with one’s own petard” was first referenced by Shakespeare in Hamlet. A petard was a small bomb used to blow breaches in gates or walls. They were bell- or box-shaped boxes of metal or wood which were filled with gunpowder. 

Sample petards

The device, usually constructed by engineers, was used by the military forces of all the major European fighting nations by the 16th century. Shakespeare’s reference, therefore, was to seeing an engineer blown up by the bomb he constructed. 

Tomorrow, The King’s Speech                    Rita Bay


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Shakespeare’s Insults

William Shakespeare

Famous dramatist and poet William Shakespeare, (1564-1616) had a flair for insults. Check out a few of my favorites:

Tis such fools as you That makes the world full of ill-favor’d children. As You Like It, 3. 5 ‘

Tis time to fear when tyrants seem to kiss. Pericles, 1. 2 A fiend like thee might bear my soul to hell. Twelfth Night, 3. 4

A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Macbeth, 5. 5

As loathsome as a toad. Titus Andronicus, 4. 2

Dogs easily won to fawn on any man! Richard II, 3. 2

Froth and scum, thou liest! The Merry Wives of Windsor, 1. 1

Go hang yourselves all: you are idle, shallow things, I am not of your element. Twelfth Night, 3. 4

Her beauty and her brain go not together. Cymbeline, 1. 3

He has not so much brain as ear-wax. Troilus and Cressida, 5.1

I scorn you, scurvy companion. What, you poor, base, rascally, cheating, lack-linen mate! Away, you mouldy rogue, away! Henry IV Part 2, 2. 4

Paltry, servile, abject drudges! Henry VI Part 2, 4. 1

Such bugs and goblins in my life! Hamlet, 5. 2

Vengeance rot you all! Titus Andronicus, 5. 1

Do you have a favorite insult to share?

Tomorrow:  A Doctor’s Prescription.               Rita Bay

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