William Shakespeare is known for many things: his beautiful language, his iambic pentameter, his poetry about people he definitely wasn’t married to, but one thing people have only recently begun to celebrate about him is his straight-up feistiness. While some of his contemporaries were secret spies, erotica pioneers and jealous haters, Shakespeare is the most widely recognizable writer on the planet arguably for his sly language and wit. Shakespeare could write some pretty sick burns when he wanted to, and was at least 8,000 times sassier than pretty much everyone else in the entire world. If he were alive today, he’d probably be really good at impromptu rap battles, in addition to being perplexed by emojis and female actors.
April 23, 2016 is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. In honor of the one-and-only Shakespeare, we thought we’d celebrate The Bard in the only way he would have wanted, by putting his dry sarcasm on full display.
Here’s a list of Shakespeare’s downright sassiest moments, in no particular order:
“Thou hast in thy skull no more brain than I have in mine elbows.” – Troilus and Cressida
“I desire we may be better strangers.” – As You Like It
“Don’t waste your love on somebody who doesn’t value it.” – Romeo and Juliet
“I’ll beat thee, but I should infect my hands.” – Timon of Athens
“I had rather chop this hand off at a blow, and with the other fling it at thy face, than bear so law a sail, to strike at thee.” – Henry VI
“When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married.” – Much Ado About Nothing
That other time you realized that the title Much Ado About Nothing was Elizabethan slang for “A Lot of Fuss Over Vaginas.”
“Thou damned and luxurious mountain goat, offer’st me brass?” – Henry V