The most celebrated English playwright in the world, William Shakespeare, might be shrouded in mystery but he sure did have a cheeky sense of humour. Along with being an absolutely brilliant playwright who tickles academic sensibilities and crafts literary devices, he is also a clever salesman.
His audience comprised of people from all walks of life, aristocrats and the bourgeoise looking for refined, well-crafted use of theatrical language as also the labour class who were looking to spend their holiday drinking, visiting whores near the theatres and spending an hour or two of idle time watching plays. Shakespeare used both, ingeniously crafted plots and literary devices, as well as cleverly disguised sexual puns which would draw raucous laughter from the crowds. Shakespeare has quite a lot of of allusions referring to sexy time.
This is the earliest ‘your mama’ joke I’ve seen.
Hamlet takes a break from his father’s ghost and stabbing his murderous uncle by talking creepily to his girlfriend Ophelia.
In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, there is a play within the play in which the wall is being played by a man. So kissing the wall’s hole was probably not a very pleasant option for the speaker.
Though what the slang ‘cock’ stands for today wasn’t prevalent back then, the pun is un-mistakeable.
Malvolio reads out this letter from Olivia, whose employ he is in and tries to decipher her handwriting but it’s pretty obvious what he spells out.
The open arse bit and what it refers to is pretty clear and poperin sounds suspiciously like ‘pop her in’ pear or another word for penis.
Hamlet describing his mother and his uncle’s sexy time together.
Not appetite for a cheeseburger. The other kind of appetite.
You’ll never guess what they’re actually talking about – hair. Andrew’s hair is lank and dull in the play so Sir Toby uses the image of a woman who spins yarn from flax. And also, obviously, sex.
‘Making the beast with two backs’ had become a common term for sexual intercourse in which in a missionary position or presumably standing up, two people would look like one person entwined and with two backs facing outwards.
These lines are part of a conversation in which Hamlet asks Guildenstern and Rosencrantz how Fate is treating them to which they reply neither too good nor too bad; neither on the top of Fate nor “soles of her shoes.” Hamlet replies to this saying, “Then you live about her waist..” and they have a snigger cause dirty joke. Lawl.
Dwell on the line, “My cherry lips have kissed thy stones.”
Take that Fifty Shades-of-various-colours!
Design Credit – Palki Sharma