This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
Dublin: 16 °C Monday 25 May, 2020

7 things we should really thank Shakespeare for

Did you know he gave us puking? Well, he did!

aka The Taming of the Shrew
aka The Taming of the Shrew

IF GOOD OLD Willy Shakespeare was still alive, he’d be celebrating his 450th birthday right around now.

Unfortunately he died on this day in 1616, but not before he bestowed countless literary gifts on the world.

Let’s remember some of them here:

1. The phrase “a beast with two backs”

This rather crude way of talking about people doing the dirty was uttered in Othello in 1604, when Iago said:

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

Records show that the phrase had been around since the mid 1500s, but it was Shakespeare who made sure we all remembered it. The pup.


2. The word “eyeball”

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream Oberon says to Puck:

Then crush this herb into Lysander’s eye; Whose liquor hath this virtuous property, To take from thence all error with his might, And make his eyeballs roll with wonted sight.

This is one of the earliest mentions, nay THE earliest mention of the eyeball. Thanks Willy.

Image: Skrewtape/Flickr/Creative Commons

3. She’s The Man

Amanda Bynes may be going through a tough time at the moment but one of her finest ,moments was in the film She’s the Man, which sees her dressing up as a boy so that she can play soccer.

The script is based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

4. The word “puking”

Next time you’re telling someone how you were puking your ring up after a feed of pints, stop for a moment and thank William Shakespeare for giving you the power to describe your actions.


5. Ten Things I Hate About You

Heath Ledger’s breakthrough film with the killer soundtrack has its roots in The Taming of the Shrew. They even rhyme.

It’s also got bonus Joseph Gordon-Levitt:

6. Predictable Leaving and Junior Cert questions

The likes of Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and The Merchant of Venice have been on the syllabus for about 200 years. Surely they’ve run out of ways to ask the questions by now?


7. West Side Story

Inspired by Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story pits the Sharks against the Jets, two warring gangs in New York City.

Katherine Jenkins owns the Daily Mail after unkind marathon article>

Here’s why you might be crying this Tuesday>

12 reasons why there’s still no party like an S-Club party>

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article

About the author:

Emer McLysaght

Read next: