Shakespeare's dramatic tragedies, twitter pated romances, and historical satires have remained a staple of Literature for centuries... and none of them would be quite as enjoyable (or for some, enjoyable at all) without the wonder that is Shakespearean sass.
An unscrupulous amount of sass.It is with this hypothesis that I dare to nominate William Shakespeare as the one and only, unchallenged, and so very unscrupulous Lord of Sass.
I would even venture to add a notoriously pretentious “The” in front of that title.
Oh yes, friends. I went there.
I shall begin to prove my point with an exceptionally sassy scene from Macbeth (published in 1623):
Act IV, Scene III
Enter a SERVANT
MACBETH: The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon! Where gott’st thou that goose look?
SERVANT: There is ten thousand-
MACBETH: Geese, villain?
SERVANT: Soldiers, sir.
MACBETH: Go prick thy face, and over-red thy fear, thou lily-liver’d boy. What soldiers, patch? Death of thy soul! Those linen cheeks of thine are counselors to fear. What soldiers, whey-face?
SERVANT: The English force, so please you.
MACBETH: Take thy face hence.
Canst thou stand the sass? In this excerpt alone, we see a clear contempt for this boy’s face. I would safely observe that the numerous remarks concerning his color are insulting some ill-conceived cowardice, rather than operating as racial slurs, which was my first reaction. Let us also notice Macbeth’s goose fetish, and that audacious interruption.
Clearly, Shakespeare knew how to formulate insults. His beautiful way of painting with words was not lost on scenes that included swift and severe antagonizing.
For the purpose of this nomination, we will observe one more small excerpt of sassiness, from the play The Merry Wives Of Windsor (from Act III, scene II)FORD: Where had you this pretty weathercock?
MRS. PAGE: I cannot tell what the dickens his name is my husband had
him of. What do you call your knight's name, sirrah?
Oh yes, she went there. The aggravation and annoyance in this line can be read as clearly as the words themselves. Whatever this poor beast’s name is, it cannot be as lamentable as her response to its inquiry.It is with these mere two examples that I hereby (unceremoniously) nominate William Shakespeare as the Lord of Sass. If ye have any objections, please do not hold your peace. If ye have any other examples of the sass that Shakespeare infused into his works, please share. Both objections and additional evidences are welcome in the comment section.