To laugh or not to laugh at a Shakespeare pun; that is the question.
There are countless idioms coined by William Shakespeare that we use on a daily basis without actually even knowing that they were created by the literary genius himself. Likewise, he greatly relied on puns as a form of expression and a method to make meaningful contexts.
Shakespeare is considered to be one of the most influential authors who had a massive influence on the English Language. He is also regarded as the national poet of England and the 'Bard of Avon'. William Shakespeare had written a total number of 37 plays and 154 sonnets, and two narrative poems. He had greatly incorporated the use of puns in his works. Even if the origin of puns was rooted somewhere else in the world, he had popularized the use of puns worldwide through his literary creations. His plays have further been translated into all major living languages and have been performed the most amongst all other plays of different playwrights. They are still studied and reinterpreted to this day.
To explain what a 'pun' would be to define it as a play upon or on words, or a play upon words or with the sound of words in order to come up with the desired effects. Those effects can either be entertainment, thought provocation, or explanation and also be a compilation of two or more of the said effects and the puns of William Shakespeare that he uses in his works are very significant parts of his poetic texts.
Most of the plays and sonnets of William Shakespeare are rich with puns, many of them being the most used phrases. For example, in the opening lines of the historical play 'Richard III' 'Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of York,' the main speaker, Richard, is calling himself a son of the house of York. Through the use of that pun, Shakespeare refers to the seasons of summer and winter as good times and hard times.
Nothing and nobody has even come close to being at par with William Shakespeare. Just as he liked to have "pun" with words, there are countless modern literary puns about the rhymes and play on words of William Shakespeare that are made about him as well. If you are on a wild goose chase for a good Shakespeare joke, this mammoth of a list of puns and Shakespearean jokes and Shakespeare puns examples in literature that you can either laugh about or have them 'As You Like It.' If you like more puns, you can look into our other articles: book puns and library puns.
Shakespeare Puns Related To Shakespeare Plays
If you are looking for some great puns about our famous Bard of Avon, this list of examples of puns in literature will bring you some comic relief in your life. These can be used as one liners as well.
1. When Shakespeare got his writing pencils confused, he wondered if it was 2B or not 2B.
2. When Shakespeare had a coughing fit, the doctor said, "TB or not TB, that's the question."
3. Whenever the month of April comes, the 'Winter's Tail' is behind us.
4. Before going to act in a Shakespearean play, you should not eat garlic and onions for you are to utter sweet breath.
5. The chicken who boycotted the 'Hamlet' play production. Somebody had threatened to commit murder most fowl.
6. My friend's new electric car got wrecked when she was playing hockey. The Puck crashed Oberon Hermia.
7. The new actor was Bard from playing 'Macbeth' because he was bad.
8. When somebody cracks a Shakespeare pun in front of me, I can't help saying "Something witty this way comes."
9. When Ariel was given a set of tasks by his master, he was bound to Prospero fail.
10. Titania kept her skin flawless because she always used Midsummer Night's Cream before going to bed.
11. If Shakespeare ever made breakfast, he would always make a Hamlet.
12. William loved eating scared fruits. His favorite was Shakes pear.
13. When William rattles a globe in his hand, it becomes a Shake sphere.
14. Shakespeare's favorite song from 'Frozen' is 'Ham-let it go.'
15. When I found out that my friend was born in the same region as Othello, I asked him, "Tell me moor."
Here's a list of the choicest Shakespearean Jokes.
16. What is Shakespeare's favorite thing to order from MacDonald's? A Macbeth.
17. What do you call a Shakesperean play typed out and saved as a Word document? A play on Word.
18. How did Lady Macbeth scold her misbehaved dog? "Out, damn Spot. Out!"
19. If Shakespeare was to write a prequel to 'Hamlet', what would it be entitled? Piglet.
20. Why did Puck, the goblin, cross the road? Because he spotted someone he knew Oberon the other side.
21. Why do Shakesperean actors get angry when they have to change their attire into that of the opposite sex? Because they are cross dressers.
22. What type of salad requires 23 knives in the recipe? A Caesar Salad.
23. Why did the empire of Rome fall? Because it was cut in half by a pair of Caesars.
24. Why did Mercutio die a disappointing death? Because he was a grave man.
25. Why did Gumio hit Petruchio? Because he asked him to knock.
26. Why was Macbeth referred to as a Chicken Killer? Because he murder most fowl.
27. What do you call a ruler who lies? King Liar.
28. Why did nobody like to talk face to face with King Lear? Because he Lear-ed at them.
Shakespeare Knock Knock Jokes
Here is a list of the best Shakespeare knock knock jokes you will ever find.
29. Knock knock!
Who is there?
Albaneeding many coffins when the play ends.
30. Knock knock!
Thisbe your mother. Get the door open!
Romeo And Juliet Puns
Here are some puns from the classic romantic tragedy 'Romeo and Juliet' of William Shakespeare:
31. Benvolio: But let them measure us by what they will; We'll measure them a measure, and be gone.
Romeo: Give me a torch; I am not for this ambling. Being but heavy, I will bear the light. (Act 1, Scene 4)
The pun lies on the word "light" which means both lightness in weight and illumination.
32. Romeo: Not I, believe me. You have dancing shoes / With nimble soles; I have a soul of lead. (Act 1, Scene 4)
The pun lies on the word "sole" which refers to both the shoe sole and a person's soul.
33. Mercutio: Ask for me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave man. (Act 3, Scene 1.)
The pun is in the word 'grave'. Mercutio is dying and he was fond of wordplay. He points out that after death, he would be a grave or serious man and he would be buried in a 'grave' too.
Shakespeare's Puns In Drama
Here is a list of puns from the iconic Shakespearean plays that are the food of wit which you can share during a midsummer night with your friends:
34. Theseus: No die, but an ace for him. ('A Midsummer Night's Dream'; Act 5, Scene 1)
Here, there word "ace" refers to both being number one and a fool.
35. Hermia: Lie further off yet, do not lie so near. ('A Midsummer Night's Dream'; Act 2, Scene 2)
The pun lies on the word "lie" which both refer to the act of lying and lying down beside someone.
36. Puck: You see an ass-head. ('A Midsummer Night's Dream'; Act 3, Scene 1)
The word "ass-head" is the pun here which refers to Bottom having both an ass head and being a foolish person. In the play, Bottom was transformed magically into an ass.
37. Quince: Bless thee, Bottom, bless thee! Though art translated! ('A Midsummer Night's Dream'; Act 3, Scene 1)
The pun lies on the word "translated" which refers to both Bottoms being a changed person and his head literally physically changing into that of an ass.
38. Bottom: I see their knavery: this is to make an ass of me; \ to fright me, if they could. (Act 3, Scene 1)
The pun lies on the word "ass" which has a double meaning; one being literally the animal, donkey, and the other one referring to foolishness.
39. Viola: Save thee, friend, and thy music. Dost thou live by thy tabor?
Feste: No, sir, I live by the church.
Viola: Art thou a churchman?
Feste: No such matter, sir. I do live by the church, for I do live at my house, and my house doth stand by the church. ('Twelfth Night'; Act 3, Scene 1).
The pun lies on the phrase 'live by the' which means to adhere to the teachings of the church or geographically living beside the church.
40. Beatrice: I pray you, is Signior Mountanto returned from the wars or no? (Much Ado About Nothing: Act 1, Scene 1)
The pun is on the word "Mountanto" which is a fencing term referring to an upward thrust as well as Beatrice literally translating his name and sarcastically referring to him as "Mr. Fancy Fighter." Beatrice, here, is referring to Benedick, who she considers to be a social climber.
73. Kent: Is not this your son, my lord?
Gloucester: His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge: I have so often blushed to acknowledge him, that now I am brazed to it.
Kent: I cannot conceive you. (King Lear; Act 1, Scene 1)
The pun is on the word, 'breeding' and 'conceive'. Here, breeding refers to as upbringing, while conceive refers to as understanding a thought, though both these words can be used to refer to progeny.
41. Claudius: How is it that the clouds still hang on you?
Hamlet: Not so, my lord. I am too much i' the sun. ('Hamlet'; Act 1, Scene 2)
The pun here lies in the interpretation of the word clouds. Claudius asks Hamlet about his sadness by telling that the clouds or gloom hangs on him. Hamlet mentions that he is in the 'sun' referring to himself as being still a 'son' who's grieving the death of his father.
42. Macbeth: We should have else desired your good advice which still hath been both grave and prosperous in this day's council, but we'll take tomorrow. ('Macbeth'; Act 3, Scene 1).
Here the pun is on the word 'grave'. Here, Macbeth is speaking to Banquo and he had planned his murder. So, grave here not only meaning solemn counsel but also, that Banquo would be in a grave or murdered. Thus, the saying acts as a foreshadowing.
43. Murderer: My lord, his throat is cut; that I did for him.
Macbeth: Thou art the best o' the cut-throats! Yet he's good that did the like for Fleance. If thou didst it, thou art the nonparell. ('Macbeth'; Act 3, Scene 4).
Here, Macbeth makes a pun on the word 'cut-throat'. Cut-throat means' ruthless', as well as calling him an unmatched 'throat cutter'.
44. Portia: ... O me, the word 'choose!' I may
neither choose whom I would nor refuse whom I
dislike; so is the will of a living daughter curbed
by the will of a dead father. Is it not hard,
Nerissa, that I cannot choose one nor refuse none? ('Merchant of Venice'; Act 1, Scene 2).
The pun here is on the word 'will'. Portia mentions that her father's will (legal testament towards transferring property) is the reason that restricts her own will (deliberate action) to live her life.
45. Murellus:... —You, sir, what trade are you?
Cobbler: Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am but, as you would say, a cobbler.
Murellus: But what trade art thou? Answer me directly.
Cobbler: A trade, sir, that I hope I may use with a safe conscience, which is, indeed, sir, a mender of bad soles. ('Julius Caesar'; Act 1, Scene 1).
The pun is on the word 'soles'. Here, the cobbler not only means that he repairs shoe soles, but also, indirectly refers himself to be a mender of human souls.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of great family-friendly puns for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Shakespeare Puns, then why not take a look at history jokes, or for something different, take a look at coffee puns.
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