A Shakespearean Thanksgiving

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Since most Americans are relaxing at home today, I thought I would shift gears a bit and share a little humor with you. For several years now, I’ve been collecting quotes from the works of William Shakespeare that amuse me to misconstrue as being applicable to Thanksgiving. Here’s the full collection:

Shakespeare’s militant vegetarian complaining about the other guests eating turkey for Thanksgiving:

“Why dost thou converse with that trunk of humours, that bolting-hutch of beastliness, that swollen parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manningtree ox with the pudding in his belly, that reverend vice, that grey iniquity, that father ruffian, that vanity in years?” (Henry IV, Part I, II.iv)

Complaining about the food at Thanksgiving is common but impolite:

“Tis burnt; and so is all the meat. What dogs are these! Where is the rascal cook?
How durst you, villains, bring it from the dresser, And serve it thus to me that love it not? Theretake it to you, trenchers, cups, and all!” (Taming of the Shrew, IV.i)

“What the devil hast thou brought there? Apple-johns? thou knowest Sir John cannot endure an apple-john.” (Henry IV, Part 2, II.iv)

“Peas and beans are as dank here as a dog, and that is the next way to give poor jades the bots.” (Henry IV, Part I, II.i)

Thanksgiving shopping lists can be challenging:

“I must have saffron to colour the warden pies; mace; dates?–none, that’s out of my note; nutmegs, seven; a race or two of ginger, but that I may beg; four pound of prunes, and as many of raisins o’ the sun.” (A Winter’s Tale, IV.iii)

Or, you know, just haphazard things:

“By cock and pie, sir, you shall not away to-night.” (Henry IV, Part 2, V.i)

“If the cook help to make the gluttony, you help to make the diseases.” (Henry IV, Part 2, II.iv)

“His effect of gravy, gravy, gravy.” (Henry IV, Part II, I.ii)

“…but for the stuffing — well, we are all mortal.” (Much Ado About Nothing, I.i)

Family arguments at the Thanksgiving table are an old custom but not recommended:

“By my troth, this is the old fashion; you two never meet but you fall to some discord: you are both, i’ good truth, as rheumatic as two dry toasts; you cannot one bear with another’s confirmities. What the good-year! one must bear, and that must be you: you are the weaker vessel, as they say, the emptier vessel.” (Henry IV, Part 2, II.iv)

Admonitions to the chef are common:

“I pray you, how many hath he killed and eaten in these wars? But how many hath he killed? for indeed I promised to eat all of his killing.” (Much Ado About Nothing, I.i)

“Sharpen with cloyless sauce his appetite.” (Antony and Cleopatra, II.i)

And finally:

“I can no other answer make but thanks, And thanks, and ever thanks.” (Twelfth Night, III.iii)

A blessed Thanksgiving to you all! May God bless you and your families, and may we all be ever grateful to Him for everything we are and everything we have.


Have you got other Shakespeare quotes that might apply? Leave them in the comments!

One comment:

  1. Well this is a fun game. Thanks for this! Here’s a couple to add:

    When you ask a diabetic if he wants dessert:

    “Give me excess of it; that, surfeiting,
    The appetite may sicken and so die.”
    (Twelfth Night I.i)

    The smell of Grandma’s famous apple pie awakens you from a tryptophan coma:

    “Duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
    That roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,
    Wouldst thou not stir in this.”
    (Hamlet, I.v)

    Debbie Downer gets her word in:

    “We fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots. ”
    (Hamlet, IV.iii)

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