How To Swear Like Shakespeare

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Shakespeare portrait.
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On yesterday’s show, we looked at the evolution of swearing over the past 75 years—from the days when “damn” first appeared on the big screen in “Gone with the Wind,” to the present day when the “F-word” is routinely written into basic cable shows.

It’s a conversation that ruffled many feathers. Dozens of you wrote and called in to say that we overuse certain four-letter words these days, and that doing so displays a lack of intelligence and class.

Christina from Portland, Oregon wrote:

Can't people be articulate enough to get their point across without being foul? I view people who pepper their daily conversations with swear words, especially the "f" word, as being truly classless.

And Julia from Lago Vista, Texas wrote:

As a teenager in the 1970s, I learned to swear like a sailor. These days, I swear much less, and view swearing as a lazy and uneducated way to speak.

Does swearing really display a lack of education and class?

Anya Saffir doesn't think so. A Shakespeare director and faculty of the Atlantic Acting School, she says there’s no shortage of creativity and wit in well-used profanity. And we need look no further than the Bard himself for proof of that. Saffir joins The Takeaway to discuss the ways that Shakespeare used profanity in his work.