A ‘Brief’ History Of Shakespeare

Brief history of Shakespeare

‘A rose as by any other name would smell as sweet.’ So what about underwear, does the same apply? After all, in the bard’s time, underwear was not the preferred nomenclature. Britches and linen t’were preferred. So let us ask, Mr. William Shakespeare:

“T’would underwear by it’s former names be as trend-worthy?” 

We think so, and that’s why we compiled this ‘brief’ history of Shakespeare. Putting together a few of the scribe’s best lines about the undergarment everyone was wearing, but few were talking about.

1. Eleanor. Henry VI, Part 2

  • THE LINE: … Though in this place most masters wear no breeches
  •  THE TRANSLATION: Everyone one in charge of this gross place goes commando.


2. Thomas Lovell. Henry VIII

  • THE LINE: … Got in France… renouncing clean the faith they have in tennis, and tall stockings, and short blister’d breeches
  • THE TRANSLATION: The French are stupid and wear stupid undies!


3.  Fool. King Lear

  • THE LINE: … for when thou gav’st them the rod, and put’st down thine own breeches …
  • THE TRANSLATION: [pretty self explanatory, we think]


4. Iago, Othello

  • THE LINE: … his breeches cost him but a crown …
  • THE TRANSLATION: That king wore cheap underwear!


5.  Biondello, The Taming of The Shrew

  • THE LINE: … in a new hand and an old jerkin, a pair of old breeches, thrice turn’d…
  • THE TRANSLATION: This is the third time in a row he’s worn the same underwear. EWWW!


6.  Prince Hal, Henry IV Part 2

  • THE LINE: … or take not how many pair of stockings thou hast … For it is a low ebb linen with thee …
  • THE TRANSLATION: Who can keep up with your fake fancy stockings because, really, your underwear is gross.


7.  Doll Tearsheet, Henry IV Part 2

  • THE LINE: …rascally, cheating, lack-linen mate! Away …
  • THE TRANSLATION: You despicable, lying, underwear-less pain in my …


8.  Boyet, Love’s Labour’s Lost

  • THE LINE: True, and it was enjoined of him in Rome for want of linen
  • THE TRANSLATION: Yes, and it was that he went to Rome to find the best and most fashionable underwear …


9. Mistress Page, The Merry Wives of Windsor

  • THE LINE: And throw foul linen upon him …
  • THE TRANSLATION: Hide the jerk in the dirty laundry basket and throw dirty underwear on him. ha-HA!


10.  Bottom, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

  • THE LINE: … Our play is preferred. In any case, let Thisby have clean Linen …
  • THE TRANSLATION: We could be going to Broadway. Someone get Thisby a clean pair of underwear!


11. Biondello, Taming of the Shrew

  • THE LINE: … his lackey for all the world like the horse – with a linen stock on one leg …
  • THE TRANSLATION: His man is no better than a beat up old horse wearing beat up old horse socks.


12. Paroles, Alls Well That Ends Well

  • THE LINE: … he wears his honor in a box unseen
  • THE TRANSLATION: In England they call a cup on a jockstrap a box. And though this might be Paroles trying to be eloquent about keeping his love at home with a woman, we have read the character described as the ‘Stiffler’ of the play. And we think Shakespearean Stiffler would definitely talk about jockstraps!

What are some of your favorite Shakespearean underwear quotes? Would you wear underwear from ages past if given the chance? Let us know in the comments below, or by tweeting us @underwearexpert.