Profanity Essay

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Profanity Essay

"Money doesn’t talk, it swears." Many of
the most brilliant minds throughout time have used profanity. Shakespeare’s
best works were revised and edited in order to remove the numerous curse
words or obscene phrases he included. The harmless use of profanity in
an informal setting should not be penalized, by the assignment of an essay.

Profanity continuously to evolves, and has a very rich and interesting
history. The system of assigning essays for the use of profanity is ineffective
and counter productive. "When angry, count four; when very angry, swear."

The evolution of profanity began in the
sixteenth century, and it evolves with each generation. Profanity is recognized
in many Shakespearean works, and has evolved into the profane language
used today. Some cuss or curse words have somehow maintained their original
meanings throughout hundreds of years, while many others have completely
changed meaning or simply fallen from popular vocabulary.

William Shakespeare, though it is not widely
taught, used a rather vulgar and dirty vocabulary in his writings. His
works included subjects that some people wish they had not. "That includes
a fair helping of sex, violence, crime, horror, politics, religion, anti-authoritarianism,
anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, sexism, jealousy, profanity, satire,
and controversy of all kinds" (Macrone 6). In Shakespeare’s time, religious
and moral curses were more offensive than biological curses.

Most original, prior to being censored,

Shakespearean works contain offensive profanity, mostly religious, which
is probably one of many reasons that his works were and continue to be
so popular. "Shakespeare pushed a lot of buttons in his day- which is one
reason he was so phenomenally popular. Despite what they tell you, people
like having their buttons pushed" (Macrone 6). His works contained many
profane words or phrases and as a result, were censored to protect the
innocent minds of the teenagers who are now required to read them, and
also because they were blasphemous and offensive. Almost all of the profanity
was removed, and that that was not had just reason for being there. Some
of the Bard\'s censored oaths are;

"God\'s blessing on your beard"

Love\'s Labors Lost, II.i.203

This was a very rude curse because a man\'s
facial hair was a point of pride for him. And "to play with someone\'s beard"
was to insult him.

"God\'s body"

1 Henry IV, II.i.26

Swearing by Christ\'s body (or any part
thereof,) was off limits in civil discourse.

"God\'s Bod(y)kins, man"

Hamlet, II.ii.529

The word bod(y)kin means "little body"
or "dear body," but adding the cute little suffix does not make this curse
any more acceptable.

"By God\'s [blest] mother!"

2 Henry VI, II.i;

3 Henry VI, III.ii;

Henry VIII, V.i

Swearing by the virgin was almost as rude
as swearing by her son, especially when addressing a catholic cathedral
as Gloucester did in 2 Henry VI, II.i

Perhaps the two worst of these Shakespearean
swears were "\'zounds" and "\'sblood." "\'Zounds" had twenty-three occurrences.

Ten of them were in 1 Henry IV. The rest appear in Titus (once), Richard

III (four times), Romeo and Juliet (twice), and Othello (six times). Lago
and Falstaff were the worst offenders. \'Zounds has evolved into somewhat
of a silly and meaningless word, but was originally horribly offensive.

This oath, short for "God\'s wounds," was extremely offensive because references
to the wounds or blood of Christ were thought especially outrageous, as
they touched directly on the crucifixion. "\'Sblood" had twelve occurrences
in all. There were eight times in 1 Henry IV (with Falstaff accounting
for six), plus once in Henry V, twice in Hamlet, and once in Othello. \'Sblood
occurs less than \'zounds, but is equally offensive and means basically
the same thing.

Several other words came from Great Britain,
but were not included in Shakespeare\'s works. Today the expression "Gadzooks!"
is not particularly offensive to most. Of course, most don\'t know what
it originally meant. Gadzooks was originally slang for "God\'s hooks," and
was equally offensive to \'zounds and \'sblood as it also referred to the
crucifixion. An interesting note is that there is an American store called

Gadzooks, which is a pop-culture vendor to America\'s youth. Some of Gadzooks\'
shoppers would be very offended if they knew the true meaning of the store\'s
name. Another word from this region is a Cockney expression, "Gorblimey,"
which is a word used to swear to the truth, and is a shortened form of

"God blind me." Also, in England, words such as "bloody," "blimey," "blinkin\',"
beginning with the letters "BL" are taken offense to because they, once
again, refer to the blood of Christ and the crucifixion.

The military has an interesting technique
for swearing without offending anyone. They use the phonetic alphabet (A=

Alpha, B=