‘Sirrah! I will not bear these braves of thine’

In this context, Hortensio is arguing with Lucentio and called him sirrah. Those two characters are actually rich people disguised as teachers.

A term of address used to inferiors or children to express impatience, contempt, etc.

Sirrah definition by Dictionary.com

To my understanding, since both of them are teachers, sirrah is not appropriate to use in this context because Lucentio isn't actually inferior to Hortensio, rather they are of the same rank. Am i correct?

  • 2
    It's Shakespeare. He can use words any way he wants.
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 25 '15 at 3:01
  • 4
    The point is that it is inappropriate. It's like calling your co-worker an asshole or saying damn it! in an argument with a priest today: you would do it specifically because of its inappropriateness.
    – Anonym
    Aug 25 '15 at 3:48

The term 'Sirrah' is used to show contempt, so it is appropriate to the context:

  • A term of address implying inferiority and used in anger, contempt, reproach, or disrespectful familiarity, addressed to a man or boy, but sometimes to a woman. In sililoquies often preceded by ah. Not used in the plural.


  • For the usage of "sirrah" in Shakespeare's works you can refer to this extract.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.