The classification of the “seven deadly sins” dates back to as early as the 6th century, when they were first grouped together by St. Gregory the Great, Pope from 590-604. The sins – pride, covetousness, lust, envy, gluttony (including drunkenness) anger, and sloth – were held to be transgressions that caused the death not of the body but of the soul. In the mid-13th century Guilielmus Peraldus composed a treatise on the seven deadly sins called the Summa seu Tractatus de Viciis, and it soon became the most influential source on the subject, fascinating and inspiring Medieval and Renaissance writers including Thomas Malory, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, Langland, Dante, Spenser, and Marlowe. Although Shakespeare does not address directly the catalogue of deadly sins, he does have much to say on each individual offence.
FALSTAFF: You make fat rascals, Mistress Doll.
DOLL TEARSHEET: I make them! gluttony and diseases make them; I
make them not.
2 Henry IV 2.4.37
If sack and sugar be a fault, God help the wicked!
1 Henry IV 2.4.464, Falstaff to Hal
So, so, thou common dog, didst thou disgorge
Thy glutton bosom of the royal Richard;
And now thou wouldst eat thy dead vomit up,
And howl’st to find it.
2 Henry IV 1.3.101-4, Archbishop of York
Let him be damned, like the glutton! pray God his
tongue be hotter!
2 Henry IV 1.2.35-6
They are as sick that surfeit
with too much as they are that starve with nothing.
The Merchant of Venice 1.2.5-6, Nerissa to Portia
Thus do I pine and surfeit day by day,
Or gluttoning on all, or all away.
They surfeited with honey and began
To loathe the taste of sweetness.
1 Henry IV 3.2.72-3, Henry IV to Hal
I have long dream’d of such a kind of man,
So surfeit-swell’d, so old and so profane.
2 Henry IV 5.5.51-2, Henry V, of Falstaff
Eight wild-boars roasted whole at a breakfast, and
but twelve persons there; is this true?
Antony and Cleopatra 2.2.220-1, Mecaenas to Domitius Enobarbus
He hath eaten me out of house and home;
he hath put all my substance into that fat belly of
2 Henry IV 2.1.66-8, Mistress Quickly speaking of Falstaff to the Lord Chief Justice