Great Figures in Shakespeare: Part 7 – Helen to Michael Cassio

cassio

Here is Iago giving a beer to Michael Cassio. Soon he’s going to have Roderigo provoke him into a brawl that will result in Cassio getting punished by Othello. This is later followed by Iago planting Desdemona’s handkerchief at Cassio’s house. Remember, everyone, friends don’t let friends share a beer with Iago.

Yes, I know seeing Lavinia in the last post might make your stomach churn. Yes, I know Titus Andronicus was written when Shakespeare was going through a Quentin Tarantino phase. But come on, a lot of his plays are pretty gory. After all, almost everyone dies in Macbeth, Hamlet, and King Lear. Also, most of his history plays contain a war of some sort being fought. So expect a body count of some sort. However, a battle scene isn’t going to look as gruesome on stage as it is in screen. After all, stage productions tend to have limited resources, Shakespeare included. So he probably wouldn’t have been able to do a reenactment of the Battle of Agincourt the way Kenneth Branaugh would. Anyway, in this selection, I bring you more Shakespearean figures like Helen and Bertram from All’s Well That Ends Well, Touchstone from As You Like It, Sir Toby Belch from Twelfth Night, Hermione from The Winter’s Tale, Horatio from Hamlet, Mariana from Measure for Measure, Richard of York, Duke of Gloucester, Octavius Caesar, Bassanio from The Merchant of Venice, Roderigo and Cassio from Othello, and Troilus and Cressida.

 

91. Helen

"Great floods have flown/From simple sources; and great seas have dried,/When miracles have by the greatest been denied./Oft expectation fails, and most oft there/Where most it promises." - Act II, Scene 1. Yes, but this doesn't mean you should try to get yourself pregnant to get your man to stay. And I don't care if you're married to Bertram.

“Great floods have flown/From simple sources; and great seas have dried,/When miracles have by the greatest been denied./Oft expectation fails, and most oft there/Where most it promises.” – Act II, Scene 1. Yes, but this doesn’t mean you should try to get yourself pregnant to get your man to stay. And I don’t care if you’re married to Bertram.

From: All’s Well That Ends Well

Pro: Almost everyone thinks she’s a great girl who’s smart, beautiful, and more than worthy of some decent guy’s love. Is able to hold her own by talking dirty back to an aggressive guy and doesn’t back down from a fight. Scores a husband in Bertram by curing the French king of his illness.

Con: She’s in love with Bertram who treats her like garbage and doesn’t love her back. So she stalks him and tricks him into staying with her by getting pregnant. She might come off as a social climber since the king gives her a new title and a bunch of money after she and Bertram get married. And she’s still willing to stay with him even when he deserts and cheats on her.

Fate: Married to Bertram and pregnant with his baby. However, whether all’s well that ends well is the question.

 

92. Hermione

"It shall scarce boot me/To say Not guilty; mine integrity/Being counted falsehood, shall, as I express it,/Be so receiv'd. But thus, — if powers divine/Behold our human actions (as they do),/I doubt not, then, but innocence shall make/False accusation blush, and tyranny/Tremble at patience." - Act III, Scene 2. Unfortunately, all hell breaks loose for Leontes that he ends up regretting his jealousy that destroyed his family.

“It shall scarce boot me/To say Not guilty; mine integrity/Being counted falsehood, shall, as I express it,/Be so receiv’d. But thus, — if powers divine/Behold our human actions (as they do),/I doubt not, then, but innocence shall make/False accusation blush, and tyranny/Tremble at patience.” – Act III, Scene 2. Unfortunately, all hell breaks loose for Leontes that he ends up regretting his jealousy that destroyed his family.

From: The Winter’s Tale

Pro: She’s a lovely wife and doting mother who’s unfairly accused of cheating on her husband, thrown in prison, and stands trial for treason. While standing on trial, she remains eloquent and poised as she calmly denies any wrongdoing. Her son’s death breaks her heart.

Con: However, possibly faking her death for 16 years is a great way to punish her husband for his cheating accusations.

Fate: Supposedly comes back to like from a statue and is reunited with her daughter and husband. However, her son Mammilius is still dead.

 

93. Horatio

"Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet prince;/And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest." - Act V, Scene 2. Boy, Horatio's going to have serious PTSD after dealing with all the dead bodies.

“Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet prince;/And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” – Act V, Scene 2. Boy, Horatio’s going to have serious PTSD after dealing with all the dead bodies.

From: Hamlet

Pro: He’s the voice of reason in this play and he’s basically hanging out just to give his friend Hamlet much needed emotional support. Is the only one in Hamlet’s life who he can really trust because he doesn’t have any reason to betray him in some fashion. Is the only person Hamlet is consistently nice to. He’s smart and is very good with keeping secrets. Also has his head screwed on just right and is not part of the action.

Con: For one, he mostly doesn’t do anything. Second, due to all the crap that happened in this play, there’s a chance he might suffer from PTSD. Third, has to deal with the dead bodies in the end.

Fate: Survives the play so he lives to tell the tale. Not that it helps him.

 

94. Touchstone

"Ay, now am I in Arden; the more fool I. When I was at home I was in a better place, but travelers must be content. " - Act II, Scene 4. Looks like he misses court already. Well, perhaps he's not used to camping in the woods.

“Ay, now am I in Arden; the more fool I. When I was at home I was in a better place, but travelers must be content. ” – Act II, Scene 4. Looks like he misses court already. Well, perhaps he’s not used to camping in the woods.

From: As You Like It

Pro: He’s brilliant with a quick wit as well as insightful about human nature. Accompanies Celia and Rosalind in the Forest of Arden after Rosalind’s exile just to comfort them. Can say wise things in an amusing way without sounding like a drone. Laughs at himself as easily as he laughs at others.

Con: Can drive listeners to frustration if they’re not as sharp as he is. Loves to twist any argument and nitpick over any little thing. Falls for a dull witted woman named Audrey and threatens to kill a romantic rival in 150 ways.

Fate: Marries Audrey in a wedding ceremony with Orlando and Rosalind, Oliver and Celia, and Silvanus and Phebe. However, judging that he and Audrey don’t have a lot in common, it seems the relationship isn’t going to last.

 

95. Octavius Caesar

"He calls me boy; and chides, as he had power/To beat me out of Egypt; my messenger/He hath whipp'd with rods; dares me to personal combat,/Caesar to Antony: let the old ruffian know/I have many other ways to die; meantime/Laugh at his challenge." - Act IV, Scene 1. Seems like young Octavius really doesn't like being seen as a little squirt any more. And he wants to take over Rome for himself.

“He calls me boy; and chides, as he had power/To beat me out of Egypt; my messenger/He hath whipp’d with rods; dares me to personal combat,/Caesar to Antony: let the old ruffian know/I have many other ways to die; meantime/Laugh at his challenge.” – Act IV, Scene 1. Seems like young Octavius really doesn’t like being seen as a little squirt any more. And he wants to take over Rome for himself.

From: Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra

Pro: Maybe young but is no pushover. Helps Antony defeat conspirators against his adoptive father. Later manages to defeat Antony and Cleopatra in battle and becomes emperor as well as one of the greatest Roman rulers ever. So he’s pretty pragmatic, determined, and smart. Extremely fond of his sister that he’s absolutely pissed when Antony abandons her. Is as menacingly an adversary as well as convincingly human.

Con: Unfortunately, once the conspirators are out of the way, “the let’s rule Rome together” thing doesn’t quite work out and he later turns on Antony. Is absolutely ruthless in getting what he wants. Disapproves of everything Antony stands for and thinks he’s squandering his duties during his time in Egypt. Is rigid and puritanical as well as a massive control freak. Also, he tends to use his sister as a pawn and doesn’t really consider that Antony may have an Egyptian squeeze. Not above trickery and willing to lie to get Cleopatra under his control. Has Lepidus done away with on spurious grounds and doesn’t seem overly concerned with keeping his word if it gets in his way. Orders those who’ve deserted Antony to fight on the front lines.

Fate: Becomes the first Roman Emperor. However, he doesn’t relish in Antony’s death and mourns the loss of a great soldier as well as buries him with Cleopatra.

 

96. Richard of York

"Is all our travail turned to this effect?/After the slaughter of so many peers,/So many captains, gentlemen and soldiers/That in this quarrel have been overthrown/And sold their bodies for their country's benefit,/Shall we at last conclude effeminate peace?" - Act V, Scene 3 in Henry VI Part 1. I guess he wasn't happy with losing a war with France. Well, there's always the Wars of the Roses.

“Is all our travail turned to this effect?/After the slaughter of so many peers,/So many captains, gentlemen and soldiers/That in this quarrel have been overthrown/And sold their bodies for their country’s benefit,/Shall we at last conclude effeminate peace?” – Act V, Scene 3 in Henry VI Part 1. I guess he wasn’t happy with losing a war with France. Well, there’s always the Wars of the Roses.

From: Henry VI Parts 1, 2, and 3

Pro: Loves his kids and is devastated by the death of Edmund of Rutland. Not afraid to fight and is no person to mess with. He’s calculating, smart, and strong. Would probably make a better king than Henry VI if he ever made it that far.

Con: His claim to the throne once he becomes Duke of York kicks off the Wars of the Roses. Hires a guy named Jack Cade to do his dirty work for him while he’s away in Ireland under the king’s command but he went back with that army. May not always be sincere so it’s probably not best to make a deal with him. Because he’ll probably break it.

Fate: Is stabbed by Queen Margaret of Anjou who taunts him with the death of his son.

 

97. Duke of Gloucester

"So long as I am loyal, true and crimeless./Wouldst have me rescue thee from this reproach?/Why, yet thy scandal were not wiped away,/But I in danger for the breach of law." Act II, Scene 4 in Henry VI Part 2. Now I guess this guy isn't going to be husband of the year. Even more surprising is that this guy's Lord Grantham.

“So long as I am loyal, true and crimeless./Wouldst have me rescue thee from this reproach?/Why, yet thy scandal were not wiped away,/But I in danger for the breach of law.” Act II, Scene 4 in Henry VI Part 2. Now I guess this guy isn’t going to be husband of the year. Even more surprising is that this guy’s Lord Grantham.

From: Henry VI Parts 1 and 2

Pro: Is a kindhearted guy to his nephew Henry VI and genuinely loves him like a son. So he’ll only give up his Protector title when Henry wants him to. Is totally not abusing his power and doesn’t want more. Stands up for himself when he’s wrongly accused of treason and strongly believes in justice.

Con: Denounces his wife after she breaks a law and goes on a walk of shame. He also likes his power as Protector but becomes a very vulnerable assassination target. Also his advice to Henry against marrying Margaret eventually got him killed.

Fate: Assassinated in a plot involving Queen Margaret, Duke of Suffolk, Duke of Somerset, and Cardinal Beaufort.

 

98. Mariana

"Now I come to't my lord/She that accuses him of fornication,/In self-same manner doth accuse my husband,/And charges him my lord, with such a time/When I'll depose I had him in mine arms/With all the effect of love." - Act V, Scene 1. Well, at least Mariana's sex with Angelo helps solve everything in this play.

“Now I come to’t my lord/She that accuses him of fornication,/In self-same manner doth accuse my husband,/And charges him my lord, with such a time/When I’ll depose I had him in mine arms/With all the effect of love.” – Act V, Scene 1. Well, at least Mariana’s sex with Angelo helps solve everything in this play.

From: Measure for Measure

Pro: Well, her willingness to sleep with Angelo in a bed trick gives Isabella one less thing to worry about. You also can’t blame her for wanting to get back at her ex for dumping her after her dowry was lost when her brother’s ship sank.

Con: Isolating yourself by living in a farmhouse surrounded by a moat is no way to handle a traumatic breakup. Also, by sleeping with Angelo, she runs the risk of having to marry the guy who dumped her for being broke. Then again, she might be aware of it and is willing to deal with the consequences. But even so, you’d have to wonder why she’d take him back after what he did to her.

Fate: Marries Angelo. Hope she’s happy with her decision. Then again, to her this is more like sweet revenge.

 

99. Bertram

"Go thou toward home; where I will never come/Whilst I can shake my sword or hear the drum.— /Away, and for our flight." - Act II, Scene 5. Well, maybe I can understand him. But still, he shouldn't really ditch a girl like Helena. Also, he's an absolute prick.

“Go thou toward home; where I will never come/Whilst I can shake my sword or hear the drum.— /Away, and for our flight.” – Act II, Scene 5. Well, maybe I can understand him. But still, he shouldn’t really ditch a girl like Helena. Also, he’s an absolute prick.

From: All’s Well That Ends Well

Pro: He’s rich, handsome, has lots of friends, and is a great soldier. Honest with not loving Helen and doesn’t think he should marry her because she did the King of France a favor.

Con: In short, he’s an absolute jerk. Now it’s one thing that he doesn’t like Helen as well as loathes being forced to marry her. However, this guy’s a rotten human being who’s mostly unwilling to marry Helen because of her social class more than anything (though she was also raised by his parents). After their wedding, he tricks her into going back to the Countess so he can run away to Italy where he acts like a total player and tries to seduce a girl named Diana. And he lies about it later to the king of France.

Fate: Married to Helen but it’s not exactly all’s well that ends well to him.

 

100. Bassanio

"In Belmont is a lady richly left;/And she is fair, and fairer than that word,/Of wondrous virtues. Sometimes from her eyes/I did receive fair speechless messages." - Act I, Scene 1. Well, at least he lives in an era of institutionalized gold digging. But he greatly desires to marry Portia for her assets.

“In Belmont is a lady richly left;/And she is fair, and fairer than that word,/Of wondrous virtues. Sometimes from her eyes/I did receive fair speechless messages.” – Act I, Scene 1. Well, at least he lives in an era of institutionalized gold digging. But he greatly desires to marry Portia for her assets.

From: The Merchant of Venice

Pro: Well, he has to be nice, smart, and good looking enough to win Portia’s hand and her heart. Loves Portia enough to be married to her (even though she may not be his top priority in his life).

Con: He’s an idiot and what 90’s R&B group TLC would call a classic, “scrub.” Has a lavish lifestyle but is really bad with money that he usually borrows from whomever he could instead of getting a job (luckily he lives at a time of institutionalized gold digging). And it’s clear that he’s been sponging off from his rich friends with Antonio included. But when Antonio can’t give him anything, he goes to Shylock. His plan for getting out of debt involves borrowing even more money so he could hook up with Portia whom he hopes will pay off all his loans and support his lavish lifestyle. So he takes a personal loan from Shylock and puts up a pound of Antonio’s flesh as collateral which is a really bad idea. Of course, he doesn’t take into account that Antonio’s ship going down in a storm that puts him in serious financial trouble, which is what happens and Shylock has Antonio arrested and brought before court. He may love Portia, but he’s more bent on marrying her for her vast disposable assets than anything else since he initially speaks of her as if she’s a cash cow. And even after they get married, he interrupts their honeymoon so he could help out his friend Antonio and gives up her ring.

Fate: Marries Portia in a double wedding ceremony with Gratanio and Nerissa. In Portia he gets everything he wants.

 

101. Sir Toby Belch

"If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction." - Act III, Scene 4. However, I'm sure Malvolio isn't going to find it funny.

“If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.” – Act III, Scene 4. However, I’m sure Malvolio isn’t going to find it funny.

From: Twelfth Night

Pro: Well, he likes to have a good time and knows how important it is, too. He’s also a force of vitality, noise, and good cheer. Whatever his faults, he’s certainly no snob as shown by his love and appreciation for Maria. And he doesn’t care what people think about him. Not to mention, he and Maria seem to be a better model for a relationship than other Shakespearean couples since they’ve known each other for a long time and share a similar sense of humor.

Con: He’s basically Olivia’s uncle who’s an endless source of embarrassment, especially when he goes on a night out drinking. This to the point that Olivia has Feste watching him. He’s also not above to live off someone else’s money whether it be his niece’s or Sir Andrew’s. Oh, and he likes to torment Malvolio for kicks and the fact he wants Olivia to cut him off. But at least he wants to let Malvolio go and move on. But he also tends to egg on Sir Andrew to woo his niece despite that she’s obviously not interested in him.

Fate: Marries his niece’s Olivia’s handmaid Maria. However, the two might be cast out soon for what they did to Malvolio.

 

102. Troilus

"The Greeks are strong and skilful to their strength, Fierce to their skill and to their fierceness valiant; But I am weaker than a woman's tear, Tamer than sleep, fonder than ignorance, Less valiant than the virgin in the night And skilless as unpracticed infancy." - Act I, Scene 1. Seems like Troilus is really preoccupied with Cressida at the moment.

“The Greeks are strong and skilful to their strength, Fierce to their skill and to their fierceness valiant; But I am weaker than a woman’s tear, Tamer than sleep, fonder than ignorance, Less valiant than the virgin in the night And skilless as unpracticed infancy.” – Act I, Scene 1. Seems like Troilus is really preoccupied with Cressida at the moment.

From: Troilus and Cressida

Pro: Is very much in love with Cressida that he declares his undying love for her. Is completely crushed when she hooks up with another guy.

Con: He’s fatally self-absorbed from the start. Obsesses over his own feelings that he forgets to pay attention to Cressida’s personality. Also totally obsessed with her body and talks about how he wants to have sex with her.

Fate: Well, he and Cressida don’t really get back together.

 

103. Cressida

"Yet hold I off. Women are angels, wooing: Things won are done; joy's soul lies in the doing. That she beloved knows nought that knows not this: Men prize the thing ungain'd more than it is." - Act I, Scene 2. So she's playing hard to get. I know how that goes. So I guess she's either not that into him, leading him on, or very immature.

“Yet hold I off. Women are angels, wooing: Things won are done; joy’s soul lies in the doing. That she beloved knows nought that knows not this: Men prize the thing ungain’d more than it is.” – Act I, Scene 2. So she’s playing hard to get. I know how that goes. So I guess she’s either not that into him, leading him on, or very immature.

From: Troilus and Cressida

Pro: Well, she’s pretty. Also, she might’ve been sincere when she promised to love Troilus forever and remain faithful because she doesn’t seem treated to have a will or desires of her own.

Con: She’s one of the most unreliable characters in literary history. Though she falls in love with Troilus and promises to love him forever, she has a reputation for being a serious flirt who’s very good at mind games. But says she plays hard to get with Troilus because she’s afraid he won’t prize her as much once he sleeps with her. Uses her beauty and sexuality to get what she wants but whether it’s either because she enjoys the attention or feels like she has no choice is hard to say. May be kind of a promiscuous woman because she can’t help herself.

Fate: Well, she and Troilus don’t really get back together.

 

104. Roderigo

" I do follow here in the chase, not like a hound that hunts, but one that fills up the cry. My money is almost spent; I have been to-night exceedingly well cudgelled; and I think the issue will be, I shall have so much experience for my pains, and so, with no money at all and a little more wit, return again to Venice." Act II, Scene 3. Of course, Roderigo has no idea that Desdemona doesn't want him and that Iago is using him as a walking ATM in his evil schemes.

” I do follow here in the chase, not like a hound that hunts, but one that fills up the cry. My money is almost spent; I have been to-night exceedingly well cudgelled; and I think the issue will be, I shall
have so much experience for my pains, and so, with no money at all and a little more wit, return again to Venice.” Act II, Scene 3. Of course, Roderigo has no idea that Desdemona doesn’t want him and that Iago is using him as a walking ATM in his evil schemes.

From: Othello

Pro: He’s rich.

Con: Lusts after Desdemona and thinks he could win her back if he follows her and her new husband to Cyprus and gives her enough presents. Is a complete idiot who Iago plays as a complete pawn by using him as a walking ATM and inciting a brawl with Cassio. Gives jewelry to Iago that he thinks is going to Desdemona but in reality, Iago is selling the stuff for a profit. Iago also persuades him to kill Cassio, too.

Fate: Stabbed by Iago and left for dead.

 

105. Michael Cassio

"Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation, Iago, my reputation!" - Act 2. Scene 3. Don't worry, he'll get it back. After all, he's the most decent guy in the cast. Then again, that's not saying much.

“Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have
lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation, Iago, my reputation!” – Act 2. Scene 3. Don’t worry, he’ll get it back. After all, he’s the most decent guy in the cast. Then again, that’s not saying much.

From: Othello

Pro: He’s loyal to Othello and gets promoted for his high manners and theoretical learning. Also, he’s perhaps one of the most decent male characters in the cast.

Con: He’s very immature. Has no practical knowledge of battle. Has a Madonna-Whore Complex as well as treats his prostitute girlfriend Bianca like shit. His flirting with Emilia and Desdemona also doesn’t help matters. Gets tricked by Iago into getting drunk and into a brawl with Roderigo which gets him in trouble and costs him his job.

Fate: Gets to bring Iago to justice but since he got stabbed by Roderigo in the leg, he might be permanently crippled.

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Great Figures in Shakespeare: Part 6 – Puck to Lysander

Sir_Joseph_Noel_Paton_-_The_Quarrel_of_Oberon_and_Titania_-_Google_Art_Project_2

Seems like Oberon and Titania are having problems again. Seems he wants the boy she’s taking care of and she won’t let him. Now Oberon’s just going to play a trick on her so he could get his way. Really mature. Not.

As you might see, you’ll find that there are plenty of parents in Shakespeare that might seem like complete jerks or outright hypocrites. At one point, people in the Victorian era thought Polonius was good dad since he gave some fatherly advice to Laertes. But he also has someone to spy on him while his son’s in France. He also uses Ophelia to spy on Hamlet as well as tells her not to have sex with him and pretend to dump him. Then you have King Lear who tries to divide his lands to daughters who professed their love for them. This leads his country into chaos and civil war. And it’s not just dads for you also have Volumnia from Coriolanus who lives through her son and always wants credit for his achievements. Then there’s Constance of Brittany from King John whose pursuit of her son’s claim to the throne gets her killed. That doesn’t even mention Titus Andronicus and Queen Tamora who kill each other’s kids to avenge those they lost in sick and twisted ways. Add to the fact that Titus killed a son just because he didn’t do what he wanted. In this selection I bring you more great figures in Shakespeare consisting of Puck, Lysander, Oberon, Demetrius, and Bottom from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Mercutio, Benvolio, and Tybalt from Romeo and Juliet, Duke Vincentio and Isabella from Measure for Measure, MacDuff from Macbeth, Lavinia from Titus Andronicus, Timon of Athens, Julius Caesar, and Cymbeline.

 

76. Puck

"If we shadows have offended,/Think but this, and all is mended,/That you have but slumber'd here/While these visions did appear." - Act V, Scene 1. Yes, it was all a dream in the woods. But I'm sure Puck had fun with turning Bottom into an ass or having Lysander and Demetrius fight over Helena.

“If we shadows have offended,/Think but this, and all is mended,/That you have but slumber’d here/While these visions did appear.” – Act V, Scene 1. Yes, it was all a dream in the woods. But I’m sure Puck had fun with turning Bottom into an ass or having Lysander and Demetrius fight over Helena.

From: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Pro: He’s a lot of fun as a mischievous sprite who is capable of circling the earth in 40 minutes. Serves to remind that the fairy world is not all goodness and generosity.

Con: He’s kind of a sociopath and consummate prankster who’s rather indifferent to human suffering. Sure it was a mistake screwing the love potion that made Demetrius and Lysander go after Helena, but he’s sure enjoying the results. But he only fixes things at Oberon’s request. And he shows no repentance over turning Bottom into an ass or having Titania fall in love with him.

Fate: Remains the same old sprite he started out as.

 

77. Oberon

"Once I sat upon a promontory,/And heard a mermaid, on a dolphin's back,/Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,/That the rude sea grew civil at her song;/And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,/To hear the sea-maid’s music." - Act II, Scene 1. As we know from Oberon, he should've been more specific when it came to applying love potion to a certain, "Athenian youth."

“Once I sat upon a promontory,/And heard a mermaid, on a dolphin’s back,/Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,/That the rude sea grew civil at her song;/And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,/To hear the sea-maid’s music.” – Act II, Scene 1. As we know from Oberon, he should’ve been more specific when it came to applying love potion to a certain, “Athenian youth.”

From: A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream

Pro: Sure he might take pity on Helena and is willing to make things better for her. As King of the Fairies, he does try to create human happiness. Knows how to keep Puck in line. Loves Titania but their relationship can be, well, complicated.

Con: Should’ve been more specific when instructing Puck with the love potion since he initially gave it to the wrong Athenian. While he may love Titania, he can be kind of a jerk when he wants her to do something. I mean the guy publicly humiliates his wife for an extremely petty reason and gets what he wants out of it. Can be a petty and immoral sadist committing various atrocities for amusement, but at least he eventually feels bad about them.

Fate: Is reconciled with Titania, at least for now.

 

78. Nick Bottom

"I see their knavery: this is to make an ass of me; to fright me, if they could." - Act III, Scene 1. Well, looks like someone just did, literally.

“I see their knavery: this is to make an ass of me; to fright me, if they could.” – Act III, Scene 1. Well, looks like someone just did, literally.

From: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Pro: Took a night of being turned into an ass and being abducted by fairies better than most people would in his situation. Then again, being with Titania, he probably doesn’t mind too much (though he tends to forget it the next day). Is outgoing and good natured.

Con: Tends to be overconfident in his acting abilities and remembering lines. Also makes an ass out of himself both literally and figuratively.

Fate: Goes back to normal life and puts on a play with his colleagues in the community theater troupe.

 

79. Tybalt

"Romeo, the hate I bear thee can afford/No better term than this: thou art a villain." - Act III, Scene 1. Just wait until he gets himself killed by Romeo. That's right after he kills Mercutio.

“Romeo, the hate I bear thee can afford/No better term than this: thou art a villain.” – Act III, Scene 1. Just wait until he gets himself killed by Romeo. That’s right after he kills Mercutio.

From: Romeo and Juliet

Pro: He treats Juliet and the Nurse with kindness. Also can hold his own in a swordfight. Is supposedly a perfect gentleman, beloved of his uncle, and the best friend the Nurse ever had.

Con: Has a tendency to be difficult to interact with as well as be loud and angry at best. Has no qualms about being violent that he openly admits to hating the word peace. Kills Mercutio and feels absolutely no remorse for it whatsoever. In short, he’s an all-around asshole with violent tendencies.

Fate: Killed by Romeo in a teen gang fight. Pretty much got what was coming to him.

 

80. Mercutio

"O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you./She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes/In shape no bigger than an agate-stone/On the fore-finger of an alderman,/Drawn with a team of little atomies/Athwart men’s noses as they lie asleep." - Act I, Scene 4. I'd like to tell you what he's just said. But I don't want to offend the parents reading this.

“O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you./She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes/In shape no bigger than an agate-stone/On the fore-finger of an alderman,/Drawn with a team of little atomies/Athwart men’s noses as they lie asleep.” – Act I, Scene 4. I’d like to tell you what he’s just said. But I don’t want to offend the parents reading this.

From: Romeo and Juliet

Pro: Well, he’s quite fun to hang around and very entertaining. Willing to tell his best friend Romeo to snap out of it when he’s moping over Rosaline.

Con: Don’t question his manhood or how he “consorts” with Romeo. Is very quick to fight. Can be callous and cynical. Is too immature and hot-blooded for his own good. Can change his mood from cheerful to angry at the drop of a dime and is willing to start fights for no reason at all. Also, heavily implied to have love issues in the past which isn’t surprising.

Fate: Killed by Tybalt and his death is heartbreaking. It all goes downhill from here.

 

81. Benvolio

" I pray thee, good Mercutio, let's retire:/The day is hot, the Capulets abroad,/And, if we meet, we shall not scape a brawl;/For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring." - Act III, Scene 1. He's basically saying, "C'mon, Merc, let's go home. I don't want to get in a fight with the Capulets because everyone is really cranky with this hot weather." Too bad Mercutio doesn't listen to him and ends up killed. After this, I think Benvolio gets the hell out and dodge.

” I pray thee, good Mercutio, let’s retire:/The day is hot, the Capulets abroad,/And, if we meet, we shall not scape a brawl;/For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.” – Act III, Scene 1. He’s basically saying, “C’mon, Merc, let’s go home. I don’t want to get in a fight with the Capulets tonight because everyone is really cranky with this hot weather.” Too bad Mercutio doesn’t listen to him and ends up killed. After this, I think Benvolio gets the hell out and dodge.

From: Romeo and Juliet

Pro: He’s the most reasonable guy in the Montague bunch and among the teenage characters. In all, he’s just a level-headed nice guy who just wants to keep his friend and cousin alive. And he’s the only one who doesn’t forget the death threats on those who fight in the streets. Too bad he’s always caught in the middle.

Con: Unfortunately, his voice of reason isn’t as memorable as Mercutio’s antics. And the fact he’s a Montague basically puts him in a generations long family feud that he’d rather not get involved in. Probably shouldn’t have encouraged Romeo to attend Lord Capulet’s party.

Fate: Hopefully, he’s alive by the end but he disappears after Romeo’s exile. Then again, as a Montague, he probably thought it was a good idea to get the hell out of Verona and dodge since there’s no point in staying anymore since Mercutio is dead and Romeo will soon be dead anyway (now that he’s an outlaw).

 

82. Lavinia

"'Tis present death I beg; and one thing more/That womanhood denies my tongue to tell: /O, keep me from their worse than killing lust,/And tumble me into some loathsome pit,/Where never man's eye may behold my body:/Do this, and be a charitable murderer." - Act II, Scene 3. Sorry, but Queen Tamora has something worse in store for you. And you'll probably won't be able to tell anyone about it.

“‘Tis present death I beg; and one thing more/That womanhood denies my tongue to tell: /O, keep me from their worse than killing lust,/And tumble me into some loathsome pit,/Where never man’s eye may behold my body:/Do this, and be a charitable murderer.” – Act II, Scene 3. Sorry, but Queen Tamora has something worse in store for you. And you’ll probably won’t be able to tell anyone about it.

From: Titus Andronicus

Pro: She’s beautiful, virtuous, chaste, and gracious. Then again, she’s not too perfect because her brother Mutius helped her and Bassainus run off together. Can read and uses Philomel’s story to tell her dad that she was raped after her tongue and hands were cut off. Also used as stick in her mouth to write the names of her rapists. Holds the bowl when her daddy kills her rapists.

Con: For one, she’s viewed by those around her as an object and has no voice nor agency. Bassainus makes off with her and is accused of treason after Titus promises her to Saturninus. Thinks interracial relationships are a bad thing.

Fate: Is killed by her dad Titus so her shame and his sorrow would die with her. Was said to be for her own good.

 

83. MacDuff

" Despair thy charm;/And let the angel whom thou still hast served/Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother's womb/Untimely ripp'd." - Act V, Scene 8. This translates to, "I was delivered by emergency c-section. So I'm not really a man of woman born." And he cuts Macbeth's head off.

” Despair thy charm;/And let the angel whom thou still hast served/Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother’s womb/Untimely ripp’d.” – Act V, Scene 8. This translates to, “I was delivered by emergency c-section. So I’m not really a man of woman born.” And he cuts Macbeth’s head off.

From: Macbeth

Pro: Really loves his wife and family as well as his own country. Isn’t a man of many words. But when he does say something, everyone listens. When Duncan dies, he not only mourns the king but also the man. When he’s suspicious about Macbeth’s actions, he decides to seek an English alliance so he could take his country back. Seen as a true man but accepts his natural place.

Con: Then again, you might also think that his actions against Macbeth are partially motivated by revenge. Also, when he left for England, you have to wonder why he didn’t at least take the wife and kids with him.

Fate: Kills Macbeth but now has to face the world alone (because Macbeth killed his whole family).

 

84. Cymbeline

"Thou took'st a beggar, wouldst have made my throne/A seat for baseness. " - Act I, Scene 1. Really, Cy, is your daughter marrying Posthumus that bad? I think you might need to chill.

“Thou took’st a beggar, wouldst have made my throne/A seat for baseness. ” – Act I, Scene 1. Really, Cy, is your daughter marrying Posthumus that bad? I think you might need to chill.

From: Cymbeline

Pro: He’s a kind hearted guy and truly concerned about the harm he might’ve caused with his foolishness. Forgives people quite easily for almost anything.

Con: He’s a dad you’d expect straight out of a Disney movie. Sure he’s nice, but he doesn’t exercise good judgement and makes a lot of decisions that almost screw up his kids’ lives as well as his kingdom. For one, he banishes Belarius for 20 years which leads to him kidnap his 2 sons (whom he doesn’t go after. But Belarius raises them well). Second, he marries a single mom because she’s hot despite that she’s evil and wants him for his power. Third, he believes everything his wife says simply because she’s hot. Fourth, when his daughter Imogen elopes with Posthumus, he banishes her husband and locks her away. All because he thinks Posthumus is below his daughter’s station. Fifth, starts a war with Rome just because his wife doesn’t want to pay a fine. Luckily, Imogen found the Queen out before she could poison him and helps stop the meaningless war.

Fate: Remains king of Britain, forgives everyone and is reunited with his kids.

 

85. Timon

"The gods confound—hear me, you good gods all—/The Athenians both within and out that wall!/And grant, as Timon grows, his hate may grow/To the whole race of mankind, high and low! " - Act IV, Scene 1. Okay, that's a bit harsh. No need to be deeply misanthropic here.

“The gods confound—hear me, you good gods all—/The Athenians both within and out that wall!/And grant, as Timon grows, his hate may grow/To the whole race of mankind, high and low! ” – Act IV, Scene 1. Okay, that’s a bit harsh. No need to be deeply misanthropic here.

From: Timon of Athens

Pro: Well, he’s rich and very generous with his money. Is well loved and throws lavish parties. Always willing to pay debts for others. Thinks his friends are the most important thing in the world to him.

Con: Unfortunately, the guy’s is always open for all takers as long as they say they’re his friends. He’s also so generous to his friends that he’s soon running out of money. As for his friends, well, they’re just hanging out with him so they could get a big pay out. Even his servants know his buds are phonies. May love his own image as a friendly, generous guy, more than he loves his “friends.” May just be attracted to shallow people and completely overlooks people who care about him such as his servant Flavius whom he treats like crap and doesn’t give a hint of gratitude. Once he finds out his friends are all fake, he nastily turns on them. Is also completely ignorant of his money problems or at least doesn’t want to know the reality of the situation. Once he’s thrown out of his home, he starts hating all mankind and living in a cave. When given the chance to return to Athens, he just curses and says he’d rather die.

Fate: Drives himself to death but his is less tragic because he brought so much of his bad fortune on himself.

 

86. Julius Caesar

"Et tu, Brute? — Then fall, Caesar!" - Act III, Scene 1. Should've not come to the Senate on the Ides of March, Caesar. But you didn't listen.

“Et tu, Brute? — Then fall, Caesar!” – Act III, Scene 1. Should’ve not come to the Senate on the Ides of March, Caesar. But you didn’t listen.

From: Julius Caesar

Pro: He’s charismatic and confident as well as more human than you think.

Con: For one, he should’ve beware the Ides of March but didn’t. Second, his arrogance, popularity, and ambition attract a lot of enemies who want to kill him which leads to his downfall. Is a total drama queen who likes to put on a big show and is beginning to show signs of tyranny like putting 2 guys to death for covering up his pictures. Has hearing problems. Is a lousy swimmer. Suffers from epileptic fits. Also might have fertility problems because he and Calpurnia are childless (in real life, Caesar already had kids so it’s probably Calpurnia). Trusts Brutus with his life way too much.

Fate: Assassinated by conspiring senators on the Roman Senate floor on the Ides of March. But it’s halfway through the play which really confuses high school kids.

 

87. Duke Vincentio

"My business in this state/Made me a looker-on here in Vienna,/Where I have seen corruption boil and bubble,/Till it o'er-run the stew." - Act V, Scene 1. I bet you he means that he didn't expect his city to be so screwed up. Or for Angelo to handle things so poorly.

“My business in this state/Made me a looker-on here in Vienna,/Where I have seen corruption boil and bubble,/Till it o’er-run the stew.” – Act V, Scene 1. I bet you he means that he didn’t expect his city to be so screwed up. Or for Angelo to handle things so poorly.

From: Measure for Measure

Pro: Goes on a fake vacation in order to test Angelo’s character. Loves his people that he can’t bring himself to punish them when they break the law as well as tries to be helpful. Concocts a scheme to save Claudio that makes both Isabella and Mariana happy.

Con: Has a wish to see long-ignored laws of morality enforced without looking like a tyrant. Disguises as a friar to spy on Angelo and his people. Holds confessions from unwitting people while impersonating a friar. Lies to Isabella about her brother being dead. Might have a God complex. Oh, and he proposes marriage to a novice nun like it’s no big deal.

Fate: Resumes his place as Duke and asks Isabella would marry him. It’s unknown whether she says yes.

 

88. Isabella

"No ceremony that to great ones ’longs,/Not the king’s crown, nor the deputed sword,/The marshal’s truncheon, nor the judge’s robe,/Become them with one half so good a grace/As mercy does." - Act II, Scene 2. Of course, when Angelo asks for sex in exchange for her brother's life, she's like, "So long, Claudio, it's been good to know you. But you shouldn't have knocked up your girlfriend."

“No ceremony that to great ones ’longs,/Not the king’s crown, nor the deputed sword,/The marshal’s truncheon, nor the judge’s robe,/Become them with one half so good a grace/As mercy does.” – Act II, Scene 2. Of course, when Angelo asks for sex in exchange for her brother’s life, she’s like, “So long, Claudio, it’s been good to know you. But you shouldn’t have knocked up your girlfriend.”

From: Measure for Measure

Pro: Well, she’s a pure and moral person who’s not as much of a hypocrite. Gives brilliant speeches to Angelo on Christianity, power, mercy as well as fiery denounces him for his treachery. Cares about her brother enough to visit him.

Con: Can be self-righteous and hypocritical as well as an outright prude. Seems to have no sympathy for Claudio when he asks her to give into Angelo’s desire and is revolted by her brother’s inability to keep it in his pants. Would rather see her brother executed for what shouldn’t be a crime than lose her virginity to Angelo (though she’s fine with asking Mariana to sleep with Angelo for her). Seems to be prone to unwanted sexual attention.

Fate: We don’t know whether she marries the Duke or becomes a nun.

 

89. Demetrius

"You do impeach your modesty too much/To leave the city and commit yourself/Into the hands of one that loves you not,/To trust the opportunity of night/And the ill counsel of a desert place/With the rich worth of your virginity." - Act II, Scene 1. Maybe Demetrius should follow his own advice because he's following a woman who clearly doesn't love him back.

“You do impeach your modesty too much/To leave the city and commit yourself/Into the hands of one that loves you not,/To trust the opportunity of night/And the ill counsel of a desert place/With the rich worth of your virginity.” – Act II, Scene 1. Maybe Demetrius should follow his own advice because he’s following a woman who clearly doesn’t love him back.

From: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Pro: He might love Helena prior to the love potion, but he’s not aware of it.

Con: Initially thinks Hermia is legally entitled to him because he made a deal with her dad (even though she’s clearly not interested in him). This after he ditches her best friend, Helena to whom he’s abusive and insensitive when she refuses to give up on him. In fact, he tells her that she’s a real floozy by chasing him around and wishes that she was devoured by wild beasts. After that, he pursues Hermia and Lysander in the woods. Now we may criticize Helena for going after him, but this guy is a complete hypocrite and is just as pathetic as she is. Hell, he might even be worse since he relies on his male privilege and connections to be with a girl who’s clearly in a loving relationship with someone else. He needs to get over it. Sure he might be sweet to Helena at the end but it’s the love potion talking.

Fate: Marries Helena in a triple wedding with Lysander and Hermia and Theseus and Hippolyta. Sure he might be sweet to her by this point, but it’s the love potion talking.

 

90. Lysander

"For aught that ever I could read,/Could ever hear by tale or history,/The course of true love never did run smooth." - Act I, Scene 1. Well, he has a point. Yet, Lysander's heart is always with Hermia except when he's under love potion. But he got better.

“For aught that ever I could read,/Could ever hear by tale or history,/The course of true love never did run smooth.” – Act I, Scene 1. Well, he has a point. Yet, Lysander’s heart is always with Hermia except when he’s under love potion. But he got better.

From: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Pro: He loves Hermia that he’s willing to run away with her into the woods. Knows the course of love never runs so smooth. Is likely to have a happy life with Hermia since he didn’t need a fairy love potion to fall for her. Also doesn’t need to have her daddy’s approval to marry her either. All that matters to him is whether Hermia loves him back. Well, at least when he’s not crushing for Helena on the love potion.

Con: Should’ve taken a page from Demetrius and tried to make a deal with Hermia’s dad who doesn’t like him. Can be a hopeless romantic. Also, switched affections for another girl under the influence of love potion. At least he gets out of it.

Fate: Marries Hermia in a triple wedding with Demetrius and Helena and Theseus and Hippolyta.

Great Figures in Shakespeare: Part 5 – King Claudius to Helena

Henry IV Part 1

It appears that Henry IV is trying to teach Prince Hal a lesson. Sure all he wanted was to go on a crusade to atone for Richard II’s death. But rebelling nobles, civil wars, and parenting won’t let him.

So we’re about halfway through. While you might think that Shakespeare is suited for high-brows, in his day, it was not. In fact, he had to satisfy a large audience. A lot of the Bard’s plays are full of adult humor, bawdy jokes, and double entendres but you probably never noticed in high school because the English language has changed so much since the 16th century which can seriously impact the comedies. Also, your high school English teacher probably didn’t tell you for obvious reasons. But let’s just say that when Hamlet is telling Ophelia to “get thee to a nunnery” he’s not telling her to join a convent and nor does calling Polonius a “fishmonger” have anything to do with his fishing skills. In this selection, you’ll meet Shakespearean figures like King Claudius, Queen Gertrude, Polonius, and Laertes from Hamlet, Cassius from Julius Caesar, Titus Andronicus, Feste from Twelfth Night, Helena from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Leontes and Autolycus from The Winter’s Tale, the Duke of Cornwall from King Lear, Lord Capulet from Romeo and Juliet, Imogen from Cymbeline, Hotspur, and Henry IV.

 

61. King Claudius

"What if this cursed hand/Were thicker than itself with brother's blood, —/Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens/To wash it white as snow?" - Act III, Scene 3. Basically, in this scene he's saying, "Yeah, I killed my brother, took his throne, and married his wife. Do I regret it? No."

“What if this cursed hand/Were thicker than itself with brother’s blood, —/Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens/To wash it white as snow?” – Act III, Scene 3. Basically, in this scene he’s saying, “Yeah, I killed my brother, took his throne, and married his wife. Do I regret it? No.”

From: Hamlet

Pro: You have to admit, this guy’s a scheming Machiavellian bastard to a T. I mean the guy killed his brother, took the Danish throne, and married his widow. Seems to be nice to Gertrude. Not to mention, he probably has a lot of charisma since he managed to get nobles to accept the whole thing. Also, might be an okay king, despite how he got into power since avoids war with Norway. Talks his way out of Laertes’s rebellion, too. Even calms him down to convince the guy he’s innocent of Polonius’s murder even when Laertes has invaded the palace.

Con: Unfortunately, his nephew and stepson Hamlet isn’t really happy with him offing his dad, assuming the throne, and marrying his mom on short notice. So when his nephew puts on a play to call him out, he decides to kill him while playing the loving stepdad. He’s not successful, at least initially. He’s unapologetically selfish and has no qualms into manipulating people and using them as pawns. Hell, he probably has no conscience or doesn’t let it get in the way of what needs to be done. Probably has no remorse for what he did.

Fate: Is stabbed by a sword and forced to drink a poison that he devised for Hamlet by Hamlet.

 

62. Cassius

"Men at some time are masters of their fates:/The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,/But in ourselves, that we are underlings." - Act I, Scene 2. Cassius may be right. But he's going to stab Julius Caesar in the back anyway because he thinks the guy has it coming.

“Men at some time are masters of their fates:/The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,/But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” – Act I, Scene 2. Cassius may be right. But he’s going to stab Julius Caesar in the back anyway because he thinks the guy has it coming.

From: Julius Caesar

Pro: Very politically savvy and a manipulative bastard. Also, he’s not entirely wrong about Caesar’s political ambitions.

Con: Resents the way the Roman people treat Julius Caesar like a rock star and how he acts like a god. Talks Brutus into joining the conspiracy to assassinate Caesar which eventually leads to all hell break loo. But he does this mostly to further his own political interests and is basically using Brutus as a pawn that he could manipulate as he pleases. Strengths make him an unlikeable character.

Fate: Commits suicide after the Battle of Philippi.

 

63. Queen Gertrude

"Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted color off,/And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark./Do not for ever with thy vailèd lids/Seek for thy noble father in the dust./Thou know'st 'tis common; all that lives must die,/Passing through nature to eternity." - Act I, Scene 2. Gertrude is basically telling Hamlet, "Your dad's dead. Get over him already." After all, she's moved on to marry Claudius, which her son's not happy about at all.

“Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted color off,/And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark./Do not for ever with thy vailèd lids/Seek for thy noble father in the dust./Thou know’st ’tis common; all that lives must die,/Passing through nature to eternity.” – Act I, Scene 2. Gertrude is basically telling Hamlet, “Your dad’s dead. Get over him already.” After all, she’s moved on to marry Claudius, which her son’s not happy about at all.

From: Hamlet

Pro: She tends to be fairly meek and submissive for most of the play which might seem bad but makes her a more interesting character in regards to her motivations for marrying Claudius. So it’s probably for the best. Loves her son Hamlet though their relationship just got a whole lot complicated.

Con: While Hamlet may seem like a dick to Ophelia, his tirade toward his mother is much more understandable since she married her brother-in-law a month after her husband died. Doesn’t help that Claudius murdered her previous husband either. You have to wonder whether she and Claudius were having an affair. Whether she knew anything about or had any complicity in her husband’s murder. Or if she just married Claudius because she didn’t want to be a widow shut up in some corner of the palace. Or if she was being practical and just wanted to avoid a power vacuum that would invite usurpation to the throne, according to Roger Ebert. Or perhaps she was forced into it. Also, we’re not sure of how much she cares about her son since she didn’t seem to speak up when Claudius was trying to kill him. Then there’s the fact that her marriage to Claudius really messed up Hamlet’s view on women. May have also killed Ophelia.

Fate: Drinks a cup of poison while toasting Hamlet (which was intended to poison him).

 

64. Polonius

"This above all — to thine own self be true;/And it must follow, as the night the day,/Thou canst not then be false to any man." - Act I, Scene 3. Those not familiar with Shakespeare might find this touching and sentimental. Real Shakespeare fans would find this hilarious since it's to be taken in irony.

“This above all — to thine own self be true;/And it must follow, as the night the day,/Thou canst not then be false to any man.” – Act I, Scene 3. Those not familiar with Shakespeare might find this touching and sentimental. Real Shakespeare fans would find this hilarious since it’s to be taken in irony. Since he doesn’t follow his own advice.

From: Hamlet

Pro: Loves his kids. Gives good advice to Laertes. Gives good one-liners and can be pretty hilarious. Must be doing something right as chief counselor to the king.

Con: Despite giving solid advice to Laertes in the beginning, he’s a complete idiot as well as a terrible and embarrassing parent. Sure he’s self-absorbed, long-winded, and dull. His advice is often tone-deaf and clichéd. Has elaborate attempts to keep tabs on Ophelia and Laertes such as spreading rumors so Laertes could confide to Reynaldo, who can report back to him. You might call him a helicopter parent, but that might be more of a compliment because he’s much more of a control freak. He’s also all too willing to use his daughter to get good with the king and his manipulative tactics leave Ophelia prone to Hamlet’s abuse, which can be partly to blame for her tragic end. Sure he may seem to love Ophelia, but would any good dad try and test if a relationship was real by making his daughter pretend to dump a guy? No but he would. Not to mention, he has some concern on whether she’s a virgin which is unhealthy. Also, hiding through a curtain to eavesdrop on a private conversation between a mom and son is a very bad idea. Then again, he has a nasty habit of spying on pretty much everyone along with kissing royal ass.

Fate: Is stabbed by Hamlet through a curtain while eavesdropping on him and Gertrude. Yeah, I know Hamlet killed him. But the guy was too dumb to live. And he kind of had it coming.

 

65. Laertes

"O, treble woe/Fall ten times treble on that cursèd head,/Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense/Deprived thee of!—Hold off the earth awhile,/Till I have caught her once more in mine arms." - Act V, Scene 1. Okay, Laertes, you love your sister, I get it. However, jumping into her grave to hold her one last time? May I say creepy?

“O, treble woe/Fall ten times treble on that cursèd head,/Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense/Deprived thee of!—Hold off the earth awhile,/Till I have caught her once more in mine arms.” – Act V, Scene 1. Okay, Laertes, you love your sister, I get it. However, jumping into her grave to hold her one last time? May I say creepy?

From: Hamlet

Pro: He’s a go-getter and a loyal brother and son. Worries about Ophelia getting involved with Hamlet (for good reason). Forgives Hamlet eventually.

Con: Has serious anger issues. His telling a priest to go to hell, making a big deal about Ophelia’s “unpolluted flesh,” leaping into her grave, and picking a fight with her boyfriend does not seem like appropriate behavior for a guy at his sister’s funeral. In fact, it’s creepy. Also, when receiving news about his dad’s death, he should’ve just rushed home to the funeral and checked on his sister’s well-being. Not raise a crowd of armed followers, storm a castle bent on committing regicide, and ask about what happened to your dad later. Is also easily manipulated into a scheme by King Claudius.

Fate: Fatally stabbed by his own poisoned blade by Hamlet in a duel.

 

66. Duke of Cornwall

"Though well we may not pass upon his life / Without the form of justice, yet our power / Shall do a court'sy to our wrath, which men / May blame but not control." - Act III, Scene 7. Of course, he's only gouging Gloucester's eyes out for kicks because he can get away with it. He'll get stabbed by a servant later.

“Though well we may not pass upon his life / Without the form of justice, yet our power / Shall do a court’sy to our wrath, which men / May blame but not control.” – Act III, Scene 7. Of course, he’s only gouging Gloucester’s eyes out for kicks because he can get away with it. He’ll get stabbed by a servant later.

From: King Lear

Pro: Well, he and Regan seem made for each other.

Con: He’s a sadist who enjoys causing people pain and likes being in power so nobody would be allowed to stop him. Puts Kent in the stock for failing to show a little respect. Has the Earl of Gloucester’s eyes gouged out for giving Lear shelter near his castle as well as for the pleasure of it. Treats his servants like shit.

Fate: Is killed by one of his servants for blinding Gloucester.

 

67. Titus Andronicus

"In peace and honour rest you here, my sons;/Rome's readiest champions, repose you here in rest,/Secure from worldly chances and mishaps!/Here lurks no treason, here no envy swells,/Here grow no damned drugs, here are no storms,/No noise, but silence and eternal sleep:/In peace and honour rest you here, my sons!" - Act I, Scene 1. Sure this guy might love his sons. But I think he should've honored them with a tombstone and some flowers. Instead, he has Tamora's oldest son sacrificed.

“In peace and honour rest you here, my sons;/Rome’s readiest champions, repose you here in rest,/Secure from worldly chances and mishaps!/Here lurks no treason, here no envy swells,/Here grow no damned drugs, here are no storms,/No noise, but silence and eternal sleep:/In peace and honour rest you here, my sons!” – Act I, Scene 1. Sure this guy might love his sons. But I think he should’ve honored them with a tombstone and some flowers. Instead, he has Tamora’s oldest son sacrificed.

From: Titus Andronicus

Pro: He’s a general and a war hero who’s loyal to Rome. Loves his kids but has a very funny way of showing it that doesn’t help his case.

Con: For one, he must’ve been a busy boy to have at least 26 kids (because that’s an unrealistic number of offspring so he’s probably not monogamous). Second, he’s a pretty lousy dad for what gets him into trouble usually causes much of his and his family’s suffering even if his actions are in the name of Roman tradition. I mean he fought a war with the Goths for 10 years and lost 21 sons. And thinks sacrificing Tamora’s son Arabus should be ritually sacrificed in order to appease their spirits even after she pleads to spare his life. Also thinks Saturinus should be Emperor of Rome because he’s the last guy’s firstborn son despite that the guy threatened him, doesn’t seem to be a good ruler, got dumped by Lavinia for his brother, and making Tamora his empress. Doesn’t think twice about killing Mutius for interfering with Lavinia’s engagement to the new Emperor. Kills Lavinia so her shame and his sorrow over her rape will die with her. His service to Rome matters more to him than the lives of his own kids. His quest to right some kind of injustice that was probably his own fault calls his morality in question. Also, while you can’t blame him for killing Chiron and Demetrius for what they did to Lavinia, the guy also serves them in a pie to Tamora.

Fate: Gets killed by Saturninus and perhaps justifiably so. This is what happens when you kill somebody else’s kid as a human sacrifice.

 

68. Lord Capulet

"Hang thee, young baggage, disobedient wretch!/I tell thee what: get thee to church o' Thursday,/Or never after look me in the face./Speak not; reply not; do not answer me." - Act III, Scene 5. Man, this guy really hates it when he doesn't get his way. Obviously doesn't care about Juliet's feelings does he?

“Hang thee, young baggage, disobedient wretch!/I tell thee what: get thee to church o’ Thursday,/Or never after look me in the face./Speak not; reply not; do not answer me.” – Act III, Scene 5. Man, this guy really hates it when he doesn’t get his way. Obviously doesn’t care about Juliet’s feelings does he?

From: Romeo and Juliet

Pro: He seems like an okay guy at first who doesn’t seem to mind Romeo so much. Can be a rational man who tries to talk Juliet and Tybalt out of some bad decisions. Tries to calm Tybalt down as well as control his temper.

Con: Can turn from okay dad to dad from hell if his advice is ignored. Also threatens to throw Tybalt and Juliet out of the family if they don’t tow the line. Believes he knows what’s best for Juliet. While he initially seems like he’s willing to be happy with what his daughter wants, once she’s with Romeo, then he’s basically forcing her to marry Paris. In addition to threatening disownment, he also threatens beat Juliet and send her to prison for disobeying him. Nevertheless, his actions reveal that what his daughter wants are irrelevant all the way up when he sees her unconscious and later, dead. Is tyrannical, violent, possessive, and implied to beat his wife.

Fate: His asking Lord Montague for his hand to end the family feud might show that he’s learned his lesson. Maybe not.

 

69. Feste

"Two faults, madonna, that drink and good counsel will amend: for give the dry fool drink, then is the fool not dry; bid the dishonest man mend himself; if he mend, he is no longer dishonest; if he cannot, let the botcher mend him; any thing that's mended is but patched; virtue that transgresses is but patched with sin; and sin that amends is but patched with virtue." - Act I, Scene 5. Of course, don't ask him to look after Sir Toby Belch.

“Two faults, madonna, that drink and good counsel will amend: for give the dry fool drink, then is the fool not dry; bid the dishonest man mend himself; if he mend, he is no longer dishonest; if he cannot, let the botcher mend him; any thing that’s mended is but patched; virtue that transgresses is but patched with sin; and sin that amends is but patched with virtue.” – Act I, Scene 5. Of course, don’t ask him to look after Sir Toby Belch.

From: Twelfth Night

Pro: Well, he’s a middle aged jester who’s still has the wit to carry off good fooling when he needs to and a good singing voice. He’s also quite charming to be in Olivia’s good graces. Not to mention, he tends to be smarter than most of the characters think.

Con: For one, despite being in Olivia’s employ, he tends to leave and return at her house at his pleasure (rather too freely for a servant though he might be doing some free-lance gigs). Also what he did to Malvolio along with Sir Toby Belch and Maria was cruel. But then again, he tells jokes for a living so you really can’t hold it against him. Still, don’t ask him to watch over Sir Toby.

Fate: Well, he’s still in Olivia’s household as far as we know.

 

70. Imogen

"There cannot be a pinch in death/More sharp than this is." - Act 1, Scene 1. If you keep sleeping showing your boobs, you might soon find out what's worse than seeing your husband banished.

“There cannot be a pinch in death/More sharp than this is.” – Act 1, Scene 1. If you keep sleeping showing your boobs, you might soon find out what’s worse than seeing your husband banished.

From: Cymbeline

Pro: Well, she’s intelligent, honest, beautiful, and resourceful. While she might mourn her husband’s banishment and moan about having foolish suitor, she doesn’t wallow in self-pity. Keeps her husband’s vow no matter what the circumstance whether it be Iachimo trying to cheat on a bet, her evil stepmother trying to kill her, her bratty stepbrother trying to rape her, her dad banishing her husband from the kingdom, finding her two long lost brothers and their kidnapper, and more. Not afraid to take advice and get the job done herself as well as goes after what she wants. When Pisanio presents her with men’s clothing, she just puts it on and hops on a boat to Rome. Sees through the Queen and tells her dad about it (though he doesn’t listen). Doesn’t accuse first and ask questions later. Stays calm and collected even when slandered. Her actions stop the war between Rome and Britain.

Con: Unfortunately, despite being a princess, she lives in an era when security cameras were unavailable. Also, while she may love Posthumus to prove her fidelity to him, the guy basically put a hit on her the moment Iachimo convinces the guy she cheated on him (luckily his servant gave her men’s clothes instead). This action is grounds for divorce and/or a witness protection program. Should’ve married Pisanio instead. Comes from a very dysfunctional family.

Fate: Lives happily ever after with Posthumus and reunites with her dad and brothers.

 

71. Leontes

"Mark and perform it, see'st thou! for the fail/Of any point in't shall not only be/Death to thyself but to thy lewd-tongued wife,/Whom for this time we pardon. We enjoin thee, /As thou art liege-man to us, that thou carry/This female bastard hence and that thou bear it/To some remote and desert place quite out/Of our dominions, and that there thou leave it,/Without more mercy, to its own protection." - Act II, Scene 3. Don't worry, the baby lives. But the guy who's charged with abandoning her exits, pursued by a bear. Still, Leontes here is played by Sir Ian McKellen whom you may know as Gandalf and Magneto.

“Mark and perform it, see’st thou! for the fail/Of any point in’t shall not only be/Death to thyself but to thy lewd-tongued wife,/Whom for this time we pardon. We enjoin thee, /As thou art liege-man to us, that thou carry/This female bastard hence and that thou bear it/To some remote and desert place quite out/Of our dominions, and that there thou leave it,/Without more mercy, to its own protection.” – Act II, Scene 3. Don’t worry, the baby lives. But the guy who’s charged with abandoning her exits, pursued by a bear. Still, Leontes here is played by Sir Ian McKellen whom you may know as Gandalf and Magneto.

From: The Winter’s Tale

Pro: Eventually repents his sins and endures 16 years of suffering.

Con: Goes berserk when he wrongfully suspects his pregnant wife of fooling around with his best friend that he plots to murder King Polixenes, puts Hermione on trial for adultery, and orders his men to ditch his newborn daughter in the woods. His behavior destroys everything that matters in his life like his family and friendships. Thinks most women are promiscuous by nature and doubts whether Hermione’s baby is actually his. Luckily the abuse on his family isn’t permanent. Also, he didn’t seem to take some time to look after his daughter Perdita. Thinks that his friendship with Polixenes when they started getting interested in girls.

Fate: Is reunited with his daughter and wife in the end.

 

72. Henry “Hotspur” Percy

"And shall it in more shame be further spoken/That you are fooled, discarded, and shook off/By him for whom these shames ye underwent?/No, yet time serves wherein you may redeem/Your banished honors and restore yourselves/Into the good thoughts of the world again." - Act I, Scene 3. Sure he wants to uphold family honor. However, this gets him killed because he's kind of a hothead.

“And shall it in more shame be further spoken/That you are fooled, discarded, and shook off/By him for whom these shames ye underwent?/No, yet time serves wherein you may redeem/Your banished honors and restore yourselves/Into the good thoughts of the world again.” – Act I, Scene 3. Sure he wants to uphold family honor. However, this gets him killed because he’s kind of a hothead.

From: Henry IV Part 1

Pro: Loves his wife and is loyal to his family. He’s such a badass that he’s considered England’s best warrior because he eats enemy soldiers for breakfast. And he sure loves to fight as well as talk. Said to be the quintessential manly man of his day that even Henry IV wishes Hal were like him.

Con: He may seem like an ideal man in the play, but he’s kind of a dumbass (explaining why he’s not necessarily the right guy for the throne). Can be quick to anger and rants so hard that his allies have to interrupt him. In fact, his hot-blooded ranting even stops him from entering the action he loves because he’s too busy fighting a battle in his imagination. Also is fighting for his family to take the English throne for themselves. Not only that, but he also tends to be rash, impetuous, incapable of strategy as well as has a habit of alienating his colleagues. When he hears that Glendower won’t be joining his rebel forces at Shrewsbury, he forges ahead anyway because he thinks winning an impossible victory would attract more to his cause (while half his army is absent). This is because he antagonizes Glendower over his mystical beliefs which doesn’t help him. Prefers fighting to sex to his wife’s dismay and doesn’t see the value of prison exchanges. Tends to be overestimated by Henry IV who wishes his son to be more like him. Has sexist and obnoxious views as well as acts like a jerk around his wife. Also underestimates Hal, and you know how that turns out.

Fate: Killed by Prince Hal at the Battle of Shrewsbury. Luckily, Hal feels bad about it and gives him a nice send off.

 

73. Henry IV

"O that it could be proved/That some night-tripping fairy had exchanged/In cradle-clothes our children where they lay,/And called mine 'Percy', his 'Plantagenet'!/Then would I have his Harry, and he mine." - Act I, Scene 1 in Henry IV Part 1. Basically he's saying, "I wish Hotspur were my son instead of Hal." For God's sake, your son's a teenager. Besides, Hotspur has his faults, too.

“O that it could be proved/That some night-tripping fairy had exchanged/In cradle-clothes our children where they lay,/And called mine ‘Percy’, his ‘Plantagenet’!/Then would I have his Harry, and he mine.” – Act I, Scene 1 in Henry IV Part 1. Basically he’s saying, “I wish Hotspur were my son instead of Hal.” For God’s sake, your son’s a teenager. Besides, Hotspur has his faults, too. For your son kills him.

From: Richard II and Henry IV Parts 1 and 2

Pro: Well, he’s an ambitious, energetic, charismatic, inventive, and capable king who had to work hard to get his throne and knows he has to be good at his job (though he initially fought a war to get his stuff that Richard II seized from him). He’s a cunning strategist, a capable decision maker, and popular with the English people. Doesn’t count on divine right to guarantee his support of his people. And he knows that if his son should inherit a kingdom, he should behave in such a way to show himself worthy of it. Is a noble warrior to boot since he had to raise an army to get his throne and retain it without ever losing his majesty. Has a good relationship with his dad and in his prime was the best jouster in England.

Con: Things would’ve been much easier for him had he not tried to fight a duel with Mowbray and he got off easy with 6 years exile because he’s Richard II’s first cousin (yet this allows Richard being able to seize his dad’s lands to fund an ill-considered war in Ireland). Also, he probably wasn’t fighting Richard so he can have his dad’s lands (because he ended becoming king once he had the guy cornered). His refusal to ransom Mortimer starts a rebellion, too. Not to mention, the Percys see him as an ungrateful bastard when they’re outraged by his demands to surrender valuable Scottish hostages to him (after they joined him in exile and helped him get his throne). Though he loves his son, he tends to underestimate him and thinks of him no more than a mere fratboy even after the Battle of Shrewsbury. Also, killing Richard II was one of the worst decisions he ever made in his life (that he ends up regretting). Not to mention, since he had to seize the throne to get it, his trouble tends to stem from his own uneasy conscience and his uncertainty about the legitimacy of his rule and lacks the moral legitimacy that every ruler needs. This makes it difficult for him to blame the Percy family for wanting to usurp his throne for themselves. Thus, he can’t rule as the magnificent leader his son will become after he dies.

Fate: Dies in his bed in Henry IV Part 2. But at least he and Hal have reconciled by this point.

 

74. Autolycus

" I must confess to you, sir, I am no fighter: I am false of heart that way; and that he knew, I warrant him." - Act IV, Scene 3. Don't be fooled by his wares. This guy is a con artist and a very good one, too.

” I must confess to you, sir, I am no fighter: I am
false of heart that way; and that he knew, I warrant
him.” – Act IV, Scene 3. Don’t be fooled by his wares. This guy is a con artist and a very good one, too.

From: The Winter’s Tale

Pro: Will do anything to make a buck and is very good at his job. He’s also very likeable because he’s so straight forward and well, honest (with the audience anyway). Also very entertaining with his lying and cheating interspersed with singing and dancing. Has a lot of cool disguises like a robbery victim, a peddler, and a helpful nobleman. Helps Florizel escape to Sicily. Quite cunning.

Con: He’s a con artist who roams around the Bohemian countryside taking advantage of any poor sap he happens to come across. His motives usually tend to be self-serving when he helps somebody.

Fate: Stops being a rouge after entering the Sicilian court.

 

75. Helena

"Ay, in the temple, in the town, the field, You do me mischief./Fie, Demetrius! Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex./We cannot fight for love, as men may do./We should be wooed and were not made to woo." - Act II, Scene 1. Sure she probably shouldn't be pursuing Demetrius. Then again, he shouldn't be pursuing Hermia either.

“Ay, in the temple, in the town, the field,
You do me mischief./Fie, Demetrius! Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex./We cannot fight for love, as men may do./We should be wooed and were not made to woo.” – Act II, Scene 1. Sure she probably shouldn’t be pursuing Demetrius. Then again, he shouldn’t be pursuing Hermia either.

From: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Pro: Well, she loves Demetrius enough to go to hell and back with him. Also cares about her friend Hermia. Besides, her chasing Demetrius may not be altogether unjustified and might work in everyone’s best interests. And you have to agree with her about how it’s stupid that women have to be passively wait for the man of their dreams to notice them as well as worry about violence if they resist any unwanted male attention.

Con: She’s so pathetic that she’s happy to be with Demetrius even if he treats her like a dog. Also seems rather unconcerned when he threatens to rape her. Not to mention, running into the woods to chase a guy who’s mad at you and has a very short fuse isn’t a good idea. Oh, and she’s not great at keeping secrets. Full of self-pity and tends to whine. Also when Demetrius and Lysander seem to be in love with her, she thinks it’s a joke.

Fate: Marries Demetrius in a triple wedding with Lysander and Hermia and Theseus and Hippolyta. Sure he may love her at this point, but it might be the love potion talking. So she has a right to be skeptical.

Great Figures in Shakespeare: Part 4 – Aaron the Moor to Iachimo

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Look, Shylock, I feel for you. I know you’re going through a rough patch since your daughter ditched you and stole your money. And I totally understand why you hate Antonio’s guts because he treats you like shit for being a Jewish loanshark. But asking for a pound of his flesh as collateral and trying to claim it in court, was that good idea? No. By the way, this is Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons from the 2004 movie The Merchant of Venice. Pacino is Shylock and Irons is the merchant Antonio.

You may have noticed in this series that some of these characters are actually historical figures. Well, Shakespeare did write history plays which were not really true to the historical record and more or less used as Tudor and Stuart propaganda. Nevertheless, his play Richard III is a major reason why there’s a Richard III Society since Shakespeare’s Richard was almost nothing like the real thing. For instance, the real Richard III married Lady Anne Neville after her dad and husband died simply because he loved her. In fact, they might’ve been childhood sweethearts. And his marriage to her wasn’t very popular among his family since she was the widow of Henry VI’s son. He also renounced claims to the Earl of Warwick’s lands because George of Clarence was married to her sister. Not only that, but he certainly didn’t poison Lady Anne either despite rumors because he’s said to cry at her funeral as well as took her death hard. But he was also trying to marry a Portuguese princess towards the end of his life because well, he’s king and that’s part of his job. So anyway, in this selection I’ll bring you Aaron the Moor from Titus Andronicus, Edmund and Edgar from King Lear, Claudio, Hero, and Don John from Much Ado About Nothing, Caliban, Ariel, and Miranda from The Tempest, Richard II, Angelo from Measure for Measure, Shylock and Antonio from The Merchant of Venice, Ophelia from Hamlet, and Iachimo from Cymbeline.

 

46. Aaron the Moor

"Stay, murderous villains! will you kill your brother?/Now, by the burning tapers of the sky,/That shone so brightly when this boy was got,/He dies upon my scimitar's sharp point/That touches this my first-born son and heir!" - Act IV, Scene 2. Sure Aaron may be the bad guy in this play. But at least he's only parent in this who's willing to put his kid first. Unlike somebody we know (we're looking at you, Titus).

“Stay, murderous villains! will you kill your brother?/Now, by the burning tapers of the sky,/That shone so brightly when this boy was got,/He dies upon my scimitar’s sharp point/That touches this my first-born son and heir!” – Act IV, Scene 2. Sure Aaron may be the bad guy in this play. But at least he’s only parent in this who’s willing to put his kid first. Unlike somebody we know (we’re looking at you, Titus).

From: Titus Andronicus

Pro: He’s smart and a badass. Loves his baby son and puts him first even if it means revealing the entire revenge plot to the Romans so his kid could live. Being the only parent in the play to do so, he’s quite admirable, especially since he’s the bad guy.

Con: He’s a diabolical mastermind who convinces Demetrius and Chiron to rape Lavinia and responsible for framing Martius and Quintus for Bassianus’s murder. Oh, and he convinces Titus to cut off his own hand so his boys won’t die (they’re killed anyway). Though he might cause suffering so he could help Tamora get revenge, he also enjoys being bad and wreaking havoc on other people’s lives.

Fate: Captured by Lucius who has him buried up to his neck and left to die.

 

47. Edmund

"Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take/More composition and fierce quality/Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed/Go to th' creating a whole tribe of fops/Got 'tween asleep and wake? Well then,/Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land./Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund/As to th' legitimate. Fine word, 'legitimate,'/Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed/And my invention thrive, Edmund the base/Shall top th' legitimate. I grow, I prosper./Now, gods, stand up for bastards!" - Act I, Scene 2. I get it, Edmund, primogeniture and illegitimacy sucks and I totally feel for you. However, it's no excuse for being evil.

“Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take/More composition and fierce quality/Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed/Go to th’ creating a whole tribe of fops/Got ‘tween asleep and wake? Well then,/Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land./Our father’s love is to the bastard Edmund/As to th’ legitimate. Fine word, ‘legitimate,’/Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed/And my invention thrive, Edmund the base/Shall top th’ legitimate. I grow, I prosper./Now, gods, stand up for bastards!” – Act I, Scene 2. I get it, Edmund, primogeniture and illegitimacy sucks and I totally feel for you. However, it’s no excuse for being evil.

From: King Lear

Pro: Well, he has a point on how blatantly unfair society treats out of wedlock children, how foolish it is to trust fate and luck, and people’s tendencies to blame their troubles on anyone but their own actions. Yes, primogeniture is a total bitch. Is also quite charming and handsome. Also, you can’t blame him for having to hear his dad say how his mom’s a whore as a standard father-son conversation and being the butt of his old man’s jokes. Tries to save Lear and Cordelia in the end.

Con: He’s a real piece of work as well as short-sighted opportunist. Gets his older brother Edgar thrown out by telling his dad the guy is trying to kill him and cuts his arm to make it seem they were fighting. Betrays his dad by willingly and easily leaving him vulnerable to Cornwall’s anger. Bangs both Goneril and Regan which intensifies their rivalry (though he doesn’t show much affection to either of them. Also leads to Goneril killing Regan). Shows no hesitation or concern about killing Lear or Cordelia. Too bad he didn’t have his brother Edgar killed for good measure.

Fate: Killed by Edgar. If his brother hadn’t intervened, he would’ve become ruler of at least half (if not all of England).

 

48. Edgar

"And worse I may be yet: the worst is not,/So long as we can say, This is the worst." - Act IV, Scene 1. However, at least he foils Edmund's plans and gets to kill him.

“And worse I may be yet: the worst is not,/So long as we can say, This is the worst.” – Act IV, Scene 1. However, at least he foils Edmund’s plans and gets to kill him. But why doesn’t he tell his dad who he is?

From: King Lear

Pro: Is a bookish loyal, dutiful son and brother. Once he’s a fugitive, he not only saves his dad and Lear, kill Oswald in combat, nurses his old man’s wounds, and tricks him out of a suicidal depression, uncovers Edmund’s treachery, defeats him, and wounds him. Had he been caught and killed or remained in hiding, his brother would’ve gotten away from his scheme. Spent some time having to dress as a crazy homeless man to protect himself.

Con: Starts out as quite naïve, clueless, and privileged that makes him vulnerable to Edmund’s scheme that puts him on the run from the law. Also despite saving his blinded dad, doesn’t tell him who he is. Thinks his dad’s blindness is punishment for his adultery (even though it’s really producing Edmund). May not care much for women.

Fate: Kills Edmund at the end as revenge for practically ruining his life. Not sure what happens to him after that.

 

49. Richard II

"You may my glories and my state depose,/But not my griefs; still am I king of those." - Act IV, Scene 1. In essence he's saying, "I may not be king anymore but I still have my fans." I'm sure Henry IV isn't going to take this well.

“You may my glories and my state depose,/But not my griefs; still am I king of those.” – Act IV, Scene 1. In essence he’s saying, “I may not be king anymore but I still have my fans.” I’m sure Henry IV isn’t going to take this well.

From: Richard II

Pro: Well, once he gets depose, you can’t help feel sorry for him. Loves his wife. Can be quite poetic. Has some measure of dignity.

Con: Is a capricious, ineffective, and unpopular ruler. Thinks he’s God’s gift to the world and that He has specifically chosen him to lead England. Wrongfully assumes that no man could bump him off the throne and that he doesn’t need to defend himself from insurgents (this leads him getting deposed by his own cousin). Surrounds himself with a bunch of suck up advisers and loses touch with his critics and his people. Refuses to listen to constructive criticism and doesn’t learn from his mistakes. Also feels like he doesn’t have to answer to anybody for his mistakes. Exiling Henry Bolingbroke for 6 years and seizing John the Gaunt’s property after his death weren’t good ideas. Might’ve had his uncle Thomas of Woodstock killed. Mismanages money and leases out royal lands. Not to mention, when nobles are declaring each other traitor and there’s lots of behind the scenes maneuvering and murder threatening your crown’s stability, the last thing you should do is invade Ireland. But he does just that.

Fate: Murdered by Exton in prison, possibly under Henry IV’s orders. Henry IV would regret this for the rest of his life. At least he gets a royal funeral though.

 

50. Don John

"I wonder that thou, being, as thou say'st thou art, born under Saturn, goest about to apply a moral medicine to a mortifying mischief. I cannot hide what I am. I must be sad when I have cause, and smile at no man's jests; eat when I have stomach, and wait for no man's leisure; sleep when I am drowsy, and tend on no man's business; laugh when I am merry, and claw no man in his humor." - Act I, Scene 3. So he says he's not capable of deception. But he tries to convince everyone that Hero's a slut when she's not.

“I wonder that thou, being, as thou say’st thou art, born under Saturn, goest about to apply a moral medicine to a mortifying mischief. I cannot hide what I am. I must be sad when I have cause, and smile at no man’s jests; eat when I have stomach, and wait for no man’s leisure; sleep when I am drowsy, and tend on no man’s business; laugh when I am merry, and claw no man in his humor.” – Act I, Scene 3. So he says he’s not capable of deception. But he tries to convince everyone that Hero’s a slut when she’s not.

From: Much Ado About Nothing

Pro: Well, he doesn’t say much in the play which might be for the best. But he’s also quite charming.

Con: Due to his illegitimacy, he tends to have a massive beef with this half-brother Don Pedro. Because he fought a whole battle against him that he’s been forced into reconciliation. Basically cooks up a plot to smear Hero just to hurt Claudio and embarrass his brother. They’re duped and Hero is put through a world of pain. Luckily he forgets to pay Borachio and didn’t account for the night watchmen overhearing his plans.

Fate: Don’t worry, he gets arrested but he’s not sorry for what he’s done.

 

51. Count Claudio

"If I see anything tonight why I should not marry her, tomorrow in the congregation, where I should wed, there will I shame her." - Act III, Scene 2. Uh, Claudio, you really shouldn't do this because that wasn't your Hero fooling around with Borachio. Seriously, you've been played.

“If I see anything tonight why I should not marry her, tomorrow in the congregation, where I should wed, there will I shame her.” – Act III, Scene 2. Uh, Claudio, you really shouldn’t do this because that wasn’t your Hero fooling around with Borachio. Seriously, you’ve been played. Ever wonder why we all like Benedick and Beatrice better?

From: Much Ado About Nothing

Pro: He’s said to have won great acclaim fighting under Don Pedro in recent wars. And it seems that he’s really in love with Hero to distraction in Messina. Well, at first.

Con: He’s incredibly immature who’s gullible and easily manipulated. Nor does he have any capacity for modesty and real apology. He may really love Hero or might want her since she stands to inherit Leonato’s fortune. But he’s also capable of publicly shaming her when he allows himself to be deceived by Don John into thinking that she’s cheating on him. And this happens not just once, but twice. Yet, when he has chance to apologize for his lack of critical thinking, he struggles to cover his ass instead. Nevertheless, unlike Benedick, by the end, he doesn’t really grow up and is willing to concede to whatever marriage plan is presented to him.

Fate: Marries Hero in a double ceremony with Beatrice and Benedick. However, after what he did during the play, do you think we could really root for him getting the girl? Seriously, he’s just lucky that Hero and her folks are willing to forgive him and accept him.

 

52. Hero

"O, God defend me! how am I beset!/What kind of catechising call you this?" Act IV, Scene 1. And yet, Hero is still willing to marry Claudio after he shamed her for being a slut (which she wasn't). Yeah, I don't know how that's a happy ending.

“O, God defend me! how am I beset!/What kind of catechising call you this?” Act IV, Scene 1. And yet, Hero is still willing to marry Claudio after he shamed her for being a slut (which she wasn’t). Yeah, I don’t know how that’s a happy ending.

From: Much Ado About Nothing

Pro: Well, she’s sweet, gentle, loving, and pretty. So much so that she’s somewhat of a saint who’s easily willing to forgive Claudio for publicly shaming her for being unchaste. However, she’s right about setting Beatrice and Benedick up since they’re right for each other.

Con: Unfortunately, she’s too nice for her own good that she doesn’t seem to possess a spine. Nor does she put up a strong defense when Claudio publicly denounces her, or at least violently enough to inspire anyone to really question his claims. Instead she faints. And despite Claudio’s insane wrath on her, she’s just happy to accept him as her husband again. Not to mention, she has a tendency to do what she’s told and has no real character depth.

Fate: Marries Claudio in a double ceremony with Beatrice and Benedick. However, at this point, you kind of wish she’d leave at the altar and find someone better. Or perhaps be pretending to be chaste so she’d be a more interesting character.

 

53. Angelo

"'Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus,/Another thing to fall. I do not deny,/The jury, passing on the prisoner’s life,/May in the sworn twelve have a thief or two/Guiltier than him they try." - Act II, Scene 2. And you thought Inspector Javert was too much of a stickler over pursuing a guy for 2 decade for parole violations.

“‘Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus,/Another thing to fall. I do not deny,/The jury, passing on the prisoner’s life,/May in the sworn twelve have a thief or two/Guiltier than him they try.” – Act II, Scene 2. And you thought Inspector Javert was too much of a stickler over pursuing a guy for 2 decade for parole violations.

From: Measure for Measure

Pro: Can self-analyze and be honest with himself. Also, apparently repents his hypocrisy. May be sincere in his prayers.

Con: He’s a major hypocrite who sentences Claudio to death for knocking up his fiancée (he was willing to marry) while trying to bang his sister who’s a novice nun. Oh, and when he believes they’ve done it, he has Claudio’s execution proceed anyway. Dumped his fiancée Mariana after her dowry was lost when her brother’s ship sank. Carries a façade of righteousness but has a penchant for deceit and corruption as a deputy to the Duke of Vienna. Has a Javert like tendency to enforce the law while ignoring mercy but with a more draconian streak.

Fate: Marries Mariana in the end, which is probably what he deserved.

 

54. Caliban

"You taught me language, and my profit on't/Is, I know how to curse. The red plague rid you,/For learning me your language!" - Act I, Scene 2. Then again, Caliban probably shouldn't have tried to rape Miranda since Prospero wouldn't have it.

“You taught me language, and my profit on’t/Is, I know how to curse. The red plague rid you,/For learning me your language!” – Act I, Scene 2. Then again, Caliban probably shouldn’t have tried to rape Miranda since Prospero wouldn’t have it.

From: The Tempest

Pro: Well, he does have some legitimate complaints about Prospero enslaving him (after establishing a decent relationship with him). And you can’t blame him for challenging his authority either. Helped Prospero survive on the island for 12 years. Can be quite poetic once he was able to learn how to speak.

Con: However, he did try to rape Miranda when she tried teaching him how to read. This makes Prospero and Miranda hating him rather understandable. Also, he’s kind of a despicable creature.

Fate: His fate after the play is left ambiguous.

 

55. Shylock

"Signior Antonio, many a time and oft/In the Rialto you have rated me/About my moneys, and my usances:/Still have I borne it with a patient shrug,/For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe./You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,/And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine,/And all for use of that which is mine own." - Act I, Scene 3. I guess Shylock has a right to be fed up with how Antonio treats him. But asking for a pound of his flesh as collateral? What are you thinking?

“Signior Antonio, many a time and oft/In the Rialto you have rated me/About my moneys, and my usances:/Still have I borne it with a patient shrug,/For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe./You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,/And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine,/And all for use of that which is mine own.” – Act I, Scene 3. I guess Shylock has a right to be fed up with how Antonio treats him. But asking for a pound of his flesh as collateral? What are you thinking?

From: The Merchant of Venice

Pro: Well, you can’t really blame him from wanting to kill Antonio for insulting and spitting on him. Loves his daughter Jessica and is genuinely upset when she runs off with Lorenzo and his money as well as exchanges her dead mom’s turquoise ring for a monkey. Can sometimes be insightful on human relations, especially in the realm of Christian hypocrisy. Other than trying to use law to get away with murder, he doesn’t do anything particularly bad…at least what you’d expect of anyone else in a Shakespeare play.

Con: Initially seen by many as a greedy materialistic Jewish stereotype due to his profession and his faith. And he can be at best stingy, selfish, and puritanical. Is rude and base in his interactions such as being abrupt with his daughter and mean to his servant. His home is a mess. Okay, he might love his daughter but he tends to have funny way of showing it such as locking her up and treating her with little kindness and affection. All the while, he tends to take her for granted as well as neither knows nor understands her. This is why Jessica runs away from him and tries to milk him for all his worth. While he’s certainly a victim of antisemitism, asking for a pound of some guy’s flesh isn’t a great way to deal with it. Oh, and having Antonio arrested and brought before court to claim a pound of his flesh will sure turn out well (sarcasm). Also, he should’ve just taken Portia’s offer and reject the claim.

Fate: Is forced to sign over his worldly goods to his ungrateful daughter who betrayed him and to convert to Christianity which makes him become a broken man who’s lost everything.

 

56. Antonio

"In sooth, I know not why I am so sad./It wearies me, you say it wearies you." - Act I, Scene 1. I think you're sad because your best friend wants to marry a rich heiress and you're worried about losing him. Still, that chair must be comfy.

“In sooth, I know not why I am so sad./It wearies me, you say it wearies you.” – Act I, Scene 1. I think you’re sad because your best friend wants to marry a rich heiress and you’re worried about losing him. Still, that chair must be comfy.

From: The Merchant of Venice

Pro: He’s very good friends with Bassanio and is willing to do anything for him. He’s kind, generous, honest, confident, as well as loved and revered by all the Christians who know him (Jews not so much).

Con: Is an unapologetic Anti-Semite who treats Shylock like shit that the Jewish moneylender wants him dead. He even gives interest-free loans to his Christian friends in order to undermine Shylock’s business. Might possibly be in love with Bassanio but he’s straight (according to some interpretations. However, Jeremy Irons said he sees Bassanio as a surrogate son). Pressures Bassanio to give away Portia’s ring even after he’s off the hook. Actually, he might play the “self-sacrificing friend” card a little too thick possibly to guilt trip Bassanio into leaving Portia and Belmot. Tends to be depressed a lot, mostly due to Bassanio’s relationship with Portia.

Fate: Well, he lives but he can’t spend as much time with Bassanio as he used to since he’s married now.

 

57. Ariel

"You fools! I and my fellows/Are ministers of Fate; the elements,/Of whom your swords are temper'd may as well/Wound the loud winds, or with bemock'd-at stabs/Kill the still-closing waters, as diminish/One dowle that's in my plume." - Act III, Scene 3. As for Ariel's gender, it's usually according to who the casting director decides for the role. But is usually referred as a guy.

“You fools! I and my fellows/Are ministers of Fate; the elements,/Of whom your swords are temper’d may as well/Wound the loud winds, or with bemock’d-at stabs/Kill the still-closing waters, as diminish/One dowle that’s in my plume.” – Act III, Scene 3. As for Ariel’s gender, it’s usually according to who the casting director decides for the role. But is usually referred as a guy.

From: The Tempest

Pro: Has a warm and loving relationship with Prospero whom he tricked into saving his life. Though he happily serves Prospero, he does want his freedom but knows he’ll have it someday. He’s capable of empathy and goodness that he’s willing to get Prospero to see the shipwrecked survivors and their pitiful state and talks him into forgiving his brother. Skilled in magic and speaks in beautiful verse. Stops a conspiracy to kill King Alonso as well as a Caliban’s plot to turn the sailors against Prospero and murder him.

Con: Though addressed as a guy, can be mistaken for a girl (then again, we’re not sure what he is).

Fate: Is freed by Prospero just as promised.

 

58. Miranda

"There’s nothing ill can dwell in such a temple:/If the ill spirit have so fair a house,/Good things will strive to dwell with ’t." - Act I, Scene 2. Seems like she knows about the shipwreck already. But at least her dad's planning to set her up with a good looking prince from Naples.

“There’s nothing ill can dwell in such a temple:/If the ill spirit have so fair a house,/Good things will strive to dwell with ’t.” – Act I, Scene 2. Seems like she knows about the shipwreck already. But at least her dad’s planning to set her up with a good looking prince from Naples.

From: The Tempest

Pro: Well, she knows how to read and is a very nice girl who cries for the storm victims before calming down when her dad assured her that nobody was hurt. Once she’s in love with Ferdinand, she’s willing to do what she wants even if it means getting into trouble with her dad.

Con: Since she has been on the island for almost her whole life, she has no real life experience to speak of. Falls in love with the first good looking guy she meets (though this is understandable). Has no idea Prospero is using her for a pawn.

Fate: Ends up with Prince Ferdinand and goes to Naples.

 

59. Ophelia

"O, woe is me/To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!" - Act III, Scene 1. Too bad she gets worse from there. Still, she does look lovely floating in the river.

“O, woe is me/To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!” – Act III, Scene 1. Too bad she gets worse from there. Still, she does look lovely floating in the river.

From: Hamlet

Pro: She’s pretty, sweet, and gentle. She does nothing wrong to him but we’re not sure whether she loves him (probably). She tries to get along with her dad and brother. Calls out Polonius for wanting her to be chaste while saying nothing about rumors pertaining to Laertes frequenting brothels. Knows more than she seems to.

Con: Well, she’s kind of a pushover with no agency and is mostly defined by her relationships with Polonius, Laertes, and Hamlet. For one, her dad uses her to spy on Hamlet. Second, she puts up with Hamlet verbally abusing her which leads her getting crushed. Always defined by the men in her life by her sexuality (including by her dad and brother) and lets herself be treated like shit. As a result, she goes mad, sings a bawdy song about a woman who’s tricked into giving her virginity on a false marriage proposal, and drowns herself.

Fate: Found dead in a river. Said to be an “accident” most likely suicide. Some say that Gertrude had her killed because she knew too much.

 

60. Iachimo

"'Tis her breathing that/Perfumes the chamber thus." - Act II, Scene 2. I'm sure he'd get arrested these days had Imogen installed some kind of security system.

“‘Tis her breathing that/Perfumes the chamber thus.” – Act II, Scene 2. I’m sure he’d get arrested these days had Imogen installed some kind of security system.

From: Cymbeline

Pro: He’s cunning, clever, and a force to be reckoned with. At least apologizes and confesses to what he’s done in the end even though his actions get no one killed.

Con: He’s a slimy and sociopathic con artist who exploits Posthumus’s fear of Imogen cheating on him for all its worth. Also has fun being evil and making bets that ruin people’s lives. And if loses a bet, then he’ll cheat to win. For instance, he makes a bet to Posthumus that he could seduce Imogen. Except he can’t because she flat-out refuses him. So he just breaks into her bedroom, takes a peak under her nightgown, steals her bracelet, and commits an eye full of things that should be private. Back in Italy, he hands Posthumus the bracelet and provides details on Imogen’s room and her naked body. This makes Posthumus ask Pisanio to kill her (luckily he doesn’t comply and convinces her to fake her death and go after him in drag).

Fate: He gets forgiven but if it weren’t for Pisanio, he would’ve caused much more harm.

Great Figures in Shakespeare: Part 3 – Queen Tamora to Cleopatra

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On one hand, Antony wants to remain in Egypt and spend more time with Cleopatra. On the other hand, he feels like he’s neglecting his duties as a leader in Rome or as Octavius Caesar thinks. What’s a man like him going to do? But it’s sure not going to end well.

In my last post, I put a couple of pictures of Tom Hiddleston as Henry V and Coriolanus. You probably know him better as Loki. However, if you google a Shakespearean play, you tend to get pictures of production stills, some of whom might contain well known celebrities. Kenneth Branaugh is another big celebrity in Shakespeare since he brought the Bard to the screen for a new generation. He also directed Thor and played Gilderoy Lockhart but that’s another story. And before him was Sir Laurence Olivier. Nevertheless, you might not know that there’s a version of Julius Caesar that stars Marlon Brando as Mark Antony as well as James Mason as Brutus. Oh, and don’t forget all the big names who portrayed Hamlet. In this selection, I’ll introduce you to Shakespearean characters like Queen Tamora from Titus Andronicus, Petruchio, Katarina, and Bianca from Taming of the Shrew, Duke Orsino and Olivia from Twelfth Night, Celia and Orlando from As You Like It, Marcus and Portia Brutus from Julius Caesar, Prince Ferdinand from The Tempest, Paulina from The Winter’s Tale, Friar Lawrence from Romeo and Juliet, and Mark Antony and Cleopatra.

 

31. Queen Tamora

"I'll find a day to massacre them all,/And raze their faction and their family,/The cruel father and his traitorous sons,/To whom I sued for my dear son's life;/And make them know, what 't is to let a queen/Kneel in the streets and beg for grace in vain. —/Come, come, sweet Emperor. — Come, Andronicus. —/Take up this good old man, and cheer the heart/That dies in tempest of thy angry frown." - Act I, Scene 1. Uh, I don't think Titus thought the whole sacrificing her oldest son and parading her in the streets of Rome thing through. It gets worse from here because she's really nasty.

“I’ll find a day to massacre them all,/And raze their faction and their family,/The cruel father and his traitorous sons,/To whom I sued for my dear son’s life;/And make them know, what ‘t is to let a queen/Kneel in the streets and beg for grace in vain. —/Come, come, sweet Emperor. — Come, Andronicus. —/Take up this good old man, and cheer the heart/That dies in tempest of thy angry frown.” – Act I, Scene 1. Uh, I don’t think Titus thought the whole sacrificing her oldest son and parading her in the streets of Rome thing through. It gets worse from here because she’s really nasty.

From: Titus Andronicus

Pro: She’s beautiful and is no fool. Loves her family and pleads Titus to save her oldest son’s life. Besides, you can’t really blame her for wanting revenge against Titus for sacrificing her oldest son and being forced to parade the Roman streets like an animal.

Con: Is willing to do anything to get the power she needs to destroy Titus. Though she marries Emperor Saturinus, she’s still fooling around with Aaron the Moor (though to be fair, they were involved before the guy showed up). Has Bassainus murdered and two of Titus’s sons framed. Encourages her remaining two sons to rape and horrifically mutilate Lavinia. Was willing to murder her and Aaron’s mixed race child because of skin color.

Fate: Is killed by Titus Andronicus.

 

32. Petruchio

"Thus in plain terms: your father hath consented/That you shall be my wife, your dowry 'greed on,/And, will you, nill you, I will marry you." - Act II, Scene 1. Sorry, Kate, but I'm afraid you'll have to marry this guy so expect a honeymoon filled with psychological torture and domestic abuse. But at least he won't be like your dad and your sister who both think you're good for nothing that they're willing to set you off with the first guy who expresses interest.

“Thus in plain terms: your father hath consented/That you shall be my wife, your dowry ‘greed on,/And, will you, nill you, I will marry you.” – Act II, Scene 1. Sorry, Kate, but I’m afraid you’ll have to marry this guy so expect a honeymoon filled with psychological torture and domestic abuse. But at least he won’t be like your dad and your sister who both think you’re good for nothing that they’re willing to set you off with the first guy who expresses interest.

From: Taming of the Shrew

Pro: Well, you have to admire him for being unabashedly honest that he’s not looking for a perfect princess to marry him. As long as she has a large bank account, he’s happy. Is intelligent and quite witty. Has a thing for strong, saucy women as well as a rapier wit to match who can challenge him, spar with him, and excite him intellectually. Actually appreciates Kate’s temper and acid tongue as long as it’s not directed at him. Still, despite being an absolute jerk, he’s not as bad a guy as her dad. After all, he at least takes time to teach her social skills in order to adapt to her rightful place as well as give her much needed attention and affection. Sure this might sound sexist, but she didn’t have much of a real choice to marry the guy but at least his “training” helps her cope with a less than ideal situation (at least in public). Thus, no matter how much of a jerk he is, he at least has some love for her, tries to get to know her better as a person, and wants their relationship to succeed (at least on his terms). Besides, it would’ve been far simpler to treat her poorly like her dad does. Also, by the end, he eventually comes to trust her unlike some of the other men in this play.

Con: Let’s not kid ourselves, the man is a completely selfish jerk and male chauvinist pig. Sure he may be willing to marry Kate, but he agreed to marry her before he’s even met her mostly because her daddy’s rich, has a reputation for being a shrew, and that no other guy wants her. He also sees himself as the ultimate shrew taming champion that he even tutors other men on how to get their wives in line. Though he’s perfectly fine with saucy women, he always feels that he has to wear the pants in the relationship. Oh, and he tries to tame Kate throughout their honeymoon with some tried and true torture techniques like starvation, sleep deprivation, psychological manipulation, and good old fashioned humiliation so she could behave the way he wants. He also likes to revel in his power over Kate. However, at least it’s left open the possibility that anyone who tries to follow his advice and behavior is a total idiot.

Fate: Married to Kate and wins a bet. However, it’s unknown whether he’s trained her to be an obedient wife or to pretend to be one. Either way, he gets a nice generous dowry from her dad.

 

33. Katarina

"He'll woo a thousand, 'point the day of marriage,/Make feasts, invite friends, and proclaim the banns,/Yet never means to wed where he hath wooed./Now must the world point at poor Katharine/And say, 'Lo, there is mad Petruchio's wife,/If it would please him come and marry her.'" -Act II, Scene 2. Well, despite having a honeymoon filled with domestic abuse and psychological torture, being Petruchio's wife can't be as bad as being Baptista's daughter. After all, Baptista basically neglects Kate, sees her as a shrew, and gets rid of her at the first opportunity. Poor girl.

“He’ll woo a thousand, ‘point the day of marriage,/Make feasts, invite friends, and proclaim the banns,/Yet never means to wed where he hath wooed./Now must the world point at poor Katharine/And say, ‘Lo, there is mad Petruchio’s wife,/If it would please him come and marry her.'” -Act II, Scene 2. Well, despite having a honeymoon filled with domestic abuse and psychological torture, being Petruchio’s wife can’t be as bad as being Baptista’s daughter. After all, Baptista basically neglects Kate, sees her as a shrew, doesn’t listen to her, doesn’t pay any attention to her, and gets rid of her at the first opportunity. Poor girl.

From: Taming of the Shrew

Pro: Has an incredible wit and intelligence as well as a mind of her own. Shreds men to bits with her razor sharp tongue. Not to mention, you can’t blame her behavior when her dad tries to marry her off and when Hortensio claims she’ll never land a guy because everyone hates her. Refuses to shut up while enduring pain and suffering. Still, she probably does care about Petruchio and isn’t really as bad of a person despite being a “shrew.” Well, wants she grows up and learns how to handle things like an adult.

Con: Starts out as very immature. Has a hot temper as well as slaps people around when they make her mad. Yells at her dad in public as well as throws tantrums and claims her dad doesn’t love her. Ties up and beats up her sister. Oh, and brakes a lute over Hortensio as well as threatens him with a chair. Insults everyone she meets. This kind of gives her a reputation for being a shrew that even her dad thinks she’s just inherently obnoxious and nasty and wants to marry her off as soon as he can. But she’s more likely acting out because she’s jealous of Bianca and how her dad likes her better, feels that she’s undesirable, is afraid that she’ll never win a husband, hates how men treat her, and perhaps feels out of place in her society.

Fate: Married to Petruchio and helps him win a bet with an over the top speech on why wives should obey their husbands. Then again, it’s probably an act to ensure a kind of domestic tranquility.

 

34. Bianca

"Good sister, wrong me not, nor wrong yourself, To make a bondmaid and a slave of me. That I disdain. But for these other goods— Unbind my hands, I'll pull them off myself" - Act II, Scene 1. Sure she may a perfect angel but she's not what she seems. In fact, she's quite passive-aggressive and pretends to be a goody two-shoes.

“Good sister, wrong me not, nor wrong yourself,/To make a bondmaid and a slave of me./That I disdain. But for these other goods—/Unbind my hands, I’ll pull them off myself” – Act II, Scene 1. Sure she may a perfect angel but she’s not what she seems. In fact, she’s quite passive-aggressive and pretends to be a goody two-shoes.

From: Taming of the Shrew

Pro: She’s basically daddy’s little princess since she seems chaste, obedient, and quiet. She also has a lot of guys going after her since she’s pretty and rich. Either that or she does a very good job of faking it. But is still single because older sister Kate must be married first. Defies her dad trying to treat her like a commodity to be traded for profit by eloping with Lucentio.

Con: In reality, she only pretends to be a goody two shoes as well as deceptive, disobedient, and fully capable of talking dirty with the guys. She’s also passive-aggressive toward her sister in which she taunts Kate for being an old maid with no marriage prospects, landing her in some hot water with their dad. Has no meaningful relationship with her sister or with any woman in that matter.

Fate: Married to Lucentio but thanks to her he loses his street cred and a whole chunk of change.

 

35. Celia

"O, wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful! and yet again wonderful, and after that, out of all whooping." - Act III, Scene 2. I'm sure she's not very happy here mostly because she thinks Rosalind is acting foolishly toward Orlando.

“O, wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful! and yet again wonderful, and after that, out of all whooping.” – Act III, Scene 2. I’m sure she’s not very happy here mostly because she thinks Rosalind is acting foolishly toward Orlando.

From: As You Like It

Pro: Willing to defy her dad Duke Frederick to run away with Rosalind to the Forest of Arden. More laid back, worldly, and prudent than Rosalind.

Con: Tends to have an unchanging skepticism about Rosalind’s love for Orlando and spends the play becoming increasingly disenchanted with her antics. It’s possible that she kind of resents Rosalind’s attention to Orlando as well as the foolishness of love. Then she falls for and marries a guy she just met and possibly loses herself in him. Luckily, this guy reciprocates and happens to be a man who really needs a girlfriend.

Fate: Marries Oliver in a wedding ceremony with Orlando and Rosalind, Touchstone and Audrey, and Silvanus and Phebe.

 

36. Paulina

"The silence often of pure innocence/Persuades, when speaking fails." Act II, Scene 2. To make matters worse her husband exits, pursued by a bear. Still, she does make things better by the end. Except Mammilius is still dead.

“The silence often of pure innocence/Persuades, when speaking fails.” Act II, Scene 2. To make matters worse her husband exits, pursued by a bear. Still, she does make things better by the end. Except Mammilius is still dead.

From: The Winter’s Tale

Pro: She’s tough as nails and takes no prisoners as well as calls it like it is. Is such a badass that she’s the only one to call out King Leontes as a spoiled brat and being totally unfair to his perfect wife Hermione. She doesn’t care if the king can kill her for this as well as tells him to quit his irrational and unfounded jealousy. Calls him a tyrant in front of him and all her courtiers because she’s Hermione’s friend. Also helps Leontes piece his life together after Mammilius and Hermione die while Perdita is abandoned in the woods. Calls most of the shots in the end.

Con: Calling out the king is a really stupid thing to do which can get you killed. Luckily, Leontes isn’t as much of a corrupt despot as he seems. Also, she didn’t take the time to bring Mammilius to life. Not to mention, she didn’t save her own husband from exiting pursued by a bear.

Fate: Marries Camillio as a reward from the king.

 

37. Countess Olivia

"Thy tongue, thy face, thy limbs, actions and spirit/Do give thee five-fold blazon. Not too fast!/Soft, soft!/Unless the master were the man. How now?/Even so quickly may one catch the plague?" - Act I, Scene 5. Sure she may be crazy about "Caesario." But she's, I mean he's really not what he seems. Like the fact he's really a she.

“Thy tongue, thy face, thy limbs, actions and spirit/Do give thee five-fold blazon. Not too fast!/Soft, soft!/Unless the master were the man. How now?/Even so quickly may one catch the plague?” – Act I, Scene 5. Sure she may be crazy about “Caesario.” But she’s, I mean he’s really not what he seems. Like the fact he’s really a she.

From: Twelfth Night

Pro: Well, she’s an intelligent woman with a number of good qualities. She knows how to handle her uncle Sir Toby Belch and feels compassion for her steward Malvolio when he makes an ass out of himself. She’s also charming and pretty that she could have almost any guy she desires.

Con: For one, she starts off this play depressed since she’s grieving over her dad and her brother. And for awhile, she refuses to allow any male company or hire anyone. Second, when “Cesario” gets her out of her shell, she basically ends up falling in love with the last person she should. Not just because “Cesario” isn’t interested in her but that “Cesario” is a girl. Oh, and she has Feste and Maria watch over her embarrassing uncle. That’s going to work out well (sarcasm).

Fate: Ends up marrying Viola’s brother Sebastian. Sure they met on short notice. But I see this relationship having a better chance of working out for obvious reasons (because Sebastian is a guy who’s actually interested in her as well as bears some resemblance to “Cesario.”).

 

38. Duke Orsino

"If music be the food of love, play on;/Give me excess of it; that, surfeiting,/The appetite may sicken, and so die. —/That strain again; it had a dying fall:/O, it came oer my ear, like the sweet sound/That breathes upon a bank of violets,/Stealing, and giving odour! Enough! No more./'Tis not so sweet now as it was before." - Act I, Scene 1. Oh, why can't he just give up on Olivia and see a therapist? Guy doesn't know a good thing when he sees it.

“If music be the food of love, play on;/Give me excess of it; that, surfeiting,/The appetite may sicken, and so die. —/That strain again; it had a dying fall:/O, it came oer my ear, like the sweet sound/That breathes upon a bank of violets,/Stealing, and giving odour! Enough! No more./’Tis not so sweet now as it was before.” – Act I, Scene 1. Oh, why can’t he just give up on Olivia and see a therapist? Guy doesn’t know a good thing when he sees it.

From: Twelfth Night

Pro: Well, even by Olivia he’s seen as a perfect gentleman who’s handsome, brave, courtly virtuous, noble, wealthy, gracious, loyal, and devoted. In short, he’s everything a lady could wish for in a husband which explains why Viola falls hard for him and willing to do anything to make him happy. He’s also open to the possibility that “Cesario” may be a girl.

Con: Let’s just pining for Lady Olivia makes him incredibly pathetic. Sure he may like her for her beauty and doesn’t care about her wealth. Yet, he’s a passionate man who’s more in love with the idea of love. But still, he feels that he’ll perish if she doesn’t agree to marry him. And it doesn’t help him that Olivia keeps rejecting him and he doesn’t take a hint. Not only that, but he’s also willing to woo her at a really bad time in her life and by sending someone else to do it for him. We know how that worked out. Also has a changeable nature and easily gets bored. Has a penchant for sexism, too. Not to mention, he might be entirely oblivious to his own feelings (then again, that’s understandable in his case).

Fate: Ends up marrying Viola once he realizes that Lady Olivia isn’t interested in him and that he might be attracted to “Cesario.” And no, he doesn’t perish either.

 

39. Prince Ferdinand

"O heaven, O earth, bear witness to this sound/And crown what I profess with kind event/If I speak true; if hollowly, invert/What best is boded me to mischief. I,/Beyond all limit of what else i' th' world,/Do love, prize, honor you. " - Act III, Scene 1. Now everything is progressing according to Prospero's plan.

“O heaven, O earth, bear witness to this sound/And crown what I profess with kind event/If I speak true; if hollowly, invert/What best is boded me to mischief. I,/Beyond all limit of what else i’ th’ world,/Do love, prize, honor you. ” – Act III, Scene 1. Now everything is progressing according to Prospero’s plan.

From: The Tempest

Pro: He’s a decent and good looking guy with noble intentions for Prospero to set him up with his daughter Miranda. Despite being a prince, he takes lifting logs, spending days away from friends and family, as well as accusations of being a spy or traitor in stride. Not to mention, while he may love Miranda when he first meets her, he’s at least willing to deal with her dad who gives him a lot of crap and doesn’t seem to like him (initially).

Con: Falls for Miranda and wants to make her “Queen of Naples” before he even knows her name. Also, he becomes so wrapped up in her that he seems to forget about losing his dad and friends he thinks perished in the storm (though this could be a coping mechanism). Also, might promise Prospero to keep it in his pants under threat he’d make the heavens rain fire and brimstone on him if he doesn’t.

Fate: Ends up with Miranda and returns to Naples after being reunited with his dad.

 

40. Orlando

"Whate'er you are, That in this desert inaccessible,/Under the shade of melancholy boughs,/Lose and neglect the creeping hours of time;/If ever you have look’d on better days,/If ever been where bells have knoll’d to church,/If ever sat at any good man’s feast,/If ever from your eyelids wip'd a tear,/And know what 'tis to pity and be pitied -/Let gentleness my strong enforcement be." - Act II, Scene 7. Wait until he starts writing love poems to Rosalind which he puts on trees. Also, man, Sir Laurence Olivier is hot as Orlando in this.

“Whate’er you are,
That in this desert inaccessible,/Under the shade of melancholy boughs,/Lose and neglect the creeping hours of time;/If ever you have look’d on better days,/If ever been where bells have knoll’d to church,/If ever sat at any good man’s feast,/If ever from your eyelids wip’d a tear,/And know what ’tis to pity and be pitied -/Let gentleness my strong enforcement be.” – Act II, Scene 7. Wait until he starts writing love poems to Rosalind which he puts on trees. Also, man, Sir Laurence Olivier is hot as Orlando in this.

From: As You Like It

Pro: He’s brave, chivalrous, modest, smart, strong, handsome, and beloved by all. Wants to learn and go to school. Sticks up to his older brother Oliver who’s been treating him like shit since their old man died and wins a fight with a bigger guy at Duke Frederick’s court. Loves Rosalind and is willing to deal with her dad Duke Senior (whom he joins in the Forest of Arden). Is also easy going and likeable enough to handle her. Later saves his older brother Oliver from a snake and wild lion attack (don’t ask).

Con: It’s mainly because he’s such a great guy that Oliver throws him out of his house. Fills the Forest of Arden with sappy love poetry about Rosalind to the chagrins of Touchstone and Jacques. Sure his feelings are sincere but he’s really bad at writing poetry. Can get overdramatic and silly when it comes to love to a point that he feels a live without Rosalind isn’t worth living for (to the point where Rosalind has to snap him out of it as Ganymede). Also, can’t recognize a girl dressed in drag even if she’s in front of his face.

Fate: Marries Rosalind in a wedding ceremony with Oliver and Celia, Touchstone and Audrey, and Silvanus and Phebe.

 

41. Portia Catonis Brutus

"I grant I am a woman; but withal/A woman well-reputed, Cato's daughter./Think you I am no stronger than my sex,/Being so fathered and so husbanded?/Tell me your counsels; I will not disclose 'em./I have made strong proof of my constancy,/Giving myself a voluntary wound/Here, in the thigh. Can I bear that with patience./And not my husband's secrets?" - Act II, Scene 1. Uh, stabbing yourself in the thigh is a very stupid way to prove yourself to your husband. Don't try this at home. Seriously, don't.

“I grant I am a woman; but withal/A woman well-reputed, Cato’s daughter./Think you I am no stronger than my sex,/Being so fathered and so husbanded?/Tell me your counsels; I will not disclose ’em./I have made strong proof of my constancy,/Giving myself a voluntary wound/Here, in the thigh. Can I bear that with patience./And not my husband’s secrets?” – Act II, Scene 1. Uh, stabbing yourself in the thigh is a very stupid way to prove yourself to your husband. Don’t try this at home. Seriously, don’t.

From: Julius Caesar

Pro: Devoted to Brutus but stands up to him for being excluded since she wants him to confide to her. Wants to be close to him. Stabs herself in the thigh without flinching.

Con: Disses other women as if they’re weaker than men (including herself) but thinks she’s stronger than the average girl. Stabs herself in the thigh as a demand for her husband to treat her with more respect. Later kills herself by swallowing hot coals.

Fate: Commits suicide off-stage.

 

42. Friar Lawrence

"Holy Saint Francis, what a change is here!/Is Rosaline, whom thou didst love so dear,/So soon forsaken? Young men's love then lies/Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes." - Act II, Scene 3. Well, he may chide Romeo. But he still marries a couple of teenagers who end up killing themselves.

“Holy Saint Francis, what a change is here!/Is Rosaline, whom thou didst love so dear,/So soon forsaken? Young men’s love then lies/Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.” – Act II, Scene 3. Well, he may chide Romeo. But he still marries a couple of teenagers who end up killing themselves.

From: Romeo and Juliet

Pro: He’s a wise adviser who calls out Romeo for falling for a girl a day ago while completely forgetting about Rosaline. And he calls out Romeo for his excessive moping and tells him to do something about it. He’s also tired of the family feuding and is willing to bring Romeo and Juliet together if it leads to peace.

Con: Unfortunately, marrying Romeo and Juliet might’ve brought the Montagues and the Capulets together, but not in the way he intended. Also, because there was a plague, he wasn’t able to send a message to Romeo saying that Juliet wasn’t dead.

Fate: Hopefully seeking a way to confess the implications of his actions after presiding over the funeral.

 

43. Marcus Brutus

"There is a tide in the affairs of men/Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;/Omitted, all the voyage of their life/Is bound in shallows and in miseries./On such a full sea are we now afloat;/And we must take the current when it serves/Or lose our ventures." -Act IV, Scene 3. Love to hear those words from the velvety voice of James Mason. The Booth brothers were also in Julius Caesar, but ironically Edwin and Junius played political assassins while John Wilkes portrayed Mark Antony.

“There is a tide in the affairs of men/Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;/Omitted, all the voyage of their life/Is bound in shallows and in miseries./On such a full sea are we now afloat;/And we must take the current when it serves/Or lose our ventures.” -Act IV, Scene 3. Love to hear those words from the velvety voice of James Mason. The Booth brothers were also in Julius Caesar, but ironically Edwin and Junius played political assassins while John Wilkes portrayed Mark Antony.

From: Julius Caesar

Pro: Has a conscience. Betrays Caesar out of love for the Roman Republic and thinks the guy is getting to become a tyrant in all but name. Said it was hard for him to kill Caesar but he did it out of patriotism while the rest of the conspirators wanted personal gain.

Con: Stabs his friend Julius Caesar in the back both figuratively and literally. This leads to years of chaos and civil war in Rome. Is easily taken in by Cassius’s manipulation and basically serves as his lapdog. Also, he shouldn’t have let Mark Antony make a eulogy at Caesar’s funeral because it causes a riot and made him one of the most hated men in Rome. Oh, and Cassius wants him to be leader so he could control him.

Fate: Commits suicide after losing a battle in Philippi.

 

44. Mark Antony

"O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,/That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!/Thou art the ruins of the noblest man/That ever lived in the tide of times./Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!" - Act III, Scene 1 in Julius Caesar. Seems like Antony is really getting nasty here. And I'm sure he doesn't think that "Brutus is an honorable man." Soon he'll let slip the "dogs of war."

“O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,/That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!/Thou art the ruins of the noblest man/That ever lived in the tide of times./Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!” – Act III, Scene 1 in Julius Caesar. Seems like Antony is really getting nasty here. And I’m sure he doesn’t think that “Brutus is an honorable man.” Soon he’ll let slip the “dogs of war.”

From: Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra

Pro: His persuasive public speaking skills launches action which makes him a terrific politician. Successfully convinces the conspirators to speak. Delivers a carefully crafted eulogy designed to turn the people against the conspirators and it works. Is also a noble, brave, and formidable soldier who bested Brutus and Cassius at Philippi. Has an interesting relationship with Cleopatra and admits he’s held captive by her powerful spell. Acts graciously and nobly in his political affairs. Greets Pompey with love and honesty and doesn’t blame Enobarbus for treachery against him (just faults himself). Also, bids his men to leave him when he’s doomed to fail and thanks them for their service. If that’s not a benevolent leadership, not sure what is.

Con: While he claims to be Caesar’s friend, he usually tends to kiss his ass a lot. Also is about as power hungry as anyone in Rome. Oh, and after he really gets nasty in his eulogy at Caesar’s funeral, all hell breaks loose in Rome as civil war ensues as he intended. However, once he’s in Egypt he tends to revel in debauchery and good times. Has extreme mood swings that he sometimes hates Cleopatra before he loves her again. Oh, and he spent some time away from Cleopatra in Rome with another woman named Octavia whom he later dumped before returning to Egypt (which probably means that he really loved Cleopatra for he went back for her, well, at least in the play). Octavius didn’t take his sister being ditched very well at all.

Fate: Commits suicide because he wants to be remembered as his own conqueror.

 

45. Cleopatra

"Courteous lord, one word./Sir, you and I must part, but that's not it;/Sir, you and I have loved, but there's not it;/That you know well./Something it is I would— O, my oblivion is a very Antony,/And I am all forgotten." - Act I, Scene 3. Seems like Cleo and Antony have a lot of sexual tension going on. But she can be quite passionate lover being in her 30s while Antony was in his 40s and early 50s.

“Courteous lord, one word./Sir, you and I must part, but that’s not it;/Sir, you and I have loved, but there’s not it;/That you know well./Something it is I would— O, my oblivion is a very Antony,/And I am all forgotten.” – Act I, Scene 3. Seems like Cleo and Antony have a lot of sexual tension going on. But she can be quite passionate lover being in her 30s while Antony was in his 40s and early 50s.

From: Antony and Cleopatra

Pro: In love, she can be fierce, amorous, and quick to be loving. Passionate about her lovers, especially Antony. Willing to say that Antony conquered her rather than wooed her (except when she betrays him). As a woman in power, she’s a magnificent bitch. To her sex isn’t a submission but is a testament of her own glory.

Con: She’s also quick to anger as well as fickle in her affections. Blames her femininity for her downfalls. Oh, and she sometimes betrays Antony, occasionally when he needs her the most like in important battles.

Fate: Commits suicide. But whether she does it because she can’t bear to live without Antony or doesn’t want to be a token of Caesar’s power is the question.