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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.