Great Figures in Shakespeare: Part 9 – Oliver to King Duncan

Valentine_rescuing_Silvia

I’m sure this love entanglement will sort itself out. So here’s the deal. Valentine and Proteus are best friends and both like Silvia. But Julia likes Proteus so she goes after him. And Silvia prefers Valentine over Proteus and he’s not happy about that. Yeah, it’s that kind of story.

Now we’re approaching this penultimate post. You might notice that a lot of Shakespeare’s plays tend to contain some supernatural elements like ghosts, witches, wizards, and fairies. However, while belief in the supernatural is apparent in the Elizabethan era, sometimes its existence in Shakespeare’s plays isn’t as clear. For instance, the ghost of King Hamlet is subject to much debate as to whether it really is a ghost or an extent of Hamlet’s imagination. On one hand, the ghost asks Hamlet to take revenge against his uncle who killed him which turns out to be true by the way. On the other hand, Horatio can see it, too, and his dad told him to leave his mother alone which Hamlet did not. Then there are the witches in Macbeth whose predictions seem to almost always come true but whether they’re fiddling in human affairs or agents of fate is the question. Anyway, in this penultimate selection, I bring you more great Shakespearean figures such as Oliver from As You Like It, Proteus, Valentine, Julia, and Silvia from Two Gentlemen of Verona, Prince Escalus and Count Paris from Romeo and Juliet, Pisanio from Cymbeline, Sir Andrew Aguecheek and Maria from Twelfth Night, Jack Cade, King Alonso and Gonzalo from The Tempest, Brabantio from Othello, and King Duncan from Macbeth.

 

121. Oliver

"Now will I stir this gamester: I hope I shall see an end of him: for my soul, yet I know not why, hates nothing more than he. Yet he's gentle; never schooled and yet learned; full of noble device; of all sorts enchantingly beloved; and, indeed, so much in the heart of the world, and especially of my own people, who best know him, that I am altogether misprised: but it shall not be so long; this wrestler shall clear all: nothing remains but that I kindle the boy thither, which now I'll go about." - Act I, Scene 1. Basically he's saying, "My little brother is such a great guy. I hate him and wish he was dead."

“Now will I stir this gamester: I hope I shall see an end of him: for my soul, yet I know not why, hates nothing more than he. Yet he’s gentle; never schooled and yet learned; full of noble device; of all sorts enchantingly beloved; and, indeed, so much in the heart of the world, and especially of my own people, who best know him, that I am altogether misprised: but it shall not be so long; this wrestler shall clear all: nothing remains but that I kindle the boy thither, which now I’ll go about.” – Act I, Scene 1. Basically he’s saying, “My little brother is such a great guy. I hate him and wish he was dead.”

From: As You Like It

Pro: Well, he at least shapes up once he falls for Celia and is saved by Orlando from a snake and wild lion attack (don’t ask).

Con: Treats his little brother Orlando like he treats his servants in which he refuses to give him his rightful inheritance or pay for his schooling. Tries to have Orlando killed by a wrestler at court. Basically hates Orlando because his kid brother seems inherently good which makes him seem mean-spirited and hateful for no good reason.

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

 

122. Proteus

"The best way is, to slander Valentine/With falsehood, cowardice, and poor descent;/Three things that women highly hold in hate." - Act III, Scene 2. Sorry, Proteus, but I don't think Silvia is going to buy that. Because she's not that into you.

“The best way is, to slander Valentine/With falsehood, cowardice, and poor descent;/Three things that women highly hold in hate.” – Act III, Scene 2. Sorry, Proteus, but I don’t think Silvia is going to buy that. Because she’s not that into you.

From: Two Gentlemen of Verona

Pro: Well, at least he ends up falling for his old girlfriend Julia in the end which makes Valentine and Silvia happy. Might be capable of self-revelation and change.

Con: He’s erratic and changeable that he falls in and out of love as often as some people change their clothes. Has no trouble being two-faced as he betrays his best friend and lies to just about everyone he knows. Stabs Valentine in the back when he tries to rape Silvia.

Fate: Marries Julia but his transformation his skeptical at best.

 

123. Valentine

"She is mine own,/And I as rich in having such a jewel/As twenty seas, if all their sand were pearl,/The water nectar, and the rocks pure gold." - Act II, Scene 4. Valentine better watch it making out with Silvia behind the Duke's back. Because the Duke might end up banishing him for it.

“She is mine own,/And I as rich in having such a jewel/As twenty seas, if all their sand were pearl,/The water nectar, and the rocks pure gold.” – Act II, Scene 4. Valentine better watch it making out with Silvia behind the Duke’s back. Because the Duke might end up banishing him for it.

From: Two Gentlemen of Verona

Pro: He’s loyal to Proteus to a fault and loves Silvia that he’ll risk his neck to be with her.

Con: Doesn’t know his best friend Proteus as well as he thinks he does. Also, Silvia wouldn’t like it if he gave her up to Proteus because she doesn’t want him. Oh, and he kind of let Proteus off easy for trying to rape his girlfriend. Has a cynical idea toward love. Places Silvia on a pedestal when she treats him like a servant.

Fate: Marries Silvia but in some ways, it’s “bros before hos” for him.

 

124. Silvia

"A fine volley of words, gentlemen, and quickly shot off." - Act II, Scene 4. Wonder if she's being sarcastic saying this. Wouldn't be surprised.

“A fine volley of words, gentlemen, and quickly shot off.” – Act II, Scene 4. Wonder if she’s being sarcastic saying this. Wouldn’t be surprised.

From: Two Gentlemen of Verona

Pro: Loves Valentine that she rebels against her dad and plans to elope with him as well as runs away to the forest to see him after he’s banished. Is bold, kind, and incredibly loyal as well as the only voice of morality and fidelity. Refuses to accept Proteus’s ring because she doesn’t want to hurt Julia’s feelings.

Con: Unfortunately, she falls for a guy who puts “bros before hos” that he’s willing to give her to Proteus after he tries to rape her.

Fate: Marries Valentine, but he’s still putting Proteus before her.

 

125. Julia

"Fie, fie! how wayward is this foolish love,/That, like a testy babe, will scratch the nurse,/And presently, all humbled, kiss the rod!" - Act I, Scene 2. Still, it doesn't stop her from going after Proteus in drag.

“Fie, fie! how wayward is this foolish love,/That, like a testy babe, will scratch the nurse,/And presently, all humbled, kiss the rod!” – Act I, Scene 2. Still, it doesn’t stop her from going after Proteus in drag.

From: Two Gentlemen of Verona

Pro: Loves Proteus so much that she’s willing to follow him to Milan dressed as a boy whose willing to give a ring to Julia. Very beautiful woman with suitors galore in Verona. She’s also clever enough to get a job as Proteus’s pageboy. Helps repair Proteus and Valentine’s friendship by befriending Silvia and talking about herself.

Con: Is initially fickle in her affections to Proteus when she tries to conceal her feelings for him and play hard to get. Unfortunately, Proteus is a turd who shifts affections to his best friend’s girl once he’s in Milan. Oh, and I’m sure she could do better than him.

Fate: Marries Proteus. Still, she doesn’t deserve the guy.

 

126. Maria

"That quaffing and drinking will undo you: I heard my lady talk of it yesterday; and of a foolish knight that you brought in one night here to be her wooer." - Act I, Scene 3. Well, she has a point about drinking since it doesn't help one's liver.

“That quaffing and drinking will undo you: I heard my lady talk of it yesterday; and of a foolish knight that you brought in one night here to be her wooer.” – Act I, Scene 3. Well, she has a point about drinking since it doesn’t help one’s liver.

From: Twelfth Night

Pro: Well, she’s smart, witty, and very loyal to Olivia. She also likes to have a very good time. Also, she and Sir Toby Belch seem to have a healthier relationship than some Shakespearean couples since they know each other and have a similar sense of humor. And it seems that they love each other for themselves for Toby doesn’t care about her dowry nor does she care about his money either. Not to mention, she can certainly deal with his flaws as well.

Con: She has a vindictive streak and sets out to humiliate Malvolio after getting fed up with his criticisms of her. Devising an intricate prank that included forging a letter that leads him to make an ass of himself was kind of low.

Fate: Marries Sir Toby Belch and might be cast out by Olivia for being complicit in prank on Malvolio.

 

127. Gonzalo

"All things in common nature should produce/Without sweat or endeavor; treason, felony,/Sword, pike, knife, gun, or need of any engine/Would I not have; but nature should bring forth/Of its own kind, all foison, all abundance,/To feed my innocent people." - Act II, Scene 1. Basically, he's saying if he ruled the island, he'd just leave things as they are. Unfortunately, colonialism doesn't work that way.

“All things in common nature should produce/Without sweat or endeavor; treason, felony,/Sword, pike, knife, gun, or need of any engine/Would I not have; but nature should bring forth/Of its own kind, all foison, all abundance,/To feed my innocent people.” – Act II, Scene 1. Basically, he’s saying if he ruled the island, he’d just leave things as they are. Unfortunately, colonialism doesn’t work that way.

From: The Tempest

Pro: He’s the guy who provided Prospero and Miranda with food, water, books, and other “stuffs and necessities” when they’re pushed out to sea. Also the only character in the play to see Caliban as more than just a demonic beast. Is honest with a good heart and an optimistic outlook which helps his situation. Tries to break up a nasty argument between sailors and royals.

Con: Despite being right about everything, nobody listens to him.

Fate: Leaves the island and returns to Naples.

 

128. Brabantio

"Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see:/She has deceived her father, and may thee." - Act I, Scene 3. Really? So you're saying that if your daughter could deceive you by marrying a Moor, she could also cheat on her husband. That's a terrible thing to say to a son-in-law, especially Othello.

“Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see:/She has deceived her father, and may thee.” – Act I, Scene 3. Really? So you’re saying that if your daughter could deceive you by marrying a Moor, she could also cheat on her husband. That’s a terrible thing to say to a son-in-law, especially Othello.

From: Othello

Pro: Is rich. He likes Othello enough to invite him into his house.

Con: However, he’s unsurprisingly not comfortable with Othello eloping with his daughter Desdemona mostly due to very stupid reasons like racism. That or seeing his daughter as his property and sees her marriage as a potential business transaction that can’t happen. Thinks his daughter marrying a black man as bad as her cheating on her husband. Accuses his new son-in-law of witchcraft as well as tries to have him stripped of his title. When he fails that, he disowns his daughter. Oh, and he tells Othello that if Desdemona can deceive her dad, she could deceive him.

Fate: Dies of grief over his daughter marrying Othello. Not that he will be missed.

 

129. King Alonso

"O, it is monstrous, monstrous!/Methought the billows spoke and told me of it;/The winds did sing it to me, and the thunder,/That deep and dreadful organ pipe, pronounced/The name of Prosper. It did bass my trespass./Therefore my son i' th' ooze is bedded, and/I'll seek him deeper than e'er plummet sounded,/And with him there lie mudded." - Act II, Scene 1. Seems like King Alonso is willing to face his treachery against Prospero even if it horrifies him. However, Prospero probably just wants to get home.

“O, it is monstrous, monstrous!/Methought the billows spoke and told me of it;/The winds did sing it to me, and the thunder,/That deep and dreadful organ pipe, pronounced/The name of Prosper. It did bass my trespass./Therefore my son i’ th’ ooze is bedded, and/I’ll seek him deeper than e’er plummet sounded,/And with him there lie mudded.” – Act II, Scene 1. Seems like King Alonso is willing to face his treachery against Prospero even if it horrifies him. However, Prospero probably just wants to get home.

From: The Tempest

Pro: Well, he’s a decent parent since Prince Ferdinand turned out all right somehow. Is genuinely sorrowful for what he did to Prospero and Miranda and returns the guy’s dukedom.

Con: Is completely self-involved, easily moved by passion, and can sometimes be a total jerk. Can be a horrible judge of character for his willingness to keep Antonio around (who tries to talk Sebastian into stabbing him in the back). Doesn’t really think too much of his actions until he’s called to account for them.

Fate: Is reunited with his son and returns to Naples.

 

130. Jack Cade

"Thou hast most traitorously corrupted the youth of the realm in erecting a grammar-school; and whereas, before, our forefathers had no other books but the score and the tally, thou hast caused printing to be used; and, contrary to the king, his crown, and dignity, thou hast built a paper-mill. It will be proved to thy face, that thou hast men about thee, that usually talk of a noun, and a verb; and such abominable words, as no Christian ear can endure to hear." - Act IV, Scene 7. Obviously, this guy has never heard of the concept public education. That would've been better to advocate.

“Thou hast most traitorously corrupted the youth of the realm in erecting a grammar-school; and whereas, before, our forefathers had no other books but the score and the tally, thou hast caused printing to be used; and, contrary to the king, his crown, and dignity, thou hast built a paper-mill. It will be proved to thy face, that thou hast men about thee, that usually talk of a noun, and a verb; and such abominable words, as no Christian ear can endure to hear.” – Act IV, Scene 7. Obviously, this guy has never heard of the concept public education. That would’ve been better to advocate.

From: Henry VI Part 2

Pro: Though he’s a commoner, it doesn’t stop him from trying to have a voice. Stages a rebellion against the monarchy in order to establish a commonwealth, or republic where everyone gets a say and some power. And since lower class people didn’t have a voice in the 15th century, he kind of has a point.

Con: Claims to be the dead John Mortimer and stages a rebellion in London which got Richard of York back from Ireland to take care of them and caused a lot of collateral damage. Is against education, literacy, and grammar that he sees as a way for the upper classes to gain power. Yet, the concept of public education doesn’t really occur to him. Has Lord Saye executed vigilante style. Has no idea that the commoners were easily swayed because he had the loudest voice. Is also one of York’s unwilling pawns.

Fate: Tries to flee but is killed by Iden.

 

131. Sir Andrew Aguecheek

"He does it with a better grace, but I do it more natural." - Act II, Scene 3. Like what make a complete ass out of yourself? Because Sir Toby Belch is hosing you and you have no chance with Olivia.

“He does it with a better grace, but I do it more natural.” – Act II, Scene 3. Like what make a complete ass out of yourself? Because Sir Toby Belch is hosing you and you have no chance with Olivia.

From: Twelfth Night

Pro: Uh, he’s rich and generous with this money.

Con: For one, his name sound like a disease. Second, he’s a stereotypical upper class twit who’s too stupid and vain to realize how little everyone thinks of him which might be a blessing. Third, he’s slowly having his money pilfered by Sir Toby Belch. Third, has a terrible fashion sense. Fourth, he has no idea that Toby is lying that he has a chance with Olivia just to steal his money. And he won’t leave Olivia alone despite that she’s neither thinks highly of him nor has any interest in him whatsoever. Not to mention, he’s stupid enough to challenge “Cesario” to a duel.

Fate: Well, he doesn’t get Olivia but it’s not like he had a chance with her anyway. He’s also deep into debt thanks to Sir Toby.

 

132. Pisanio

" No, on my life./I'll give but notice you are dead and send him/Some bloody sign of it; for 'tis commanded /I should do so: you shall be miss'd at court,/And that will well confirm it." - Act III, Scene 4. Thank God that Pisanio was around. Otherwise, this play would've been a tragedy like Othello.

” No, on my life./I’ll give but notice you are dead and send him/Some bloody sign of it; for ’tis commanded /I should do so: you shall be miss’d at court,/And that will well confirm it.” – Act III, Scene 4. Thank God that Pisanio was around. Otherwise, this play would’ve been a tragedy like Othello.

From: Cymbeline

Pro: He’s a loyal servant to Imogen and Posthumus and legitimately cares about them. Refuses to carry on with Posthumus’s hit on his wife because he knows she’s innocent and that he’d been played. Recognizes Imogen as Fidele when her husband and father do not. Understands the difference between what he’s told to do and what he should do. Sees through everyone’s deception and sees people as they are.

Con: As good of a servant he is, he’s not suited for being in the employ of an evil queen who wants her stepdaughter dead. He’s lucky to be alive under her. Also, he shouldn’t have given Imogen a knock out drug. Then again, it was from the Queen that was designed to kill her but he didn’t know that.

Fate: Remains in service to Imogen and Posthumus.

 

133. Count Paris

"The obsequies that I for thee will keep/Nightly shall be to strew thy grave and weep." - Act V, Scene 3. Sounds like something straight from a Hallmark card. Sure Paris is a good guy, but he's very much in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“The obsequies that I for thee will keep/Nightly shall be to strew thy grave and weep.” – Act V, Scene 3. Sounds like something straight from a Hallmark card. Sure Paris is a good guy, but he’s very much in the wrong place at the wrong time.

From: Romeo and Juliet

Pro: To be fair, he’s a nice, decent guy who would’ve made a good husband for Juliet. And had Juliet ended up with him, it’s very likely she might’ve actually come to experience a fulfilling, lifelong relationship. Also handsome and rich. Not to mention, he’s a perfect gentleman.

Con: Unfortunately, while he may be the right guy, he just happens to be at the wrong place and at the wrong moment. Also, the fact Juliet’s parents try to force her to marry him makes her want him even less (especially since she’s married to Romeo and hopefully he doesn’t find that out). Not only that, he’s intent on marrying a 13 year old girl which works out like you’d expect. He should’ve either waited until she was older and more mature to make up her mind or just find a woman his own age (preferably someone whose family isn’t involved in a long standing feud). Can be somewhat self-absorbed and possessive of Juliet as well as stiff without much personality.

Fate: Killed by Paris outside the Capulet family tomb. Poor guy, but that’s tragedy, folks.

 

134. Prince Escalus

"Where be these enemies? Capulet! Montague!/See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate,/That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love!/And I, for winking at your discords too,/Have lost a brace of kinsmen. All are punish'd." - Act V, Scene 3. In other words, "If you guys hadn't been fighting amongst each other, these kids wouldn't have gotten killed."

“Where be these enemies? Capulet! Montague!/See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate,/That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love!/And I, for winking at your discords too,/Have lost a brace of kinsmen. All are punish’d.” – Act V, Scene 3. In other words, “If you guys hadn’t been fighting amongst each other, these kids wouldn’t have gotten killed.”

From: Romeo and Juliet

Pro: He’s the most reasonable guy in the play and is absolutely disgusted with the Montague-Capulet feud because it keeps him from doing his job. Knows the feud is totally useless and really feels sad about Romeo and Juliet’s deaths.

Con: Unfortunately, it has to take Romeo and Juliet’s deaths to happen before he could end the feud. Also, exiling Romeo was a very bad idea (despite Benvolio telling him that Tybalt starting the feud by killing Mercutio but he doesn’t give a shit. He wants Lord Montague feels when he loses a loved one).

Fate: Hopefully, he accepts that he, too, played a part in this tragedy.

 

135. King Duncan

" There's no art/To find the mind's construction in the face./He was a gentleman on whom I built/An absolute trust." Act I, Scene 4. Has it occurred to you that this guy is a horrible judge of character? Little does he know the next Thane of Cawdor isn't much better.

” There’s no art/To find the mind’s construction in the face./He was a gentleman on whom I built/An absolute trust.” Act I, Scene 4. Has it occurred to you that this guy is a horrible judge of character? Little does he know the next Thane of Cawdor isn’t much better.

From: Macbeth

Pro: Well, he seems like a wise and benevolent old king who has some relative esteem for Macbeth’s bravery and loyalty. Also said to be a decent dad. He’s such a great guy that killing him would be completely awful.

Con: Unfortunately, coming over to the Macbeths as a houseguest was a really bad idea. Also needs other men to fight his battles and isn’t a great judge of character on that account.

Fate: Killed by Macbeth in bed at his castle during the night.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s