Monday, January 13, 2014

Top Ten Shakespeare Villains

 After doing my Top Ten Shakespeare Plays, I decided to do yet another Top Ten. This time I decided to do Top Ten Shakespeare Villains. So here we go:

10- Sebastian, Antonio & Caliban- The Tempest
Sebastian is the brother of Alonso. Antonio is the brother of the main character, Prospero. They both try to murder Alonzo and Gonzalo while they were stranded on the island. They are then stopped by Ariel's subtle influence and even forgiven by Prospero for their wrongs. As a result no casualties were present.

Caliban is the offspring of the witch Sycorax, and the devil himself. Being half devil and half witch, it gives him more reason to be ALL evil, but because he is a slave to Prospero he is limited to act on his evil intentions. Again no casualties.

 9- Don John, Conrade and Borachia- Much Ado About Nothing
Don John is the bastard brother of Don Pedro, and is the chief villain in the play. Out of pure jealousy, he literally wanted to make everybody "miserable like unto himself." As we all know "misery loves company." Don John had his servants Conrade and Borachio try to help him succeed in this selfish act. They fail in this because of one's big mouth.

 8- Regan & Goneril- King Lear
Regan and Goneril are the rude daughters of King Lear. They lie to their own father about loving him, just to get their share of the kingdom. They even kick King Lear out of his own humble abode. They clearly had dad issues.

7- Tybalt- Romeo & Juliet
Tybalt is the cousin of Juliet(whom we will be talking about later). He is described to be fiery-tempered, especially when things don't go his way. He hates the whole house of Montague with a passion. Tybalt even considers Romeo a "villain" for loving his cousin, Juliet. He later kills Romeo's friend, Mercutio. Heck... he even hates the word "peace"!

6- The Weird Sisters AKA The Witches and Lady Macbeth- Macbeth
The Weird Sisters are the catalyst that later initiated Macbeth's lust for the future crown of Scotland. Their soothing words were music to Macbeth's ear holes. Those words even rang true to Lady Macbeth, of whom strongly encouraged her husband to make the prophecy come true by force. Due to this horrible act, it lead to sleepless nights and the fear of being caught "red handed"!

 5- Tullus Aufidius- Coriaolanus
Tullus Aufidius is the leader of the Volscians. He is also the arch-enemy of Coriaolanus. He later becomes a brief ally to Coriaolanus.
Both Tullus and Coriaolanus loathed each other entirely. When Coriaolanus was betrayed by his own people he decided to switch sides to seek revenge on the people that wronged him. Tullus embraces him with opened arms, but later ended Coriaolanus' life because Coriaolanus had a change of heart for "two drops of salt!"

4- Aaron, Tamora, Chiron & Demetrius- Titus Andronicus
Aaron is an evil moorish character in the play. With his villainy, he incites most of the other evil characters to carry out violence against the house of Andronicus.

Tamora is the evil queen of the Goths. After Titus sacrificed one of her sons to pay for the loss of his men, Tamora swore to avenge her son's death, but needed help from a cunning moor, and her remaining two sons.
Speaking of her sons. Chiron and Demetius are best known for raping and mutilating Titus' daughter Lavinia. Leaving her with no "helping hands" and literally "speechless".

3- Claudius- Hamlet
Claudius is the uncle and stepfather of the main character, Hamlet. He murdered his own brother to take the crown, married his brother's wife, and when his dark secrets were beginning to unravel he had his nephew Hamlet killed by Laertes with a poisoned tip of a sword. Speaking of poison, The irony in that act, eventually was the cause of his death. Talk about bad karma.

Now for first and second on the list it was going to be a close tie, but based on one being a fictional character and the other being an actual historical figure; reality took the lead. But before we get to that, here are some Honorable Mentions:

My friend Nathan Hatton suggested that Shylock from The Merchant of Venice should be in the list of Shakespeare Villains. This is what he had to say:

"Okay, my reasoning for Shylock is that he is the only anti-villain in Shakespeare's works. Even though his speech at the end during the trial would not have conjured sympathy from the audience, it was still present. That is what makes his case so special. And now today we have the opportunity to use hindsight in order to gain a better appreciation for Shylock's plight. He is probably the only 'villain' in Shakespeare's works that readers can actually understand why he did what he did. He's an incredibly complex character and I love that. Not to mention seeing Pacino's performance as Shylock is simply brilliant and worthy of the sympathy he deserves."

My friend Cody Christensen, was not only humorous, but also had some logic behind it. He convinced me that Juliet from Romeo & Juliet, was a perfect villain for this list. Here is what he had to say:
"I think it is totally Juliet from Romeo and Juliet. She made Romeo fall in love, kill her cousin, and even tricked him into thinking she was dead so he would kill himself. What a shrew! (Pardon my old English)."
Well played... well played!

 2- Iago- Othelo
 Iago is one of Shakespeare's most sinister villains ever created. Due to the unique trust that Othello places in him, Iago uses this to eventually betray Othelo while maintaining his reputation an honest guy. A perfect example of leading a double life
Iago is a schemer and a manipulator. He is very skilled in deceiving other characters so that his suspicion is covered by his act in being truthful.

Andrew Morrison said:
"My favorite villain in all of Shakespeare would have to be Iago from "Othello". The brilliance of the character is that! Were not for his asides and soliloquies, we would be in the same boat as Othello and believe that he is only serving Othello."

Britney Whipple adds in:
"He seems to do evil just because he can. It's a game to him. He's always jealous of Othello which is his justification for the crap he does."

Cody Christens concludes:
"I second Iago he is awesome and his only excuse is that he is a bastard."

1- Richard III- Richard III

Though Iago did lead Othelo astray with his trickery. Richard III did more then that! He ordered people to be killed, killed as well and to make it worse he even killed his own blood!

Rebecca Pearson went on by saying:
"Richard III for me [took] it to a whole new level considering he was a REAL person! I don't think he was as evil as Shakespeare paints him, but I think it's incredibly plausible that he may have killed his nephews. For me that just makes him an even more interesting character because it's fun to pick at what is exaggerated and what may be based on fact. Previously, few believed he was hunchbacked like in the play until they found his bones a few months ago..."

To add on to that. I think back then, when they said Richard III was 'twisted', it meant that he was 'pure evil'... 'twisted' if you will. Historians in the past took it quite literally, and pictured him with a hump on his back. 

Do you agree with the list? What is your Top Ten Shakespeare Villains?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Top Ten Shakespeare Plays

I've decided to do a Top Ten Shakespeare Play Count down. I will even give my reasoning for each one. Here we go...

10- A Midsummer Night's Dream
This play is basically about confused love. If you have heard the song "Love Stinks" played in the movie "The Wedding Singer", it is a perfect description of what is going on in the minds of these lover's.

 9- The Tempest
This play is a perfect example of good vs. evil, holding a long grudge and learning to finally forgive the one that has wronged you. 
I enjoyed this play thoroughly. It would have been ranked higher had it not been for the director Julie Taymor ruining it with her interpretation in general, especially her version of Caliban. I mean have you read the script!?! Caliban had a witch for a mother and his father was The Devil himself, two evil characters dealing with the paranormal realm. The 2010 movie adaption was a joke and a complete mockery of what Shakespeare stood for. I'm hoping for a remake of his as soon as humanly possible. This play was Shakespeare's last "Hoorah" in his canon, and should be deemed highly.

8- Coriolanus
This play is about a banished hero of Rome that later allies with a sworn enemy to take his revenge on his own city. 
Though I have not seen the play itself but the movie adaption in 2011 bore a perfect modern tale of this man's tragedy.

7- The Taming of the Shrew
This play is basically "taming" a stubborn woman, and helping both men and women realize their true priorities. It is a perfect example of what men should treat their wives no matter how difficult they may seem. My favorite movie adaptions arre: The Taming of the Shrew(1967), 10 Things I Hate About You(1999) and the 2005 ShakespeaRe-Told version.

6- Romeo & Juliet
This play showed that love had no boundaries. It didn't matter where you were from, who you were or even "the name"; you loved that person for who they were. This play inspired a variety of movie adaptions. I'm only going to mention the well-known ones that earned the right for telling the story of forbidden lovers: Romeo + Juliet(1996), Romeo and Juliet(1968), Romeo Must Die(2000), Gnomeo and Juliet(2011) and Warm Bodies(2013).

5- Richard III
In this play, Richard III will stop at nothing to get the crown. Through his cunning and trickery he obtains it by killing or ordering to kill 11 people, even his one blood. The BBC TV 1983 adaption of this play is a perfect depiction of what is expected for the life and death of Richard III.
It is interesting to note that afterwords the corrupted king is later haunted in a dream by the very people that he killed to gain that temporary power.

4- Much Ado About Nothing
This play is a perfect romcom. You have a couples battling for love with some miscommunications in between. Of which was later used for a good or bad, depending on how you look at it. Plus the pure comic relief is hilarious, especially from Signor Benedick. He makes you enjoy being a bachelor, but at the same time you hope to one day be with someone that will bring out the worst and even the best in you.

3- Macbeth
A Scottish nobleman, Macbeth, is led by an evil prophecy by three witches, telling him of his future reign in becoming king. His relentless wife wants to make this prophecy fulfilled, and will go at any lengths to make it a reality.
In this play, it is interesting to see pride seep into Macbeth's life so subtly, that it later becomes the eventual downfall of the king himself.

2- Titus Andronicus
This play is about Titus returning victoriously from a war, only to plant seeds of his own future destruction for himself and his family. This play has revenge happening left and right.
Though this play only had one movie adaption in 1999 with Sir Anthony Hobkins as Titus, in my opinion, it was downright terrible. The director Julie Taymor, again, did a horrible job in trying to mesh both settings of a futuristic dystopian society and a historical Roman Empire. The only person that can successfully pull that off is Stephen King with The Dark Tower Series.
If you're going to make a movie adaption of this play, do it right! The Utah Shakespeare Festival did it perfectly! They stayed with the time period and delivered the right amount of suspense and drama that Shakespeare would be proud of seeing today. 
Titus Andronicus carries the most blood and gore than all the other tragedies. The total number of characters killed in this play is 14! All of which were out of pure blood lust, dismemberment and even cannibalism. Revenge never tasted so sweet... especially when it is served in cold blood baked in a pie!

1- Hamlet
It's about a Prince of Denmark returning home finding out that his father has been murdered and his mother remarried the murderer, his uncle. While all this is taking place, a war is beginning to rise.
It is best known for the phrase "To be or not to be?" Which has been used in a number movies as well as TV shows, when the character, in that medium, is faced with a hard decision. It has a lot of death counts, especially near the end. Five characters were poisoned, two were wrongly accused and put to death, one committed suicide and one got stabbed while hiding in the curtain; making it a grand total of nine.
It is one of the longest and most complex plays from Shakespeare, and has been adapted into a variety of movies/ TV-movies. From 1964-2009 famous actors have brought Hamlet to the big screen. The most well-known ones are: Mel Gibson, Kenneth Branagh, Ethan Hawke and even Doctor Who himself David Tennant. The play even inspired an unnecessary sequel "Hamlet 2" in 2008. How's that for being number one on this list!

That's my Top Ten Shakespeare Plays. What is your Top Ten?