Sunday, July 13, 2014

Shakespeare Challenge: Nine Protagonists

9. Protagonist [1] 

BerowneLove’s Labour’s Lost


Literary, cynical, and merry, Berowne is a delightful protagonist who can argue for or against anything. He delivers gorgeous, witty speeches, and, to me, represents a young Shakespeare.

9. Protagonist [2]

CleopatraAntony and Cleopatra


In many ways, Cleopatra is a stereotype of a histrionic woman. However, I eventually came to admire how open she is about her desires and emotions as well as her more tactical side. Mark Antony brags about how independent he is from Cleopatra, but in battle, in spite of her genuine love for Mark Antony, Cleopatra is the one thinking about numero uno.

9. Protagonist [3]



How could I not include Hamlet, one of the most famous, complex characters of all time? This intense young prince is overwhelmed by grief and circumstances that are out of his control. Deeply emotional, philosophical, troubled, and witty, Hamlet is often hailed as a modern man whose thought surpasses his action.

9. Protagonist [4]



The titular Othello has lived a hard life, but he considers himself a lucky man. In spite of being a black Moor in Italy, he has become a general and married a senator’s daughter. Othello is remarkably cool-headed and respected—until his close friend, a comrade-in-arms, starts spinning lies to play on his deeply buried insecurities. Othello’s fall is one of the greatest and most tragic in Shakespeare.

9. Protagonist [5]

LearKing Lear


Lear is a highly flawed king, bombastic, self-righteous, and, in his old age, unwise. Yet his decline into dementia is devastating. After the betrayal of his daughters, he vacillates between lucidity, confusion, and extreme bitterness.

9. Protagonist [6]


The audience watches as Macbeth turns from respected soldier to manipulative and bloody villain. Spurred on by three witches and his wife, he is at first reluctant to kill for the throne. Yet once he starts, paranoia takes over, life and love lose meaning, and Macbeth can’t stop murdering friend and foe to keep his power.

9. Protagonist [7]

RosalindAs You Like It

Rosalind is the vivacious daughter of a banished duke. After her uncle also banishes her, she heads for the woods, dons men’s clothing, and cheekily names herself Ganymede. She uses her disguise to flirt with her crush and teach him about love, teasing and obsessing over him along the way.

9. Protagonist [8]

BenedickMuch Ado About Nothing

Benedick is a misogynistic if hilarious fellow who swears off marriage. He loves war, his comrades at arms, and cracking jokes. By the end of the play, he sides with a woman while other men malign her and consents to both love and marriage.

9. Protagonist [9]

BeatriceMuch Ado About Nothing

DON PEDRO: Your silence most offends me, and to be merry best becomes you, for out o’ question you were born in a merry hour.
BEATRICE: No, sure, my lord, my mother cried, but then there was a
star danced, and under that was I born.
Beatrice is free-spirited, outspoken, fiesty, loyal, and witty. Her friends list her flaws as being proud and sometimes merciless. Basically, she’s the bomb. Delightful company, great entertainment, and a friend who will defend you to the end.

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