Since the beginning of history, there have always been two opposing forces. The protagonist and the antagonist have been at one-another’s neck since biblical times. And as is typical, the story always ends with the good guy being victorious, and the bad guy defeated and demonized. Well, now it is time to show the bad guys some love. After all, what would all the famous heroes be without their respective villains? Nothing, that’s what. And as writer Larry A. Winters claims, “Readers love bad guys. Even bad guys who do the most heinous, horrible, evil deeds. Especially them.” Shakespeare new this, so he came up with some fantastic villains for his plays. In honor of antagonists everywhere, this essay is about the villains of some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. The villains from Othello, Midsummer, and Hamlet, Iago, Love, and Claudius respectively, can be compared and contrasted in their motives, methods, and downfalls.
Initially, the villains from Othello, Midsummer, and Hamlet can be analyzed through their motives. To begin with, what do Iago, Love, and Claudius all have in common? They are all jealous! Iago is jealous of Michael Casssio getting a promotion that he wanted. Love, through the trickery of Puck and the characters own faults, causes tension between Hermia, Helena, Demetrius, and Lysander. Claudius is jealous of his brother, Hamlet, because he is a king and has a beautiful wife. They are all motivated by superficial things that really aren’t that big of a deal; which basically defines how every villain is made. That is because everyone knows what it is like to be jealous, so everyone can relate to these guys. K. M. Weiland says the same. “Your antagonist needs to summon up reader emotions that are just as strong…
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…Darth Vader? If Anakin was never a bad guy, Luke never would have had to blow up the death star, and what kind of story is that? Who is Jerry without Tom? A common mouse that steals food from the fridge, that’s what! All in all, it’s very important that evil-doers do evil, so that we can enjoy as they get crushed.
Bonnet, Nicholas J. “The Manipulative Nature of Claudius in Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet'” RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2014.
Buntig, Joe. “9 Villains in Literature and Film and How to Make Yours Better.” The Write Practice RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2014.
Siegel, Lee. “How Iago Explains the World.” New York Times. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2014.
Weiland, K. M. “The Story Department.” The Story Department. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2014.
Winters, Larry A. “The Importance of Being Villainous.” Larry A Winters. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2014.