Shakespeare is a master at providing an audience with keen insight into the human psyche through the actions and words of his heroes, and even more so, his villains. Contained in Shakespearian plays are characters that are considered archetypes for much of today’s basis of judging a person malicious or malevolent. Two of the most infamous villains in all of Shakespearian literature are Iago in Othello and Claudius in Hamlet. Both Claudius and Iago are driven by immoral ambitions, such as jealousy. Unlike many of the "evil villains" in literature, Iago and Claudius are far more complex than may be seen at first.
Many of the exchanges between Petruchio and Katherina are rapid and vicious. Using Act 2 Scene 1 as a starting point, explore how far the structure and the delivery of comic languages can mask darker social concerns? The relationship between Petruchio and Katherina is extremely dysfunctional in Taming of the Shrew. Shakespeare creates their dynamic as based around the issues of domestic and psychological abuse. Act 2 Scene 1 is used to be the point of which the issues start to become apparent, with the ensuing psychological and emotional effects on Katherina now she is being subjected to Petruchio entering her life.
Moreover, the different mediums enable the audience to explore the performative nature of identity and the individualistic nature of ambition and how the different contexts respond to and portray this. Ambition and identity in Richard the Third are overwhelmingly portrayed in a negative light, ultimately resulting in dire consequences; in an Elizabethan context individualism and ambition reflected a person striving to grasp what was not due to them - ultimately, opposing God’s will. Richard, in the play, is represented as both villain and protagonist. We are made aware of Richards duplicitous nature and his evil aspirations as early as Act 1 Scene 1 where he states “I am determinèd to prove a villain” a self referential (and metadramatic in nature) pun which brings about questions of determinism and free will, themes that are explored throughout the play; there is ambiguity around whether or not Richard actually has autonomy over his nefarious deeds, which he goes about plotting. In keeping with his Elizabethan context, Shakespeare can not be seen to oppose the chain of being, the hierarchical chain of the period where a king was at the top,
This seems that it is the gender that affects the conflict and as traditions followed then, it was the men that ran society and made the decisions for women. Romeo and Juliet also takes place in a masculine world in which notions of honour, pride and status are all major to everyone and these factors can escalate to violence. The violence in the play’s social environment is a dramatic tool that Shakespeare creates to make the lover’s romance seem even more precious, valuable and fragile: their relationship is scene by society as an insignificant feeling of love in a significant world of hate. The fights between Mecutio and Tybalt and then Romeo and Tybalt are surreal. Passion outweighs reason at every point and Shakespeare wants to highlight the young love in this masculine society as well as show it is the men that cause conflict and a world of hate.
Tragedy is used to vehicle the reader’s moral justifications, sympathy and ambiguities. This is caused by the character’s experiences, as they largely aggravate human discomfort and “question traditions and expectations when they seem too immutable.” (Azar Nafisi). The greatest of human discomforts is the conflict of moral pluralism, which evokes ethical ambiguities and sympathy for those who have transgressed. In the novel, Notes on a Scandal, the character Bathsheba Hart takes on an explicit and exploitive affair with one of her students, a boy at the tender age of thirteen. Q3 (122).
Macbeth: A Man torn between Ambition and Conscience “Macbeth” the play, has been described by many as one of Shakespeare’s finest works. It is hard to disagree. In this term paper the author seeks to critically analyze the character of Macbeth, the protagonist in this fine play, while understanding the subtle nuances of the his character along with elaborating on the role played by his wife Lady Macbeth in his quest for the golden crown of Scotland. This paper will also include the theme of evil that makes its presence felt in the play at various instances along with the effect that it has on Macbeth. Ambition, the drive to achieve something is certainly a good thing.
Aristotle in his poetics singled him out as being the right kind of protagonist because he inspires the right combination of pity and fear. “This is the sort of man who is not pre-eminentus virtuous and just and yet it is through no badness or villainy of his own that he falls into the misfortune but rather through some flaw in him. This paper seeks to comment and discuss the character of Oedipus by what he say about himself and by the words of other characters which reveal him in the play. Oedipus has many
Webster’s dictionary defines tragedy as, “a serious drama typically describing a conflict between the protagonist and a superior force (such as destiny) and having a sorrowful or disastrous conclusion that excites pity or terror.” A tragic hero, therefore, is the character who experiences such a conflict and suffers catastrophically as a result of his choices and related actions. The character of Hamlet, therefore, is a clear representation of Shakespeare’s tragic hero. As the play’s tragic hero, Hamlet exhibits a combination of good and bad traits. A complex character, he displays a variety of characteristics throughout the play’s development. When he is first introduced in Act I- Scene 2, one sees Hamlet as a sensitive young prince who is mourning the death of his father, the King.
Ultimately, Iago’s manipulation and his apathetic attitude towards other human beings, is the reason for his dark personality that he carries on with throughout the play. Iago’s character is defined in this soliloquy by how he thinks highly of himself, and how he thinks he is higher then everyone else. An example of this is when he refers to Cassio as a “honest fool” (II.3.341) and makes note Othello’s characteristic of “With his weak function” (II.3.336). Iago’s character can be defined by talking down towards men, one being his governor, and the other having the lieutenant position he would not have got if he never manipulates Cassio into losing it. Iago’s soliloquy demonstrates his confidence in being able to insult two men who were of greater power than him a very short time ago, and one who he is to follow orders from.
He had a feel for the complexity of human tragedy and Macbeth was not an exception. Shakespeare used his subtle talents to create a world with round characters with tragic flaws and most of all, excessive tragedy. A round character is defined as “a character whose personality is many-faceted and whose behavior is dynamic and often unpredictable” (Clugston 2010). This means that the main characters in this play, Macbeth for example, have many layers to it. These layers are often defined as strengths and weaknesses, range of emotions, and/or likes or dislikes.