Don Pedro and Don John are both deceivers but while Don Pedro’s deceptions come from his desire to bring the lovers together, Don John’s deceptions derive from jealousy and spite. Don John, being the main antagonist, is made to be born outside of wedlock. Modern audiences watching this play may not understand why his character is the outsider that he is but Elizabethan audiences would understand that children born out of wedlock were largely presumed to be naturally evil. This is apparent in the language that Don John’s character uses because he often uses words that connote violence and death when plotting with his followers, Conrade and Borachio, to sabotage Hero and Claudio’s marriage. When inquiring how he could do this Don John describes what he wants as ‘the death of this marriage’ and in reply Borachio, his accomplice, says they will ‘misuse the Prince’, ‘vex Claudio’, ‘undo Hero’ and ‘kill Leonato.’ Although their words are not literal and they’re not really going to ‘kill’ Leonato, using words such as ‘death’ give very negative connotations and make the character sound like the villain he is.
This use of dramatic irony creates humour for the audience as Benedick is unable to defend himself without giving away his identity. The audience also can’t help but wonder if Beatrice does truly know its Benedick that she is talking to. While this is obviously a very comical and light-hearted scene, it contrasts greatly against the character of Don John and the scenes he’s involved in. Don John is the ‘villain’ behind the breakup of Claudio and Hero’s love, by falsely accusing the ‘pure’ Hero of being unfaithful. This shows the darker side of this Shakespeare comedy as Don John is a ‘plain dealing villain’ who ‘cannot hide who he is’.
King Claudius, Prince Hamlet, and Polonius all shared the common trait of cunning fabrication, and while useful at times; it ultimately led to internal conflict in themselves and others, the irrational resolution of Laertes, and their premature deaths. While the reasons behind their actions force them into unfavorable situations, Claudius’, Hamlet’s and Polonius’ manners do not go without regret. No move made goes unseen, creating angst within themselves or others in their lives. Claudius’ own belief of Hamlet’s madness is questioned by his own remorse over his brother’s murder and pressures him to think that his “offense is rank […] to heaven,” despite prior certainty he would be “sweet and commendable” in the affair (Hamlet III. iii.
When Hamlets father's apparition appeared before him he was giving a task to kill his uncle, so it would be involuntary wrath. At the same time Hamlet had to follow through with the murder of his uncle out of pride. Throughout the story of Hamlet he proves himself on a far superior intellect than anyone else in the play, mostly Polonius, he Hamlet confuses Polonius "Let her not walk I' the sun. Conception is a blessing, but not as your daughter may conceive. Friend, look to 't.
O heavy burden!”. His hypocrisy and corrupt nature is demonstrated when he speaks to Laertes, through irony, “There’s such divinity doth hedge a king”, as God did not protect old Hamlet from being murdered by Claudius. Despite this Claudius is not utterly evil; he does love Gertrude and recognises that his “offense is rank ... smells to the heavens”. Claudius unlike Hamlet manages to manipulate fortune and take what he wants (the throne, and Gertrude), the end result justifying his means. Polonius effectively demonstrates notions of corruption throughout the play.
Tiresias is also equally disrespectful, mocking and provocative as Oedipus. As the seer acknowledges the ignorance of Oedipus, by expressing that the King is a fool who can slander about the blind profit (10). Tiresias stated to Oedipus to “live in shame with the woman you love, blind to your own calamity” suggested in (Sophocles 10). Although Oedipus is not physically blind, but Tiresias mocks the King back, because of his ignorance. At first the audience see how Oedipus
“I am not what I am”(1.1.68). Shakespeare incorporates this quote so early in his play, Othello, to show that Iago is a purely malicious and selfish character who will do whatever it takes to get what he wants. While Iago appears to be merely just a dishonest person at first, he proves himself to be one of the most horrible villains in literature that takes absolute pleasure in crumbling the lives of others with no sense of empathy whatsoever. Shakespeare is able to develop Iago's maliciousness and complete lack of emotion throughout the play by using direct and indirect characterization as well as other literary devices. Shakespeare at first characterizes Iago as jealous and devious.
A tragic hero will effectively gain our fear and pity if he is a good mixture of good and evil. Ophelia can be viewed as a tragic hero in this play. We first meet Ophelia in Act 1, Scene 3 where she is warned by her brother Laertes that Hamlet is playing with her and that she should not keep her "chaste treasure open" suggesting that his sister has no 'worth of her own except in her sex'. Ophelia hears her brother but sticks up for herself and defends her relationship with Hamlet. She even turns Laertes' lesson around to focus on him and how he is doing exactly what he is telling Ophelia not to do.
His repulsive and despicable acts make readers annoyed and angry because he was no longer worthy of respect as he was at the start of the play. Macbeth should still deserve sympathy from the readers, as he showed human conscience in different stages of the play. Macbeth was only motivated by the witches’ prophecies and Lady Macbeth’s slyness and deceptive skills to kill King Duncan. In comparison, Lady Macbeth should be the one that receives no sympathy from the audience, as she is the real villain who plots the murder behind the scenes. When Lady Macbeth was convincing Macbeth, Macbeth first started to reject her.
Lady Macbeth, unlike Macbeth is cunning, does not show any remorse and knows exactly where she wants to be. Lady Macbeth takes advantage of this situation and convinces Macbeth to take part in the beginning of these murderous acts. Questioning his manhood and convincing Macbeth that it is the right thing to do, although he knows it is morally incorrect, we, as the audience are placed to feel sympathetic towards him as she is using him for her own selfish reasons. “Look not like th’ innocent flower, / But be the serpent under it” is the beginning of his facade that Lady Macbeth creates, yet is dramatic irony and how appearances are deceptive. Before the vicious acts and insanity jumps in, Macbeth expresses his moral dilemma and how he is extremely confused.