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The Villains Of Othello, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, And Hamlet

1492 words - 6 pages

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 as those felt for the protagonist. Hateable bad guys will deepen reader sympathy for your protagonist. But, beyond even that, bad guys with whom the reader can identify to at least some degree are bad guys who will make him squirm even more.” The only thing that is contrastable for these guys in this respect is the severity with which they are motivated. It would be strange to say love had a motivation in Midsummer, as it is a force that can’t be controlled, and is omnipresent in the play. It does drive the characters to extreme jealousy though. This quote from Helena should make that clear. “O, when she's angry, she is keen and shrewd! She was a vixen when she went to school; And though she be but little, she is fierce.(Act 3, Scene 2, Line 323)” These were the words Helena spoke as Hermia tried to tear her apart in her jealous rage, as Lysander no longer loved her. On the other hand, Iago and Claudius have not been wronged, they are just baselessly mad that they aren’t as successful as the protagonist.
Also, the villains from Othello, Midsummer, and Hamlet can be viewed for their methods in combatting the protagonist. These guys all have a pretty similar method of doing this. They are all too cowardly to take their...

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