31 Days, 31 Villains: #9, Claudius

For villain #9 we revisit the bad brothers list for Claudius, the fratricide who commits that “murder most foul” that kicks off the plot of Hamlet. We’re in the top ten, oh yeah.

The Villains so far:
#31 – Iachimo, Cymbeline
#30 – Saturninus, Titus Andronicus
#29 – Cloten, Cymbeline
#28, #27 – Chiron and Demetrius, Titus Andronicus
#26 – Caliban, The Tempest
#25 – Shylock, Merchant of Venice
#24 – Cassius, Julius Caesar
#23 – Proteus, Two Gentlemen of Verona
#22 – Duke Frederick, As You Like It
#21 – Don John, Much Ado About Nothing
#20 – Duke of Buckingham, Richard III
#19 – Antonio, The Tempest
#18 – Dionyza, Pericles
#17 – The Queen, Cymbeline
#16 – Leontes, A Winter’s Tale
#15 – Antiochus, Pericles
#14 – Duke of Cornwall, King Lear
#13 – Oliver, As You Like It
#12 – Queen Margaret, Henry VI and Richard III
#11, #10 – Goneril and Regan, King Lear

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Shakespeare’s Worst Brothers

In this video, I count down Shakespeare’s Five Worst Brothers! From attempted murder to murder and psychological torture, see what “brotherly love” means to the Bard. The cruel, cruel Bard.

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Shakespeare’s Best Brothers

I had Mother’s Day to talk about Moms and Father’s Day to talk about Dads. But what about the most contentious familial relation found in Shakespeare – Are there any good brothers out there? I’ve found five, and here they are! And, just because there’s such rich variety to choose from on the other side of things, look out for Monday’s episode, where I will be counting down Shakespeare’s top five WORST brothers. Lots of competition, see if you can guess who will be on there!

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Shakespeare Recommends: Fortinbras

In this (video filmed when I was in Stratford! why deprive you of the wondrous view of my erstwhile hotel room?) I discuss the gloriously bizarre play “Fortinbras” by Lee Blessing. Enjoy!

Here’s a link to find the play: Fortinbras

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Shakespeare’s Themes: End of a Tragedy

While Shakespeare tragedies often kill off many of the relevant characters, those left behind to lead the way into the future are interesting too. Here is a discussion of three characters who are raised to power by the end of their respective tragedies: Lucius (Titus Andronicus), Malcolm (Macbeth), and Fortinbras (Hamlet).

And, with a much pithier statement on the end of tragedies than I could ever muster, here is TheGeekyBlonde’s Hamlet, which ends with her Fortinbras summing up how Shakespeare ends his tragedies. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mHQ8te8Rfk

Beyond the Bard: The Spanish Tragedy

I go beyond the bard to bring you a Shakespeare-era tragedy, “The Spanish Tragedy” by Thomas Kyd. This play heavily influenced “Titus Andronicus” and “Hamlet”, and is one heavy hitting revenge drama of epic proportions.

Major Character List, in case you want a cheat-sheet:
Hieronimo: Father to Horatio, Lord Marshal of Spain and protagonist
Lorenzo: Brother to Bel-imperia, nephew to the king of Spain and villain
Bel-imperia: Sister to Lorenzo, former lover of the deceased Andrea and now lover of Horatio, niece to the king of Spain, and our heroine

Horatio: Hieronimo’s son, murdered by Lorenzo, lover to Bel-imperia and friend to Andrea
Balthazar: Prince of Portugal, living in Spain since his capture in the war. Loves Bel-imperia, it is unrequited. Also a villain
Andrea: Died in the war, back to watch the mayhem. Friend of Horatio and former lover of Bel-imperia.

Pictures shown are of the Hyperion Shakespeare Company production of “The Spanish Tragedy” from 2010, which I had the pleasure of directing.
**Pictures by Annie McGrath, producer on the show.
For the rest of the show info: http://www.hyperionshakespeare.org/the-spanish-tragedy.html

Text of the play: http://www.elizabethanauthors.org/span1.htm
Youtube with Derek Jacobi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDuvqnsKXl8

Shakespeare’s Themes: Hamlet’s Truth Tests

Why does Hamlet confide in Horatio and not anyone else? Here’s my theory! Also, NYC’ers, here’s the company that performed the production of Hamlet that inspired me to re-examine this particular set of related moments in the play that add up to Hamlet and Horatio’s unique relationship. Take a peek, it’s a company very worth checking out. http://www.theshakespeareforum.org/