The Telegraph offers a list of the 25 greatest Shakespeare characters and it is a rather interesting list. On this list there aren’t many of the brand-name characters like a Romeo, Juliet or a Hamlet and several are from lesser known plays like Comedy of Errors and Two Gentlemen of Verona. The run the gambit as well some are heroes other villains others are bit parts. Their list is as follows with my comments after each.
Rosalind (As You Like It): Greatest female characters by Shakespeare? I haven’t read or seen.
Prince Hal (Henry IV/V): This is reason to watch/read the Henriad. Prince Hal is the one character who changes the most from when we first meet him.
Richard II: Not that brilliant of a King and he goes mad what’s not to like about that.
Emilia (Othello): Iago’s wife and Desdemona’s maid servant is one of the most complex characters.
Malvolio (Twelfth Night): The puritanical steward of Olivia who is the butt of the jokes and torments. The greatest tragic character in the comedies.
The Witches (Macbeth): Everyone likes the witches and they’ve been just about everywhere.
Hotspur (Henry IV, part 1): The romantic of the history plays he seems like the better Henry compared to Hal but when it comes to a fight it doesn’t end well.
Viola (Twelfth Night): Sebastian’s twin sister who spends most of the time as Cesario, the most strong willed of Shakespeare’s women.
Shylock (The Merchant of Venice): A difficult character as it really depends on how you want to look at him how to interpret him monster, victim, clown?
Lady Macbeth (Macbeth): We all know she’s one of the most memorable female ever written.
Autolycus (The Winter’s Tale): Never seen or read this one either so I don’t know
Nurse (Romeo & Juliet): She’s the best mother character we see
Falstaff (Henry IV/Merry Wives of Windsor): Perhaps the greatest character in all of Shakespeare to have a drink with. He is my favorite.
Regan and Goneril (King Lear): The bad sisters in this wonderful family drama
Cassius (Julius Caesar): sets the assassination plot a foot and is sort of an early Iago-like character
Beatrice (Much Ado About Nothing): Wittiest of all the characters Shakespeare wrote
Tybalt (Romeo & Juliet): This guy really?
Drunken Porter (Macbeth): The strangest item on the list as I don’t even remember him at all
King Lear: “Everest” of acting roles this medieval/modern role that we sort of are living with today.
Dromio of Ephesus and Dromio of Syracuse (Comedy of Errors): Never seen/read before
Lance (Two Gentlemen of Verona): Never seen or read not a clue here
Timon (of Athens): starts rich goes poor, wants to see cities crumble
Mercutio (R+J): The fun loving, mercurial character who everyone likes the Riff to Romeo’s Tony.
Jaques (As You Like It): He’s got the All the World’s a stage speech
Richard III (Henry IV/Richard III): He’s got to be here the brilliant anti-hero before they were popular
So I need to read/see As Your Like It, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Winter’s Tale, and Comedy of Errors. It’s a fun list and I enjoy that it isn’t the same old Hamlet, Puck, Juliet and Romeo. Shakespeare wrote a lot of characters so it’s nice to see some who would slip your mind on a list.