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The Ultimate Guide

5 Shakespearean villains

Shylock / "The Merchant of Venice"

If you prick him, does he not bleed? That and more, as it turns out. This complex character bears the weight of his fellow Jewish citizens when he demands a pound of flesh from an enemy who has lost a bet. Last played by Saul Elkin, left, in Shakespeare in Delaware Park in 2011.

Richard III / "Richard III"

With a hunched back and a twisted soul, few of Shakespeare’s evil characters wear their villainy more outwardly. On his bloody ascent to power in the play that bears his name, Richard crosses any number of moral boundaries with utter abandon. Last played by Tim Newell at Shakespeare in Delaware Park in 2012.

Lady MacBeth / "MacBeth"

Hungry for power and thirsty for blood, the wife to the lead character in “Macbeth” pushes her husband to murder his way to the throne. She immediately regrets it, but by then it is far too late. Last played by Josei DiVincezo at Shakespeare in Delaware Park in an all-female version of the play in 2010.

Iago / "Othello"

Never have Shakespearean asides sounded more devious than when uttered by Iago, the trusted friend and confident to Othello who meticulously plots the general’s downfall. Last played locally by Tim Newell at Shakespeare in Delaware Park in 2007.

Claudius / "Hamlet"

Who marries his recently widowed sister-in-law before when her husband is barely in the grave? Claudius, that’s who. This ill-advised move vexes his young nephew Hamlet to no end and sets the bloody course of the play into action. Last played by Tim Newell at Shakespeare in Delaware Park in 2013.

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