Number 1

Top 10 funniest characters in Shakespeare.

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04.06.2021

We asked an expert panel to name the ten greatest comic characters in Shakespeare. Today, we announce the pick of the bunch.

Compiled by Andy McLean

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1. BEATRICE(Much Ado About Nothing)

Perhaps it’s no wonder that Beatrice made it to the top of our pile. Throughout Much Ado About Nothing, her wit overpowers all around her – not least her sparring partner Benedick, who is no comic slouch himself.

Researcher and writer Rebecca Huntley picked Beatrice as the funniest character in Shakespeare, “…for her quick wit and her ‘I don’t put up with crap from anyone even though I’m a woman in 16th-Century Italy’. If she was real and alive today she’d be marching on Parliament House in Canberra with a t-shirt: ‘I can’t believe we are still protesting about this’.” 

Author Jane Caro agrees: “Beatrice is a thoroughly modern woman. She is witty and sceptical, not remotely fooled by the posturings of the men around her. She loves Benedick despite herself. She is not a deluded, romantic girl, but a mature woman who sees the man she loves as he actually is, warts and all, and is not the least afraid of pointing his faults out to him. Beatrice can match and outmatch Benedict quip for quip. That’s why he loves her.”

Zindzi Okenyo as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing 2019, directed by James Evans

Read Bell Shakespeare Associate Director James Evans’s article about Much Ado About Nothing.

How to talk about climate change in way that makes a difference by Rebecca Huntley is available now in all good bookshops.

READ MORE

Read about numbers 10, 9 and 8 in our countdown of Funniest Characters in Shakespeare

Read about numbers 7, 6 and 5 in our countdown of Funniest Characters in Shakespeare

Read about numbers 4, 3 and 2 in our countdown of Funniest Characters in Shakespeare

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