If Shakespeare’s Characters Were High School Stereotypes

“I want the throne AND your lunch money…” –Lady Macbeth

While stereotypes are harmful and incorrect in the way that they oversimplify people, they’re everywhere in books, movies, and TV–especially when the setting is high school! If the characters in some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays were to be recast in this format, then, which high school stereotypes would we find?

1. The jock

Romeo from Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare: We’re always hearing about how Romeo and his friends are getting into fights with the Capulet boys, which surely keeps you in great shape. Sword fighting itself can be a sport, in a way (albeit a bloody one…). Plus, Romeo manages to kill both Tybalt and Paris, so he’s got to be pretty swol.

2. The loner

King Claudius from Hamlet, by William Shakespeare: We don’t know much about Claudius except for that he killed his brother and married his brother’s wife (yeesh), but perhaps he would be a loner. You could easily imagine that he feels shut out and unloved by others who flock to his king brother instead of him. Sure everyone loves King Hamlet, but who cares about Claudius? An inferiority complex could definitely result in him shutting himself away from others, which could also have aggravated any festering thoughts about not feeling loved for who he was.

3. The nerd

Prospero from The TempestThis guy spent 12 years on an island patiently refining his magic so he could get back at his enemies who took his throne away from him. If he was in high school, I can’t help but believe that he would be just as scrupulous with his studies–assuming he saw a purpose for them, that is.

4. The bully

Lady Macbeth from MacbethHas there ever been a bigger bully? She accuses Macbeth of being soft when he doesn’t want to kill people and needles and guilts him into doing it. Sheesh.

5. The class clown

Mercutio from Romeo and Juliet: Mercutio is almost always making some kind of (sketchy) joke in this play, and he especially likes to make puns. He’d definitely enjoy being the class clown in school to impress both his guy friends and the ladies…

6.  The drama/theater kid

Macduff’s son from MacbethIf he had lived, that is. This kid seriously has the best sassy one-liners which he improvises with ease:

Son: My father is not dead, for all your saying.
Lady Macduff: Yes, he is dead; how wilt thou do for a father?
Son: Nay, how will you do for a husband?
Lady Macuff: Why, I can buy me twenty at any market.
Son: Then you’ll buy ’em to sell again.

Dang, son!! (Literally.) This kind of improv ability would surely serve him well if he got involved with his school’s theater program.

BONUS: Hamlet himself! My boy convinced everyone he was insane, so he has to be pretty great at acting (if you’re of the opinion that he wasn’t actually insane, that is…which is up for debate.)


Now it’s your turn: who would be the “popular girl”? Can you think of any other pairings of high school stereotypes and Shakespeare characters? Let me know in the comments below!

You might also like: 

Shakespeare’s Use of “Once Upon a Time”

Classical Music Stories: Ophelia and Mozart

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22 thoughts on “If Shakespeare’s Characters Were High School Stereotypes”

  1. “This guy spent 12 years on an island patiently refining his magic so he could get back at his enemies who took his throne away from him.” Why do I have this feeling that Prospero would be a Dungeons and Dragons/Pokémon nerd? 😆

    And yes! Lady MacBeth as the Bully? So, completely yes! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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