Top Ten Prolonged Shakespearean Deaths

Remember when I put together that infographic on which Shakespearean character spends the most time dead onstage? Well, I decided to do another one, this time on which Shakespearean character spends the most time dying onstage. Here are the results of my haphazard investigation! 

EDIT: Thanks to Brad Filippone, who noted I forgot Salisbury from 1 Henry VI. (My apologies to Nick Asbury, my first and most memorable Salisbury.)


My initial thought was that the #1 spot would go to Antony, who, as we know, is really bad at killing himself. I totally forgot that Edmund is dying onstage during much of the final King Lear exposition. So, take a bow, Edmund! You're the Prolonged Shakespearean Dying champion!

Special mention to Desdemona, who also made the top ten list of characters who spend the most time dead onstage. That's a really... special achievement. 

Poor Desdemona.

Top Ten Shakespearean Stage Corpses

So, last month one of my Tumblr followers posed the following question:

jmujaneway asked:

Hiya! Someone at lunch said there's a debate as to which Shakespeare character spends the most time dead on stage. I figured you'd know! Please help?

I offered up my best guesses (Caesar and Desdemona) and then Tumblr took over, with nellololol going to far as to do some in-depth research and provide us with some line counts. This was far too fun to leave alone, though, so I've done my own line-counting and here are the results!

Now, Bassianus and Humphrey are somewhat debatable, as they can conceivably spend part of their "dead" time hidden in a pit or behind bed curtains respectively. However, I have seen both languish on stage in person, so they are included. Conversely, I don't think I've ever seen a Romeo and Juliet production that actually included the "real live body" of Tybalt in the final scene, but I have heard of those that have, and that have similarly had a "real live body" of Caesar in the funeral scene. 

If we go by the has-to-be-on-stage-dead-the-entire-time-no-chance-of-being-swapped-out-for-a-dummy matrix, however, the winner is Desdemona. Take a bow Desd-- oh wait, you can't. You're dead.

Which Shakespeare Play Should I See? An Illustrated Flowchart

This coming Saturday is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death! Not sure what Shakespeare play you should see or read to commemorate the occasion? No worries! I've put together a little flowchart to help you make up your mind. 



By popular demand, and after many months of blood, sweat, and tears, a poster version of this is now available

Measuring 18"x24" and printed on lovely, thick, high-quality paper, this is the perfect wall decoration for the Shakespeare geek in your life, especially when that Shakespeare geek is YOU.

If you order more than one poster, you'll get $5 off each poster! How about that?!


Good Tickle Brain at the Folger Library!

In just 10 DAYS I will be speaking at the Folger Shakespeare Library! In case you've missed my previous annoucements on this, here are the basic facts:

  • WHO: Me!
  • WHAT: Talking about my comic and live-drawing on stage
  • WHERE: The Folger Theater, Washington D.C.
  • WHEN: Friday, April 29, at 6:00pm
  • WHY: Because it's going to be REALLY SUPER FUN
  • HOW MUCH: Nothing! It's absolutely FREE! You can reserve a FREE ticket at the Folger website.

The King Lear Death Clock

Here it is, the final tragedy Shakespearean Death Clock! I started this series with Titus Andronicus, the play with the highest death toll, and am ending it on King Lear, the play with the second-highest death toll (admittedly only if you count the Fool and Kent).  

This one gave me a lot of trouble as far as formatting. There may not be more deaths than Titus, but they're all crammed together in the latter part of the play. Not much wiggle-room to be had. 

That's the end of the Shakespearean Death Clocks for the moment, I'm afraid. However, if you're the sick sort of person who enjoyed these, fear not! I promise I will, at some point in the future, tackle the history plays. Only the clocks are going to have to be a lot bigger...

The Troilus and Cressida Death Clock

It's the penultimate Shakespearean (tragedy) Death Clock! The classification of infamous "problem play" Troilus and Cressida as a tragedy is a bit shaky, but, even though its title characters don't die, I feel it's closer to a tragedy than a comedy. It certainly doesn't leave you rolling in the aisles. 

I'm not 100% sure I got all the deaths. The Trojan War is going on constantly in the background, so I might have missed some before the big bloodbath at the end. Let me know if I have!  Troilus and Cressida is a weird, weird play... 

Anyways, tune in next Tuesday for the final installment of the Shakespearean Death Clocks! least until I start work on the history plays...

The Othello Death Clock

We're nearing the end of our Shakespearean Death Clock series... at least as far as the tragedies are concerned. Just a couple more to go...

As with Romeo and Juliet, not nearly as many people die in Othello as it feels like.  I'm starting to think that 5 to 6 deaths is the sweet spot for tragedy. Any less and it's not really that bad. Any more and it starts getting unintentionally amusing. 

The Timon of Athens Death Clock

I'm still on vacation this week at the Stratford Festival, so here's another low-body-count death clock from everybody's favorite Shakespeare play about misanthropy!

I don't know what exactly Timon dies of. It's not a broken heart. Overdose of bitterness? Toxic accumulation of spite? In any event, if my death clocks only counted onstage deaths, this would be the emptiest of all the tragedy death clocks.

It would be empty, basically.

If you want more Good Tickle Brain action this week, take a peek at my FacebookTwitterTumblr, and Instagram, where I'm posting updates on my adventures in Stratford, Ontario.