It makes sense that the hardest roles to play in Shakespear’s plays or indeed any play is the ones that have the highest line count. While some of those lines might be short there is still a lot to remember…
The Top 10 Hardest Shakespeare Roles You Can Play (by Line Count)
10 – Role: Antony – Play: Antony and Cleopatra – Line Count: 766
Wiki Info: Roman general and one of the three joint leaders, or “triumvirs”, who rule the Roman Republic after the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C.
9 – Role: Timon – Play: Timon of Athens – Line Count: 795
Wiki Info: Timon of Athens was a citizen of Athens whose reputation for misanthropy grew to legendary status. According to the historian Plutarch, Timon lived during the era of the Peloponnesian War (431 BC – 404 BC).
8 – Role: Coriolanus – Play: Coriolanus – Line Count: 809
Wiki Info: In later ancient times, it was generally accepted by historians that Coriolanus was a real historical individual, and a consensus narrative story of his life appeared, retold by leading historians such as Livy, Plutarch, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus.
7 – Role: Vincentio – Play: Measure For Measure – Line Count: 820
Wiki Info: Vincentio, the Duke of Vienna, makes it known that he intends to leave the city on a diplomatic mission. He leaves the government in the hands of a strict judge, Angelo.
6 – Role: Othello – Play: Othello – Line Count: 860
Wiki Info: Othello is a brave and competent soldier of advanced years and Moorish background in the service of the Venetian Republic. He elopes with Desdemona, the beautiful daughter of a respected Venetian senator. After being deployed to Cyprus, Othello is manipulated by his Ancient (pronounced Ensign) Iago into believing Desdemona is an adulteress.
5 – Role: Henry V – Play: Henry V – Line Count: 1,025
Wiki Info: This play tells the story of King Henry V of England, focusing on events immediately before and after the Battle of Agincourt (1415) during the Hundred Years’ War.
4 – Role: Lago – Play: Othello – Line Count: 1,097
Wiki Info: Iago is a fictional character in Shakespeare’s Othello (c. 1601–1604). Iago is the play’s main antagonist, and Othello’s standard bearer. He is the husband of Emilia, who is in turn the attendant of Othello’s wife Desdemona. Iago hates Othello and devises a plan to destroy him by making him believe that his wife is having an affair with his lieutenant, Michael Cassio.
3 – Role: Richard III – Play: Richard III – Line Count: 1,124
Wiki Info: When his brother King Edward IV died in April 1483, Richard was named Lord Protector of the realm for Edward’s son and successor, the 12-year-old Edward V. As the young king travelled to London from Ludlow, Richard met and escorted him to lodgings in the Tower of London, where Edward V’s own brother Richard of Shrewsbury joined him shortly afterwards.
2 – Role: Falstaff – Play: Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 – Line Count: 1,178
Wiki Info: His significance as a fully developed character in Shakespeare is primarily formed in the plays Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2, where he is a companion to Prince Hal, the future King Henry V.
1 – Role: Hamlet – Play: Hamlet – Line Count: 1,422
Wiki Info: Prince Hamlet is the title character and protagonist of William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet. He is the Prince of Denmark, nephew to the usurping Claudius, and son of King Hamlet, the previous King of Denmark. At the beginning of the play, he struggles with whether, and how, to avenge the murder of his father, and struggles with his own sanity along the way.