Who Would Win In A Shakespearean Face-Off – Michael Fassbender, Tom Hiddleston or Benedict Cumberbatch? – Miss Morris

If you have been in a class with me during the last few years, and we’ve been learning Shakespeare, the chances are one of these actors has come up in conversation or on screen. In the spirit of scientific enquiry, I would like to pose the following question and possibly hold a poll: Who would win in a Shakespearean face-off between these three British acting heavyweights?

Here are the essential facts:

Michael Fassbender
He may seem the less obvious choice – better known for playing Magneto in the latest X-Men films – but his barnstorming performance in the recent 2015 ‘Macbeth’ showed that Fassbender more than has the acting chops to face up to Cumberbatch and Hiddleston. He also has the capacity to be more convincingly frightening than either of his competitors here; an unhinged quality, and the ability to switch from charming to chilling in a second.
Best Quote: “Oh, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!”IMG_4523
Tom Hiddleston
He has compared himself to a Golden Retriever; indeed, compared to the craggier Fassbender and more otherworldly Cumberbatch, he has a puppyish air which gave his Loki a mischievous charm which softened his villainous qualities. Yet unlike the tragic and tortured protagonists of ‘Macbeth’ and ‘Richard III’, his Henry V in The Hollow Crown series plays on exactly that boyish quality. Developing from frivolous rake to heroic leader, his depiction of this canonical role captured the energy and fervour of the young king brilliantly.
Best Quote: “I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit; and, upon this charge,
Cry ‘God for Harry! England and Saint George!”IMG_4524
Benedict Cumberbatch
Most mellifluous of the three, Cumberbatch has a chameleonic quality which enables him to morph into a character with compelling conviction. His Richard III in the aforementioned Hollow Crown series blended black humour, intrigue and betrayal; it did this whilst still creating a portrayal of Richard which, if not entirely sympathetic, was certainly more nuanced and complex than the more traditional pantomime depiction of his character. His death is necessary to allow for the foundation of the Tudor dynasty, but many viewers may find themselves harbouring a certain wistful fondness for this flawed anti-hero.
Best Quote: “And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.”IMG_4525

… Who do you think would win in a Shakespeare-off between these three? Vote for your favourite in the comments!

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