->"''[[CardCarryingVillain So will I turn her virtue into pitch.]]''
->''[[BatmanGambit And from her own goodness make the net.]]''
->''[[TheChessmaster That shall enmesh them all.]]''"
-->-- '''Iago''', ''Theatre/{{Othello}}''


* Iago from Creator/WilliamShakespeare's ''Theatre/{{Othello}}''. He's been described as a "[[ForTheEvulz motiveless malignity]]". Indeed, the reasons he gives for manipulating everybody just aren't big enough for justification - in the end, it probably has to do with the fact that he finds it ''fun'' to control everyone and have them believe his every lie. He is among the greatest Magnificent Bastards is Theatre/Literature history.
* A more restrained Shakespearean example of a MagnificentBastard (and, in fact, a real-life example) is Octavius Caesar in AntonyAndCleopatra. He pulls a string of [[XanatosGambit Xanatos Gambits]], such as marrying ''his own sister'' to Antony to force him either to [[ThickerThanWater shame Caesar (and thus provide him with an excuse for war) or bend the knee]], [[ManipulativeBastard manipulates nearly everyone he meets]] (bar [[FemmeFatale Cleopatra]]), defeats the more militarily adept Antony through a BatmanGambit, [[VisionaryVillain has truly grandiose plans]], and, unlike most of the other examples here, [[spoiler: ends up as the most powerful man in all the world and Emperor of the Roman Empire.]]
* Creator/WilliamShakespeare's MagnificentBastard ''par excellence'' is Theatre/RichardIII. Born with a slew of {{Red Right Hand}}s and a truly twisted intellect, he takes to villainy, manipulation, and {{plan}}s like a fish to water. He also possesses an unparalleled wit and charisma despite being deformed, managing to seduce the wife of a man he murdered ''over the man's corpse''. He talks to the audience more than almost any other Shakespeare character, letting them in on his plans, and sharing his triumphs in wonderfully gloating asides. He's a vile and utterly self-centered man, but it's just about impossible not to admire how damn ''good'' he is at it. How much the real Richard III lived up to the "bastard" half of the equation is a matter of much controversy in historical circles.
* The three witches in ''Theatre/{{Macbeth}}'' persuade a great hero to [[FaceHeelTurn murder his king and become a bloody tyrant]], all [[GambitRoulette without even explicitly encouraging murder until he is steeped in it already]].
** Lady Macbeth is practically the whole driving force of the first half of the story, being the one who sets up the whole plot to kill King Duncan but in Act II she suffers VillainousBreakdown and is revealed to be more of a SmugSnake.
* Aaron The Moor from ''Theatre/TitusAndronicus'' really needs a mention as well.
** This play was basically Shakespeare's idea of putting an ''entire cast'' of magnificent bastards on one stage and watching them (literally) eat each other.
* ''Theatre/KingLear'''s Edmund. A bastard in every sense of the word, Edmund is an evil manipulator of the Iago variety, but he's also way cooler than his legitimate half brother Edgar, who, while not (particularly) stupid, is a total stiff. Edmund lies, forges, betrays, and seduces his way to the top, but part of you still can't help liking him. Especially since he actually ''says'' in a speech, "Stand up for bastards!" No apologies.
* The Black Knight in Middleton's A GAME AT CHESS. When told "Your plot's discovered!" he smirks "Which of the twenty thousand and nine hundred/fourscore and five, canst tell?"
* Harry Roat from ''WaitUntilDark'', right from the very first scene when he traps Talman and Carlino into his plot.
* Caldwell B. Cladwell, CorruptCorporateExecutive and BigBad of ''{{Urinetown}}'', most definitely qualifies. His bastardry is even more delicious when in the end it is revealed [[spoiler:that as cruel as his methods were, they actually caused less harm to the people than when the heroes take over and make water consumption unlimited, resulting in an apocalyptic drought.]]
* Roy Cohn, the RealLife AmoralAttorney and [=McCarthyist=] zealot portrayed in ''AngelsInAmerica''.
* Few can compare with the Phantom from [[AndrewLloydWebber Webber's]] musical adaption of ThePhantomOfTheOpera. He is a decidedly dark "Angel of Music" affected with a hint or two of madness, a hearty dollop of romantic obsession and a flair for dramatic trickery and murder. He's also a suave, half-masked genius who excels at seduction, manipulation, (possibly real) magic and arrogant bravado. Oh, and he manages to achieve most of this with some of the most potent male theatrical scores ever written. "Sing for me," indeed.
* Regina Giddens in ''TheLittleFoxes''.
* Petruchio from ''Theatre/TheTamingOfTheShrew'' fits the bill. He manages to not only tame Katarina, but get ''two'' dowries. He tames Kate and successfully manipulates Baptista, Hortensio and Luciento, and a tailor.
* Abigail Williams from ''Theatre/TheCrucible'' is the teenage sociopath who started the Salem Witch Trials by getting her friends to pretend that they were being affected by witchcraft as a cover up for why they were practicing a voodoo ritual on an old slave of Abigail's family. With charisma and influence (and a touch of intimidation), she has the girls accuse many innocent people of being witches or servants of TheDevil. She capitalizes off of both the town's distrust and paranoia of one another and their religious beliefs in order to gain attention and adoration (and amusement) from others, something she felt she was lacking, especially as a female in that time period. Thanks to her lies and deception, many innocent people are hanged or shamed for life, and the entire religious community of Salem is turned over on it's head due to mass paranoia and hysteria, all while she just stands back and watches, laughing her butt off over what she's created. Abigail manages to use her charisma, her intelligence, her sexual attractiveness and even her sense of humour to manipulate everyone around her, even managing a KarmaHoudini by fleeing Salem with a handful of stolen money after essentially achieving mass murder. ''Dayum'', girl!
* Creator/HenrikIbsen: Engstrand the carpenter from Theatre/{{Ghosts}}. He is TheManBehindTheMan, and the driving force behind the reverend Manders. He is instrumental in making Manders believe he himself was the one who set fire to the planned orphanage, and manipulates the reverend to put all the money from the Alving estate into a brothel he himself has planned, all without making the reverend suspicious. He only fails in securing his adopted daughter Regine for a "job" in his establishment.
** Also Daniel Heire from Theatre/TheLeagueOfYouth. He twirls the young hero of the play around his finger like nothing, makes him believe whatever he wants him to believe, and comes out of the play scott free, while the main character Stensgaard is put to shame.