Is This Character From the Bible or a Shakespeare Play?

By: Elizabeth Lavis
Estimated Completion Time
5 min
Is This Character From the Bible or a Shakespeare Play?
Image: Wiki Commons by Edwin Henry Landseer

About This Quiz

Both the Bible and Shakespeare's prolific collection of dramas and comedies contain plenty of characters who are totally memorable and one of a kind. From cruel, genocidal kings to helpful heavenly forces that intervene at exactly the right moment, both the Bible and Shakespeare's plays are full of storylines that keep us entertained and engaged.

If you're a big fan of The Bard, or you've read your New and Old Testament from cover to cover, we have a challenge for you. We've collected some of the most influential and erratic characters from both Biblical and Shakespearean stories, and it's up to you to tell us where they've come from.

Sure, you remember Jesus from the New Testament, but do you recall the names of his most loyal and trusted advisors? Similarly, we have no doubt that you know the name of lovestruck teen queen Juliet, but who can remember the rest of the bloodthirsty Capulet clan? Both the Bible and Shakespeare's catalog of work are populated with otherworldly beings, so can you determine which helper from beyond belongs in what story? If you're a scholar and a poet, it's time to show off your skills with this challenging character quiz. Let's get started!

Cain slaying Abel Despite his best efforts, Cain was never as good as his brother, so he killed him. Was this the work of Shakespeare or a Bible story?
The Bible
Cain tried and tried, but he never was as good as his brother Abel. God favored Abel, enraging the jealous Cain so he killed his brother and became the first murderer in the Bible.
Shakespeare

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Queen Jezabel Being Punished by Jehu There are no shortage of evil characters in both the Bible and Shakespeare, but only one was thrown from a window and eaten by dogs. Who was she?
Jezebel from the Bible
Jezebel is one of the big bad female characters in the Bible. After orchestrating scores of massacres against God's chosen people, she was tossed out of a window and eaten by stray dogs.
Ophelia from Shakespeare's "Hamlet"

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Puck and Fairies from A Midsummer Nights Dream A clever being makes mischief on a midsummer night. Is Puck from the Bible or a Shakespeare play?
The Bible
Shakespeare
Puck is one of the pivotal characters in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." He's usually presented as a sprite or fairy, and gets his kicks by intervening in the lives of the other characters.

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Lady Macbeth She had nightmares where the blood simply wouldn't wash off her hands. Was Lady Macbeth a Biblical queen or a creation of William Shakespeare?
The Bible
Shakespeare
Lady Macbeth is one of the most important characters in the Shakespearean tragedy, "Macbeth." One of the most famous scenes of the play shows her trying in vain to wash blood from her hands.

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Portia from The Merchant of Venice In the far-away city of Venice, this beautiful and quick-witted protagonist had her pick of suitors. Who are we talking about?
Esther from the Bible
Portia from "The Merchant of Venice"
"The Merchant of Venice" is not one of Shakespeare's more well-known plays, but it is certainly a gem. Portia plays the protagonist; a beautiful and quick-witted character who finds a suitor.

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St. John the Baptist Preaching This wise prophet lived in the desert and factored heavily into the later part of the story. Who was he?
John the Baptist from the Bible
John the Baptist was a prophet and friend of Jesus in the New Testament. He was known for being a devout follower of Christianity, as well as a wise sage who spent plenty of time isolated in a desert.
Othello from "Othello"

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The Coat of Many Colours Joseph's fabulous coat of many colors earned him the jealousy of his brothers, but he got the last laugh. Was this Shakespeare or the Bible?
The Bible
Joseph's story has been duplicated several times in pop culture, including the hit musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." His prophetic dreams made him valuable to the Pharaoh and saved his life.
Shakespeare

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Desdemona and Othello Which expert manipulator persuaded the Moor of Venice that his wife was cheating on him?
Mark from the Bible
Iago from "Othello"
Iago is one of the most detailed and well-written villains in Shakespeare. He uses his manipulative skills to convince Othello, the Moor of Venice, that Desdemona was stepping out.

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Brutus and his companions after the battle of Philippi Brutus is pulled in two directions: loyalty to his friend versus loyalty to his country. He chooses country. Is his tale from the Bible or a Shakespeare play?
The Bible
Shakespeare
One of the most famous lines in Shakespeare's "Julius Ceasar" is when Caesar utters the words "Et tu Brute?" meaning, "Even you, Brutus?" Brutus is a conflicted and complicated character.

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The Calling of the Apostles Peter and Andrew This skeptical fisherman quickly saw the light and became an apostle. Who was he?
Peter from the Bible
Peter the fisherman quickly became one of the most pivotal characters in the New Testament of the Bible. He has the distinction of being one of only 12 apostles and a close friend of Jesus.
Tybalt from "Romeo and Juliet"

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Esau selling his birthright to Jacob Esau was tricked into giving up his birthright and inheritance for a bowl of soup. Was he a character from Shakespeare or the Bible's New Testament?
The Bible
Esau was the simple elder son of Issac, who preferred spending time in the woods to mulling over his inheritance, so it should come as no surprise that he gave it all up for a bowl of soup.
Shakespeare

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Hamlet tries to show his mother Gertrude his father's ghost This brooding King of Denmark simply couldn't get over the death of his father and suspected foul play. He was right. Who was he?
David from the Bible
Hamlet from "Hamlet"
Hamlet was the first character to suspect that something was rotten in the state of Denmark. Hamlet's father was murdered by his uncle, and he was the youthful king who unraveled the plot.

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Jesus at Herod's Court Cruel King Herod ruled Judea and mandated that all baby boys be executed so his throne wouldn't be threatened. Was this villain Biblical or of Shakespearean lore?
The Bible
King Herod was one of the early villains of the New Testament of the Bible. When he heard about the birth of Jesus, Herod decreed that all baby boys in Judea be killed so that he could keep his throne.
Shakespeare

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Miriam watching over her infant brother Moses The prophetess Miriam saves an infant from the Nile River and changes the course of history. Did this happen in Shakespeare or the Bible?
The Bible
Miriam was one of the most important characters in the biblical book of Exodus. Known as "Miriam the Prophetess," she was responsible for making sure that Moses was rescued from the Nile River.
Shakespeare

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Judas being paid the 30 pieces of silver Did the original frenemy Judas sell out his best friend for 30 pieces of silver in the Bible or Shakespeare?
The Bible
Judas' betrayal of Jesus for 30 pieces of silver is so well-known that his mere name is slang for someone who will stab you in the back. An original apostle, Judas gave in to his greed.
Shakespeare

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Orsino and Viola This shipwrecked orphan went undercover as a boy to escape detection. Who was this clever character?
Ruth from the Bible
Viola from "Twelfth Night"
Viola is one of Shakespeare's most resourceful and well-developed characters. In "Twelfth Night," she finds herself shipwrecked and decides to disguise herself as a boy to roam the city.

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Christ in front of Pilate Pontius Pilate meted out his famous punishment: death by crucifixion. Did this happen in Shakespeare or the Bible?
The Bible
Pontius Pilate was the governor of Judaea during Biblical times, and he was responsible for sentencing Jesus Christ to crucifixion. His sentencing set the popular Easter story in motion.
Shakespeare

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David vs. Goliath He triumphed against the giant Goliath with only a slingshot and a rock. Who was this hero?
David from the Bible
The David and Goliath story is one of the Bible's best examples of the little guy triumphing over a giant bully. Armed with only a slingshot and a rock, David bests Goliah and goes on to rule.
Mercutio from "Romeo and Juliet"

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Cordelia's Farewell King Lear's daughters all curry his favor to try to get his land. Did this familial manipulation happen in Shakespeare or the Bible?
The Bible
Shakespeare
King Lear's daughters are all greedy for his land and power in this Shakespearean tragedy that showcases all-too-familiar family dynamics. It's an often-overlooked but brilliant work.

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Malvolio and the Countess Malvolio is a pompus antagonist and bit of comedic relief in a cautionary tale from the Bible or a Shakespearean comedy. Which one is it?
The Bible
Shakespeare
Malvolio is one of the minor characters in "Twelfth Night," but anyone who has seen the play is sure to find him memorable. Arrogant, pompous and totally in love with himself, he is such comic relief!

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The Assassination of Julius Ceasar This king might not have been perfect, but did he actually deserve to be murdered by his former allies?
King Saul of the Bible
Julius Caesar of "Julius Caesar"
Shakespeare went straight to the pages of real Roman history for his popular tragedy "Julius Caesar." This play chronicles the real-life events that led up to the death of Julius Caesar at the hands of his trusted advisors and friends.

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Crossing of the Red Sea Inspired by a burning bush, he led his people out of slavery and to the chosen land. Who was this epic leader?
Moses from the Bible
Moses is one of the most famous characters from the Old Testament of the Bible. He famously led his people out of Egyptian slavery and to the promised land, dividing the Red Sea in the process.
Casca from "Julius Caesar"

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Othello and Desdemona Desdemona got caught in the middle of vicious rumors about her fidelity. Is her tale of woe penned by Shakespeare or from the Bible?
The Bible
Shakespeare
Desdemona is one of the principal characters in "Othello" and the subject of Iago's vicious rumors about her fidelity. She was married to the principal character of the play: Othello himself.

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Amazon queen Hippolyta Was it Shakespearean lore or a Bible story where Amazon queen Hippolyta was supposed to be married on a balmy summer night?
The Bible
Shakespeare
Hippolyta is a minor character in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," but she remains a true William Shakespeare fan favorite. Her wedding sets the stage for all of the events of the play.

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Samson and Delilah She was tasked with seeking out the source of Samson's strength, which happened to be his hair! What femme fatale are we talking about?
Delilah from the Bible
Delilah was an Old Testament femme fatale who was tasked with finding out the source of Samson's strength. Since he was smitten with her, he told and she used it against him. Oh, love!
Helena from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

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The Weird Sisters Both the Bible and Shakespearean lore are full of prophets, but only one includes a story about the "weird sisters." Which was it?
The Bible
Shakespeare
In "Macbeth," the three witches, or "weird sisters," predict the rise of Macbeth and act as harbingers for many of the events that happen in the play. They are based on the three fates of mythology.

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Daniel in the Lions' Den He was thrown into the lion's den and survived, thanks to powerful intervention. Who was this lucky man?
Daniel from the Bible
In the story, Daniel was thrown into the lion's den with the expectation that he would be consumed by the giant predators, but he emerged unscathed because the angels had shut the mouths of the lions.
MacDuff from "Macbeth"

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Rosalind, As You Like It Rosalind must deal with the banishment of her father and the disruption of the kingdom. Are we talking about Shakespeare or the Bible?
The Bible
Shakespeare
Rosalind is the primary female protagonist of the Shakespearean play "As You Like It." This popular festival play is actually a comedic masterpiece and Rosalind is a developed and intriguing character.

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Marc Antony's Oration at Caesar's Funeral This former friend of Caesar had to choose between his country and his loyalty. Who was he?
King David from the Bible
Mark Antony from Shakespeare
Mark Antony is one of William Shakespeare's most complicated characters. Although he prided himself on being a great friend to Julius Caesar, he really only was looking out for himself.

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Esther talking to Mordecai Esther's quick thinking saved her city. Was this story a creation of William Shakespeare or the Bible?
The Bible
Queen Esther was one of the most important rulers of the Old Testament, and she was responsible for foiling a plan to kill all of the Jewish people in her city, thus saving their lives.
Shakespeare

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Romeo and Juliet Which star-struck teenage lover's story ended in tragedy?
Abraham from the Bible
Romeo from "Romeo and Juliet"
The story of Romeo and Juliet has been billed as a love story for the ages, but realistically it chronicles the rash behavior of two teenagers from warring families. Still, it's one of Shakespeare's best works.

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Claudius and Gertrude Claudius wanted to ascend the throne, so he murdered his own brother. Is this tragic story from the Bible or Shakespeare?
The Bible
Shakespeare
Claudius is the main antagonist of Shakespeare's "Hamlet." His desire to ascend the throne and wed Gertrude led him to poison his own brother, only to be found out by Prince Hamlet.

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Mary Magdalena Mary Magdalene was a primary adviser and contemporary of the apostles. Was she famous in the Bible or a Shakespearean play?
The Bible
Mary Magdalene is one of the most important characters in the Bible's New Testament. She was a contemporary of the apostles, an adviser to Jesus and was present for the resurrection.
Shakespeare

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Juliet This meddlesome cousin disproved of Juliet's love interest. Who was he?
Noah from the Bible
Tybalt from "Romeo and Juliet"
In "Romeo and Juliet," Tybalt is not fond of the teenage union and viciously defends the honor of his house, the Capulets, against what he perceives to be an insult against his family.

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The Sacrifice of Isaac Isaac was saved in the nick of time from being murdered by his father. Was this lucky son a character in the Bible or a Shakespearean play?
The Bible
Isaac was the son of Sarah and Abraham in the Bible. Old Testament God demanded that Abraham show his loyalty by murdering the child on the rock, which Abraham was prepared to do until God called it off.
Shakespeare

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