Actors playing roles in Shakespearean dramas often die rather unfortunate deaths, which is often complicated by long soliloquies following their fatal blows. It's the opposite of deaths in action movies, where people are typically shot and then conveniently die and get out of the way (unless they reawaken and try to shoot you, only to be felled by a sidekick). If you're stabbed, it's easy to play woozy and stricken as you wait for the blood to drain from your body. Poisoning is harder, though, unless you've got a good grasp of what the poison is. For instance, in Romeo & Juliet it doesn't specifically say what Romeo took. Could it be hebenon, the tool of Claudius? Perhaps hemlock, which served as Socrates' deadly stew. Maybe it was New Coke. Whatever the cause, the death has to be quick enough to not bore the audience, but slow enough to let you get all your lines in. It's not like Formula One, where you get to hold a press conference. We think we prefer sudden stabbing deaths to the long, drawn-out and overly dramtic affair described by Mobius_1.

Two legends, both alike in dignity,
Around our fair Earth, where we set our scene,
From ancient spy scandals to new mutiny,
Where civil hearings make civil honours unclean.
From forth the fatal pits of these two foes
Four star-cross'd rivals risk their life;
Whole misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their factions' strife.
Their spirited dashes of their care-craft'd cars,
And the continuance of their squadrons' disdain,
Which, but the world's end, nought could scar,
Is now the two hours' traffic on our week-end;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.

A plague on both your pits.

Photo Credit: Prime Productions