Here's a subject I've often given thought to here and there, and it clicked with me today that it would make an interesting topic of discussion. Sometimes Shakespeare tells us exactly how old a character is - Juliet being 13 coming immediately to mind. But what about when he doesn't? "How old is Romeo?" and "How old is Hamlet?" are two of the most popular queries on the site.
So, here's the game. Pick a character whose age is undetermined, and discuss how a change in age would effect the play. Macbeth, for instance. Is he a 20-something up and comer who is immediately thrust into the King's good graces, and cracks under the pressure? It's apparent that the Macbeth's have had and lost a child, after all - something that coul be indicative of a new, young marriage. Or is he a 40 or 50 something who's been toiling away for the decades, who finally worked his way so close to the top that it takes only a little nudge from the witches to make him think he can have it all? (I know, if we assume Macbeth is supposed to be a real person we can figure out what age he's supposed to be. But I don't recall any specific evidence from Shakespeare where he tells us how old the man is?)
Once upon a time I asked this question about King Lear's Kent, because I thought that an age difference there would be fascinating -- is Kent a young man standing up to the king, or is he the king's lifelong faithful servant who can't stand by and let such an injustice pass? Unfortunately, as show in the original post, Shakespeare does tell us how old he wants Kent to be. So we're not allowed to muck too much with that one.