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There's a hole in the world like a great black pit, and it's filled with people who are filled with sh-t, and the vermin of the world inhabit it.
~ Sweeney Todd
Sweeney Todd, formerly known as Benjamin Barker, is the villainous titular protagonist of the 1979 musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and the 2007 live-action film of the same name. He is a mentally unstable barber who desires to get revenge on the corrupt Judge Turpin for destroying his family.
Starting off as a barber named Benjamin Barker, he was living peacefully with his wife Lucy and infant daughter Johanna. However, a local judge named Turpin lusts for Lucy, and has Benjamin arrested on a false charge and sent away to Australia (which served as a British penal colony). Turpin invites Lucy to a formal party at his manor under the pretense of freeing Barker, but instead he overpowers and rapes her. Filled with grief, Lucy poisons herself with arsenic and subsequently goes insane while Turpin adopts Johanna as his ward.
Fifteen years later, Benjamin (going by the name Sweeney Todd) manages to return to London with the help of a merchant sailor Anthony Hope. He rents a room from his former landlady Mrs. Lovett, and opens a barbershop while biding his time to get revenge on Judge Turpin.
When Todd bests a con man named Adolfo Pirelli in a public display of shaving skill, Pirelli reveals that he is Todd's former assistant Davy Collins, and attempts to blackmail him into giving half of his profits, otherwise he would expose Todd's identity to Turpin's right-hand Beadle Bamford. In a rage, Todd kills Pirelli and hides his corpse in a trunk. Todd and Mrs. Lovett then took in a orphan named Tobias Ragg, who had been Pirelli's assistant.
Just then, Turpin comes in for a shave, wanting to look his best so as to marry Johanna. Just as Todd is about to slit the judge's throat, Anthony enters the shop announcing that he and Johanna are in love. An enraged Turpin leaves, ruining Todd's chance for revenge. Enraged, Todd vows to kill as many people as he can while waiting for another chance to kill Turpin, reasoning that he would be punishing the wicked and putting everyone else out of their misery. Mrs. Lovett, who owns an unsuccessful pie shop, gets the idea to bake the remains of Todd's victims into meat pies. Their plan is a success: Todd takes out his rage on dozens of customers, and Mrs. Lovett's pie shop becomes wildly successful selling pies secretly made of human flesh.
In the story's climax, Todd kills Bamford and lures the Judge back to his barber shop under the pretense of having persuaded Johanna to marry him. A beggar woman comes into the shop, and Todd kills her to keep her from getting in the way. He offers Turpin a free shave, reveals his true identity, and stabs Turpin to death, finally getting his revenge. In the meantime, Anthony manages to free Johanna from an asylum following the death of its owner Jonas Fogg.
When Todd goes to the bakehouse to help Mrs. Lovett dispose of the bodies, he discovers the beggar woman is actually Lucy. When he confronts Mrs. Lovett, she admits that she let him think Lucy was dead because Lovett is in love with him. Todd pretends to forgive her, then waltzes Lovett over towards her large pie oven, where he throws her into the fire. Tobias, who had come to love Mrs. Lovett like a mother, comes up from behind a resigned Todd and slits his throat, leaving Todd to bleed to death over his wife's corpse.
Mrs. Lovett and Sweeney Todd portrayed by Patti Lupone and George Hearn in 2001.
Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton as Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett in Chichester Festival Theatre's 2012 Production.