Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Shakespeare list...

Yeah, finally a list of Shakespeare and his plays... No, I'm not going to list all the plays. If you wonder what they all are, check out the following "The complete works of William Shakespeare"...
I'm going to list my favorite plays.

I had a little talk with a friend, and we both enjoy Shakespeare, reading the plays and all. Now, on a global scale this might not be strange... But apart from myself I don't know that many who actually would read a Shakespearean play just like that...Pretty special if you ask me!
So you might say that this friend is rare.
And this exchanging of experiences made me write this entry.

Let's get started with Much Ado About Shakespeare's 10 favorite plays... No, wait, let's make that 11...Hang on, 12...(Yeah, I like them all, but that wouldn't make a very good list, now would it?)

The Winter's Tale
The story was taken/stolen/borrowed from a pastoral romance called Pandosto. But in stead of killing everybody (like in the original), Shakespeare gave it the real Hollywood ending. Waking people up from the dead, reuniting family after years of being lost, and teaching the stubborn king a lesson... It's the sweetest of stories, and though it has a lot of psychological play in the first three acts, and the time passing between act three and four is sixteen years, it is a perfectly reasonable story presented in a lovely way.

The story about King Cymbeline and all the drama in his and his daughter's (and his kidnapped son's) lives are really terribly Shakespearean in style. What I do find interesting with this play is the placing it holds in The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare. Many are of the opinion that this particular play holds most of the codes supposedly hidden in Shakespeare's works. It is a comedy placed among the tragedies. You have Anthony and Cleopatra, Cymbeline and then Titus Andronicus.
I haven't gone searching for codes, as I consider myself a true Shakespearean, but it might be interesting to those among you searching for these things. Look in Cymbeline... And preferably in the First Folio. I've read a really interesting book by a Norwegian writer about this. The book is called The Organist, and the author is Erlend Loe. If nothing else, it's a good story.
I't's also assumed that Cymbeline is one of the last plays Shakespeare wrote. It wasn't published until after his death (according to my sources...)

Romeo and Juliet
Everybody in the world refer to Romeo and Juliet at one point in their lives, and I have a growing feeling most of you have no clue what the story is about. When talking about a lover,  mostly then a serial lover, they are referred to as "Romeos"... And I don't think you could find a more monogamous man in the history of literature than Romeo Montague.
Yes they are passionate, yes they break decorum big time by going to bed...But having found each other their search is over and they look no further. So Romeo is sure a big romantic, but he's no womanizer.
I adore this story. I've read it many times, I've seen it many times (and in different versions), and it renders me in tears every time.

A Midsummer Night's Dream
This was probably my first ever meeting with Shakespeare (when having a good think about my sordid past), and then through Donald Duck...Go figure.
I am completely lost in the imaginative story that is A Midsummer night's Dream. Is it a dream, or does it happen? I'd like to think that it happens, but the human participants has to explain it somehow, and dubs it a dream. I wish I was Titania... Then I would make magic happen, to whatever man of my dreams :-)

Henry V
This is one of the historical plays. And you should know there are three categories when talking about Shakespearean plays. The Comedies, the Tragedies and the Historical plays (at least according to my professor... and I trust her to the end).
Henry V is about the king who went against the French.
Back in Shakespearean days a lot of entertainment for the masses was available at a given price. A prostitute would cost about the same as a fighting match or a play. So what did Shakespeare do? He topped his play with the best swords fight in the history of plays, and then even a wedding. So for the price of one, they got all three... No wonder he was popular.

Witches and the Devil, and plotting and the murdering of a king, and mental madness and dramatic flaws and scapegoats and catharsis... Macbeth is a classical tragedy, leaving nothing to chance.
"How did you dare to trade and traffic with Macbeth in riddles and affairs of death;"

The Merchant of Venice
I adore, to the point of feeling like I have to enter a church or something, the way Shakespeare manages to trick his audience. The first time I read The Merchant of Venice, he had me fooled. I actually thought Shylock would win... I should have known the women would take matters into their own hands and save the day! I think I'm not far off when I claim Shakespeare was a feminist... He seemed to like strong women.

As You Like It
This is one of the most beautiful stories I know. Obviously I think some of the men are a bit silly not recognizing a girl dressed up as a boy, but then again, the outfit might have been a good one. When Rosalind gets her That's the way I hope my future love life will be like. It's painfully romantic... It's almost a beautiful agony...

This probably should be higher up, but then there would be no room for the three coming listings. Apart from the ones about to come, I think Tempest is my favorite play. It has it all. Spirits, comedians, supernatural, grief, absolution, and love...
Top five is a collection of the best stories the world has ever seen.

I don't think I'll add more on the Prince of Denmark than I've already written. Check out both my entries on the troubled man. This story will live forever.

Much Ado About Nothing
If I can't have a love like Orlando, then I want a love like Benedict. Witty, funny, heart of gold, and loyal. Loyal till death.
And I'll behave like Beatrice...
Much Ado About Nothing is just that, a lot of fuzz over nothing, or anything. And it's all resolved in the end.

I really can't start to tell you how much I enjoy Othello. The fact that Verdi made it into one of the most beautiful operas in the world is one of the reasons why this story brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.
I can totally relate to Othello trusting his "friend" Iago, because if you can't trust your friends, then life isn't worth living. I think it's bold to shed some light on how the matters between a husband and a wife shouldn't be all that private, especially when talking about domestic violence. I think it's beautiful how Desdemona knows she'll lose her life, yet she stays with Othello. That is either incredibly brave or fabulously stupid. I'll stick to her being brave, because in the end I think Iago would have egged Othello on until he finally hunted Desdemona down and killed her, so her staying is a part of inevitability.
I think this story is valid today, both in terms of racism and domestic violence. And the love, and story within the story... oh my word, this is art!

No comments:

Post a Comment