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Shakespear (1 Viewer)

M

MissMaria

I recently bought a 'Complete Works of Shakespear' set, and I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions on where to start. I want to start with the best ones... anybody have favorites? Least favorites? Must-read-at-all-costs?
 

Patrick Beverley

Senior Member
Do The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream, then work your way up to Hamlet.

Avoid anything named after a king (Henry V, Richard II etc.), with the exceptions of King Lear and Macbeth, which are both brilliant.
 

ClancyBoy

Senior Member
Do The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream, then work your way up to Hamlet.

Avoid anything named after a king (Henry V, Richard II etc.), with the exceptions of King Lear and Macbeth, which are both brilliant.

God, The Tempest? I thought that one was the most impenetrable of the lot. Still do. It's like reading Faust.

Agreed on Midsummer Night's Dream though. I'd also add Othello to the list of more accessible plays.
 
M

MissMaria

Cool

thanks :)

On a slightly related note.. I've heard a lot of 'You've got to read Shakespeare if you want to write ANYTHING worth writing' recently. Personally I tend to agree with this but I was wondering whet everyone else thought?
 

Shawn

WF Veterans
If you want to write in the English language, you need to have an idea of what storytelling is. Shakespeare is enduring because he made use of all the elements of language, storytelling, and theme to make his point.

Twelfth Night and Much Ado About Nothing are hilarious... I suppose you just have to get the humor.
 

Hodge

pliable
Senior Member
Do The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream, then work your way up to Hamlet.

Avoid anything named after a king (Henry V, Richard II etc.), with the exceptions of King Lear and Macbeth, which are both brilliant.



Yeah, let's just completely ignore the brilliant Falstaff except in The Merry Wives of Windsor.

The Henry IV plays are great.


I recommend just starting at the beginning.
 

Kest

Senior Member
Cool

thanks :)

On a slightly related note.. I've heard a lot of 'You've got to read Shakespeare if you want to write ANYTHING worth writing' recently. Personally I tend to agree with this but I was wondering whet everyone else thought?

I disagree. There are many better writers out there waiting to be read!
 

Patrick Beverley

Senior Member
Yeah, let's just completely ignore the brilliant Falstaff except in The Merry Wives of Windsor.

The Henry IV plays are great.
I'm forced to confess that I haven't read either of them, but on your recommendation, I will now.

Hodge said:
I recommend just starting at the beginning.
That would mean starting with Romeo and Juliet, I think. Not a bad place to begin.

Kest said:
I disagree. There are many better writers out there waiting to be read!
I know that it will sound pompous, but I can't leave it unsaid:

Better than Shakespeare? You what?

"Many" writers have written better than Shakespeare?

I can't think of one.

As to the attitude that 'you've got to read Shakespeare if you want to write anything worth writing' (cited by Miss Maria): it's probably possible to write well without having read Shakespeare, but I wouldn't recommend trying it. Frankly, I wouldn't recommend going through any kind of life without at least an abridged Macbeth or a film version of Twelfth Night to carry around in your mind. So much beautiful, daring writing; it's just a good thing to have experienced.

Yeah, that does sound pompous, but I believe it. Sorry.
 

superchase32

Senior Member
I dont think you have to read Shakespheare to be a good writer, if I had decided to be a writer I would evade him because he is too much of a good writer, all he would do is make me write inspired on his stories like many authors out there of television and movies.

I recommend Othello, it's absoloutely wonderful.
 
S

Soph

I don't think you necessarily have to read Shakespeare to be a good writer yourself, particularly if what you write is in a very different genre, such as science fiction. I do think that reading at least some Shakespeare, even if only his poetry, is a good idea. He writes so timelessly, and I think all writers can learn from this.

If it's your first time reading a Shakespeare play, I'd suggest one of the comedies - "Twelfth Night", "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Much Ado About Nothing" are some of my favourites. Then perhaps you could move onto something more serious, like "Macbeth" or "Hamlet". "Romeo and Juliet" is obviously another must-read! Perhaps you could just start at the beginning of your collection and work your way through. :)
 

Kest

Senior Member
I know that it will sound pompous, but I can't leave it unsaid:

Better than Shakespeare? You what?

"Many" writers have written better than Shakespeare?

I can't think of one.

Perhaps you have not read many. Try Agatha Christie, Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, Tolkien, Bronte sisters, Poe, G. Eliot, and Rushdie. You might find out what I am talking about.

Ideas much more interesting. And not at all boring as Shakespearian plays sometimes tend to be.
 

TruthSeeker

Senior Member
Perhaps you have not read many. Try Agatha Christie, Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, Tolkien, Bronte sisters, Poe, G. Eliot, and Rushdie. You might find out what I am talking about.

Ideas much more interesting. And not at all boring as Shakespearian plays sometimes tend to be.

It's hard to compare between those writers, each one is good at his/her work, its hard to say who's good or better, especially when some of them are writers of different genre.

In Shakespeare’s genre, if Shakespeare is not the first, he is definitely one of the top. Besides - when judging on writers work, it's good to put into consideration when was the work done. I mean it's crucial, because the writer has gone through many things in his/her life at that period that had a major influence at his/her work. so comparing Oliver Twist, The Secret Adversary, Beowulf, Lord of the Rings, Gilgamesh, Iliad or Othello is really hard, they are all nice - to me at least, each one has its own beauty, it’s own touch because each one sends a different message across and they were written differently – which is good to explore for the writer.

So it's really hard to say who is good or who is better.

It’s just my opinion though, and i’m sorry guys, i don't want this thread to be hijacked by this topic, and I am being part in this discussion. I apologies again.

Answering to the topic, i would agree with Clancyboy suggestion for the start. Yet Maria, you might find most of his work very admirable, and after all it’s a matter of taste.
 

Kest

Senior Member
So it's really hard to say who is good or who is better.

My point! So you can't be sure about Shakespeare being the best writer when there are so many good ones around. I don't know how people just go on ranting about Shakespeare being the best of all. It's outrageous and quite a stupid claim.
 

Shawn

WF Veterans
Shakespeare symbolizes English writing. It's that simple. He's viewed as the best because he represents everything that is the best about English culture.
 

Kest

Senior Member
Shakespeare symbolizes English writing. It's that simple. He's viewed as the best because he represents everything that is the best about English culture.


So do some other authors. I guess it's all about personal opinions.
 

biggles

Senior Member
Shakespeare wrote for the theatre- well that's pretty obvious isn't it. But the thing is he did have in mind an audience which would accomodate EVERYONE.
His plays were meant to BE PLAYED and seats were not specially reserved to eliminate the 'riff raff'. He was a playwright for the people regardless of their position and many a joke was enjoyed at the expense of the ruling class and vica versa.
So open to interpretation and still to this day. A living form which is best viewed rather than read word for word.
 
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