HAMLET is my favorite, and I'm not sure what it says about me that I enjoy tragedies most. I also like THE MERCHANT OF VENICE and ROMEO AND JULIET. Usually, I do not like Shakespeare's plays performed in modern dress, but I did like the movie of Romeo and Juliet starring Leo DiCaprio because, even though it was modernized, Shakespeare's language was used (though drastically condensed).
By the way, where do you stand on the raging controversy that Shakespeare did not actually write the plays bearing his name because he was too under-educated and under-traveled? That someone else wrote them and had them performed under the name of William Shakespeare? (I'm not expressing an opinion....just asking....)
I think skilled poets were very common in the 16th Century. Shakespeare's poems outside from his plays were very good. A poet does not necessarily require much education. It is probably not unlikely that Shakespeare did not develop the framewok for the plays, but rather took plays already in existence (or in various stages of completion) and applied his own prose to them. So the truth may be somewhere in the middle. But I don't know and have not reviewed any of the evidence. I have read Marlow's play Edward II. It is similar to others and Marlow died in the 1590s. Perhaps he faked his death to avoid creditors and became Shakespeare? Who knows?
I have always found Macbeth interesting. It is such a complex human story of guilt; manifested through madness and cruelty. I saw an interesting film adaptation of it recently starring Patrick Stewart.
My favorite comedy is either As You Like It, or Much Ado About Nothing. Kenneth Branagh's masterful film adaptations of those two plays impacted my perception of how delightful a comedy play can be (in a positive way).
My favorite tragedy is Hamlet, one of the best known and best developed plays in history. Mel Gibson's portrayal of Hamlet convinced me that the character was full of depth and conflict.
As you can probably see, I prefer to see Shakespeare performed. I've used film as the medium to interest my siblings and friends in the works of Shakespeare. Just picking up a play and reading it is a daunting task (although I've read all of his plays, and enjoyed them greatly).
When it comes to levels of characterization and meaning, Hamlet would be my choice.
Often, though, I enjoy watching a really juicy villain whose entire purpose is to mess things up: think Iago in Othello, one of my favorites. A brilliant performance of Richard III can bring out the both humor in the character (there's actually quite a bit of humor there) and the sorrows of his victims at the same time. So in terms of entertainment and use of language, Richard III is, hands-down, my favorite.
I have always paired Othello and Richard III together as well. Both villains seem to portray introverted personalities. Richard III is a great story for those with an ambitious nature. He uses intrigue, cruelty, and his intelligence to ascend the path toward kingship that he had cleverly outlined for himself. And like most ambitious climbers, he can be deeply insecure.
And then there is Othello; the story of Iago, who seeks to attain higher office and get revenge for imagined slights. He does this by manipulating others through gossip and two-faced scheming. Iago comes across as shy and he prefers to control the puppet strings from behind the scenes.
That is a very good point on both counts. Othello certainly isn't for everyone. But reading for pleasure is more fulfilling than reading for the stresses of grades in school. It was the setting that interested me most about Othello. The Venetian Republic, which controlled a commercial empire in the Mediterranean, was hiring Moorish mercenaries to fight against the Turks. Here, the Moorish commander secretly marries into one of the powerful families of Venice. One of the commander's conniving subalterns is passed over for promotion...and let the antics begin.
Unfortunately, I don't know if there is much out there in the way of film for those who choose not to read the story. The 1960s film version has not withstood the test of time. Instead of having an actual black actor play Othello, we see Lawrence Olivier in what seems to be deep, dark-blue body paint. He resembles a burn victim. I know there is a version from the 1990s starring Ken Branagh and Lawrence Fishburne, but it misses the recent trend directorsare in to have Shakespeare adaptations set in more contemporary time periods and costumes.
I agree. I find that when I'm forced to read something and have to analyze it for a paper/discussion it can sometimes take the fun out of reading.
I was forced to read Othelo in college and loved it. I found the characters to be interesting and I loved Iago...one of the best "bad guys" ever created. I'm also a big fan of dramatic irony which Shakespeare has in almost every play.
I must admit, I haven't read any of his plays since getting out of school.
Titus Andronicus--probably one of the best stories of trust, revenge, and cruelty. How can anyone go wrong with a play that begins with such a drastic miscalculation by the protagonist? After the victorious general heartlessly slaughters the favorite son of the Goth queen he has captured, he watches in horror as his emperor takes her as his new queen. From there, the queen's family and secret lover humiliate and murder Titus' family. But he "wins" in the end; murdering her remaining sons and baking them into pastries for her to eat unknowingly. It is an amazing story.
Such a difficult question! I've always preferred the comedies and tragedies to the histories. But to choose from these is still impossible! I think I have favourite parts/lines from different plays rather than favourite individual plays. I also think seeing a good production can really sway your opinion...Shakespeare's plays were never supposed to be read but watched after all! I love King Lear and I think Hamlet is a work of genius. But my favourite lines come from Othello: 'Perdition catch my soul for I do love thee, and when I love thee not, chaos is come again!' Perfection! The best performance I've ever seen was of 'As you like it' in Stratford by the R.S.C. And though many academics poured scorn, I think Luhrmann's 'Romeo and Juliet' was fantastic.
I see a lot of people mentioning Othello, which is great, because I absolutely adore that play. The character of Iago...gah, brilliant! Such a manipulative, devious, clever character. i also like using lines from that play (who doesn't love the line "I am not what I am"!); I often tell people they are telling "Lies! Damned, odious lies!" Heh.
There's a great production of Othello on DVD that is very Shakespearean -- that is, the set is very sparse, little in the way of props, very little movement to new areas. And it has Ian McKellen -- yes, Ian himself! -- as Iago. Very good.
I also do very much like Hamlet; again, some absolutely brilliant lines in it. When you see these plays performed, you can really appreciate the use of language. I remember watching the David Tennant version of Hamlet (another very good performance) and marveling particularly at a part where Hamlet it talking about a pipe and the playing of it (and the playing of people).
A Shakespeare play that I didn't like, however, is A Winter's Tale. I've only read it once, so I forget the names, but I remember the irrationality of the main guy drove me crazy. I think I was actually shouting out loud at him at some points (mostly calling him an idiot).
I would have thought an internet saavy person like yourself was well acquainted with some of the more common acronyms...Like TMI, ROFLMAO, you know like LOL. They are al kind'a silly...but grow on you when you want to save time typing. TMI is Too Much Info.
I studied a few Shakespeare plays at school, including 'Romeo and Juliet' for O' Level ~ many years ago. I then studied 'Hamlet' and 'The Tempest' for A' Level just recently.
I always loved 'Romeo and Juliet' ~ especially the Franco Zeffirelli film version ~ but I must admit, Hamlet really got me hooked. I saw David Tennant playing the lead in Stratford, and it was brilliant.
Got to say it would be Hamlet. Its such a good play that shows the transition from original forms of tragedy to a more modern, moral based society nicely. Shakespeare puts strong moral undertones into the play throughout, and this makes for an interesting read. And for anyone who is interested, I have an article on Hamlet currently up on Hubpages, if anyone would like to read an interesting essay.
The Merchant Of Venice... Shylock, what a negative character! He lends money to his Christian rival Antonio, setting the security at a pound of Antonio's flesh. When a bankrupt Antonio defaults on the loan, Shylock demands the pound of flesh, as revenge for Antonio having previously insulted and spat on him. This is just awesome! But there are many Shylocks in real world, born without love!
Good question. I would have to say ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ and ‘Hamlet.’ They are vastly different but Shakespeare always fascinates me…his incredible, amazing grasp and understanding human nature is unsurpassed. Every time I read one of his plays, I see and learn something new.
well considering that I haven't read all his plays, the ones that i have read i would have to say my two favorite ones are "romeo and juliet" and "macbeth." although i know in another forum, I criticized "romeo and juliet" for it's lack in originality, I do give credit for it considering how Shakespeare took a story that was done before and turned it into a timeless masterpiece; that even to this day is used as a formula for tragic love stories across various mediums.
Of course, the one shakespeare play I want to read someday would probably be "king lear" though, since I know Akira kurasawa's film, "Ran", was a adaptation of that play. Therefore, I'd be kind of curious to see what the similarity and differences are between them someday.
OMG!! I absolutely, positively, HATE the play, Othello, by Shakespeare!!The language isn't the problem, although it contributed. The problem is due to the overwhelming deceit and manipulation!! It was...
So this truly isn't about getting people to click on my hub, but I am basically writing my way through the Complete Works of Shakespeare and I just can't decide which one to do next, so I set a poll up on my hub today...