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William Shakespeare Literature: Some of My Best Choices

Updated on October 20, 2016
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My Best Choices of Literature

I enjoyed most literature of what was presented in class.

My best choices of William Shakespeare as follows:

Romeo and Juliet

Merchant of Venice

Macbeth

Othello

Midsummer Night’s Dream

Hamlet

My fascination with each script gave me a greater opportunity to enjoy literature from a different perspective.

Learning the English standard of education opened my eyes to a better learning attitude and I enjoyed English best.

Every aspect part of the English language was interesting to me and I looked forward to going to school each day.

The dramatization of literature gave me more to act out and besides Romeo and Juliet and The Merchant of Venice my best.

Don't get me wrong I had taste for the others the above-mentioned but there was something about the two selected that energized something in me.

The following are my best choices.

  • Romeo and Juliet:

A romantic tragic play written by William Shakespeare during the time of 1595.

The action is set in Verona, where bitter hatred divides the powerful Montague and Capulet families. Romeo who is the young Montague, and Juliet the young Capulet they fall in love and secretly get married. However, Romeo is banished for dueling and he and Juliet have just one night together.

Juliet's parents are meanwhile planning the marriage of Juliet to Count Paris. In desperation she consults the friar who married her to Romeo.

She arranges to take a potion which makes her appear dead while the friar turns and drinks poison at her side.

She wakes and, finding him dead, kills herself with his dagger. When the two families realize what has happened, they then vow to end their tragic feud.

When Juliet utters the well-known exclamation ‘Romeo, Romeo!' Wherefore art thou Romeo?'' she is lamenting Romeo's name because it ties him to the Montague family.

''Wherefore,'' means, ''why.''

The 1957 musical West Side Story transferred the tale of Romeo and Juliet onto the streets of New York.

  • The Merchant of Venice:

A play written between the years of 1596 and 1598. A Venetian merchant, Antonio borrows money from Shylock, a Jew, to help his friend Bassanio to woo Portia. If Antonio fails to repay the money on time, he is to forfeit a pound of his flesh.

Bassanio marries Portia, but Antonio's ships are wrecked and he is not able to repay the debt. Portia, disguised as a lawyer, appeals to Shylock to have mercy on Antonio, but he refuses.

She concedes the moneylender's right to Antonio's flesh but points out that the agreement does not permit him to spill a single drop of blood. Outwitted, Shylock gives up the case and, as punishment for conspiring against the life of a Venetian he is required to become a Christian and leave his money to his runaway daughter Jessica.

Although the play reflects the anti-Semitic attitudes of the time, it also contains a moving speech in which Shylock asserts his common humanity:

''I am a Jew,'' he says. Hath not a Jew hands, organs dimensions senses, affections passions?''

  • Macbeth:

A tragedy dated in the time of 1606 and the events are based on historical events of the eleventh century.

The Scottish nobleman, Macbeth, encouraged by the prophecy of three witches and by his ambitious wife, murders the king, Duncan, and usurps the throne. This is to maintain his ill-gotten position.

Macbeth is driven to increasingly desperate measures and arranges the murders of his friend Banquo and the family of his enemy Macduff. At the end, Lady Macbeth loses her mind and dies and Macbeth is killed in battle by Macduff.

  • Many lines from Macbeth have become familiar expressions:

''The milk of human kindness.''

''Is this a dagger which I see before me?

''The witches' chant 'Double, double, toil and trouble.''

''Out damned spot!''

''Lay on Macduff.''

Within theatrical circles, superstition precludes any mention of the title ''Macbeth'; it is always called the Scottish play.

  • Othello:

Another Tragic play written by the popular William Shakespeare.

It was written between in 1602 and 1604.

Othello, a Moor, has command of the Venetian forces in Cyprus. However, the villain lago cunningly convinces Othello that demons, his beautiful and faithful wife, has committed adultery with Cassio, a lieutenant.

Consumed by jealousy, Othello murders Desdemona by smothering her while she is in bed.

When he realizes his error and lago's malice, Othello kills himself.

  • Midsummer Night's Dream:

A comedy play written in 1595. Four lovers spend a night in a wood outside. Athens is where the fairy king and queen, Oberon and Titania, have had an argument.

To punish Titania. Oberon gets the sprite Puck to drop the juice of a magic herb on her eyes while she sleeps so that she will fall in love with the first thing she sees when she wakes.

This turns out to be the weaver Bottom wearing a donkey's head mask for a play rehearsal.

Puck also uses the herb on the human lovers who unfortunately set eyes on the wrong partners first. When Titania and Oberon are reconciled, Oberon releases the human lovers from the spell.

Well-known lines from the play include:

''Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania, and ''Lord, what fools these mortals be!''

  • Hamlet:

Hamlet was written during the year of 1599-1601. Before the play opens, the king of Denmark has been murdered by his brother. Claudius, who has taken the throne and married the queen, Gertrude.

The ghost of the dead king visits his son, Prince Hamlet, and urges him to avenge the murder. Hamlet, tormented by this revelation, appears to be mad and cruelly rejects Ophelia, whom he loved. Using a troupe of visiting players to act out his father's death, the prince is able to prompt Claudius to expose his guilt.

Hamlet then kills Ophelia's father Polonius, mistaking him for Claudius and Claudius tries, but fails, to have Hamlet killed. Ophelia drowns herself in grief, and her brother Laertes fights a duel with Hamlet.

The play ends with a death by poison of the main characters and the arrival of Fortinbras, prince of Norway, who assumes control.

Hamlet contains several fine examples of SOLILOQUY, such as Hamlet's speech lamenting his mother's hasty remarriage and Claudius's reign, which opens 'O! That this too too solid flesh would melt,'' and 'TO BE OR NOT TO BE!''

Much-quoted lines include ''Neither a borrower nor a lender be.''

''Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.''

''Brevity is the soul of wit.''

''To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there is the rub.''

''The lady doth protest too much, methinks,''

''Alas, poor Yorick.''

My favorite two plays were Romeo and Juliet and The Merchant of Venice I did enjoy the others as well we had to act out these plays and that was my precious time in performing the plays of such great talent.

The old school days were my best times.

A writer deserves credit for all the hard work produced and William Shakespeare was one of those great writers.

The wide range of literary works has gained the interest of many readers around around the world and I am one of those who still finds the work of this talented writer so fascinating and interesting.

Writing is from the heart and the way one chooses to express oneself makes all the differences from the meaningful quotes to simple texts.

Whether based on historical facts or not the plays have been extraordinary.

Poetry too has touched my emotions.

An English Writer

Literature is Enjoyable

Did you enjoy reading Literary Works by William Shakespeare?

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My Choices of Literature

About the Author: A South African Writer who  has great interest in William Shakespeare's Literary works.
About the Author: A South African Writer who has great interest in William Shakespeare's Literary works. | Source

© 2014 Devika Primić

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    • DDE profile image
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      Devika Primić 22 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      suzettenaples thank you for reading my work. I appreciate your presence.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 22 months ago from Taos, NM

      Devika: I love Shakespeare's plays and especially the ones you have listed. I have taught several of them and my students have enjoyed th too. You give good summaries of the plays here. I am glad to know another fan of Shakespeare!

    • DDE profile image
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      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi Cheryl greatly mentioned and so true thank you for your time

    • Cherylann Mollan profile image

      Cherylann Mollan 3 years ago from India

      Hi DDE! You really have picked up the Bard's best plays. The Merchant of Venice and King Lear are my favorites. The best part about his plays, I think, is the immediacy of the plots, the range of human emotions that are touched upon and also the questions they make you ask about life. So dynamic are his themes that they will always to relevant to us, no matter which time period we belong to. :)

    • DDE profile image
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      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi grand old lady good choice for you, I enjoyed reading and acting out the plays of Shakespeare thank you very much for showing up here I appreciate your time and effort.

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      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      This is a very nice outline of some of Shakespeare's greatest works. It also makes me realize that he had some really interesting plots. I read all the stories you mentioned, but tended to get lost by the Olde English which I guess is part of the entire experience of Shakespeare. I realize there that more than a good story, there is a purpose to all of it -- including the English used. It brings us back to that time and makes us feel the sensibility of the story on more levels than one. BTW, my favorite was The Taming of the Shrew. I figured, if I can't get Shakespeare, at least pick the story that can make me laugh.

    • DDE profile image
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      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi FlourishAnyway so glad you came by here I appreciate your continuous support.

    • DDE profile image
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      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hello ubanichijioke from Lagos I had great interest in the plays of William Shakespeare and still do.Thank you for sharing your thoughts here good luck on that editing.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      I have never been a Shakespeare devotee but certainly appreciate the value of his contribution to literature. I enjoyed that you hit upon the high points here and the quotes that infiltrate our language.

    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 3 years ago from Lagos

      Wow! your summary was without doubt apt and excellently done. at-my-very-before, i am currently editing about five Shakespearean plays adapted to novel form. it has been a sweet ride so far for me...

      this was wonderfully rendered...

    • DDE profile image
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      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      cecileportilla thank you for sharing your thoughts on William Shakespeare Literature: Some of My Best Choices.

    • DDE profile image
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      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi Suzanne I had a great understanding and that is what allowed me the great pleasure of reading and acting out the plays. I do agree with the hard to understand in the beginning it was but after awhile it all worked out for me Thank you very much for commenting.

    • cecileportilla profile image

      Cecile Portilla 3 years ago from West Orange, New Jersey

      Hi DDE:

      Thanks for the presentation on William Shakespeare. My favorite was Romeo and Juliet!

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 3 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      William Shakespeare literature is hard to understand initially, but fantastic when you can read between the lines and understand the jokes!

    • DDE profile image
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      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi Victoria you are so right about the great lines and the work of this talented writer coming to life in all the plays presented thank you very much for commenting here I appreciate your time and efforts.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      There are some great lines from Shakespeare, that's for sure I always liked some of Shakespeare's works until I went to graduate school and took a Shakespeare course with a wonderful professor. He brought even the Henry plays alive and made them interesting. It was fascinating to hear him point out all that went into those plays. My appreciation for Shakespeare bloomed that semester!

    • DDE profile image
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      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      DeborahNeyens interesting comment not every individual can do the same thank you for commenting.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 3 years ago from Iowa

      I try to read Shakespeare but just can't get into the writing. I prefer to see the plays on stage or the movies based on his works. Great hub, though.

    • DDE profile image
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      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi kidscrafts another weekend and so much to do. Thank you very much for sharing our thoughts on my hubs.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      I never study Shakespeare at school because I was in a French school. I study a lot of French authors. I think I would appreciate better interpretation of the work of Shakespeare than the original text.

      Enjoy your weekend, Devika!

    • DDE profile image
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      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      MsDora thank you very much for commenting on my hubs have a lovely weekend.

    • DDE profile image
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      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      billbuc thank you for sharing your valuable comments at my hubs you are one of my faithful supporters.

    • DDE profile image
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      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      billbuc thank you for sharing your valuable comments at my hubs you are one of my faithful supporters.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Devika, I like your Shakespeare choices. Like Jodah, I preferred watching the dramas --in live theaters. However, reading the works are challenging to our appreciation and interpretation of good literature. Thank you for highlighting them.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I have to admit that I have never enjoyed Shakespeare, but I do enjoy your work, so well done. Have a great weekend.

    • DDE profile image
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      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi Jodah it is true about the modern versions for a better view. Thank you fro sharing your thoughts on William Shakespeare Literature: Some of My Best Choices.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      This is a good review on the works of Shakespeare DDE. I really could never get into his works, until I saw a few made into more modern versions as movies etc. Though Romeo and Juliet was a touching love story.