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I can't understand how anyone would hate Othello! It's certainly far from his considered 'boring' plays! It's a brilliant insight into jealousy and such. Such a great plot!

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Agreed, definitely anything but boring. Personally I find it excruciating to watch because the emotions are so well described it almost hurts me physically; but surely such expressive power is to Will's credit!

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That's a very good point about actually feeling hurt yourself whilst watching the somewhat horrific plot unfold, i agree! It's very unnerving and distressing.

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Titus Andronicus is a bloodbath.

Succinct and to the point, my friend. Succinct and to the point. :friends0:

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Am halfway between damning and praying him at the moment; I'm meant to be discussing a dissertation plan with my supervisor tomorrow, I've grown disillusioned with my topic and I can't think of another one *throws a wobbly*. William, are you listening?!

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... William did listen; the heads of my course have given the green light to my new and exciting if slightly unorthodox dissertation project: I have been given leave to creatively translate Shakespeare into Italian (my other mother-tongue)!! Granted, I need to limit my translation to a very small portion of text, make sure I contextualise it within the framework constructed by my predecessors, and expostulate on the political implications of poetic translation, but still...!! Fun fun fun!!

 

(... and just a tiny bit daunting... what have I done LOL?)

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I've read A Midsummer Night's Dream, King Lear and Macbeth and thoroughly enjoyed them all.

 

I went to see A Midsummer Night's Dream in the theatre too which helped with my understanding. After watching it, I have to rank A Midsummer Night's Dream as my favourite Shakespeare play. Just brilliant.

 

I also thought King Lear was great just to read too.

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The most popular of Shakespeare's plays has got to be Hamlet which is dark and gothic and contains one of the most famous acts of revenge ever in literature. At the moment this play is being performed in London starring Jude Law I tried to get tickets but they were all sold out. *****

 

Other Shakespeare plays I have read are:

 

Macbeth ****

Romeo and Juliet **

The Merchant of Venice ***

The Twelfth Night ***

Much Ado About Nothing ****

The Winter's Tale ***

Julius Ceasar ****

King Lear ***

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At the moment this play is being performed in London starring Jude Law I tried to get tickets but they were all sold out.
If you're willing to queue for a few hours before the start of the show you should be able to get return tickets; if that fails my housemate tells me they should also have a limited number of standing tickets available which they'll only sell on the night.

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I read all of them. Remembered some of them and my favorite I think is the Tempest. Or Hamlet (so obvious I know). Or King Lear... or... or... Oh I give up. All the ones I remember are in some way a favorite.

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I read all of them.
I take my hat off to you - I'm a Shakespeare MA student and I haven't read them all!

 

I've only read all the tragedies (which I mostly adore, especially "King Lear" and "Antony & Cleopatra", though I'm ashamed to say I never cared much for "Othello"... sorry William), a sizeable handful of comedies (my favourites being "Two Gentlemen of Verona" - Will's great underrate classic IMHO - and "Twelft Night") and, it must be admitted, no histories whatsoever (although Olivier's beautifully shot Henry V makes me want to at least read that at one point).

 

I feel incompetent and dejected now :D.

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"Much Ado About Nothing" - Beatrice is one of the wittiest characters in literature and Benedick's pretty bright too. I love the banter between them.

 

"Macbeth" is a great play. It explores the corruption of power, greed, and how your conscience can drive you batty!

 

"Hamlet" is the most complex character in all of Shakespeare's plays and it certainly is interesting getting into his head - crazy or not.

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I feel incompetent and dejected now :lol:.

 

Aw, don't feel like that! I think it's amazing how much Shakespeare you've studied (and not just glossed over, but in depth). I admire anyone who can appreciate Shakespeare like that.

 

I find him very daunting but one day I'd like to have another go. I'd probably re-read something we studied in school first so I'd be at least a little familiar with the material (and I have my copy of Much Ado About Nothing with all my notes handily scribbled throughout! :D)

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If you're willing to queue for a few hours before the start of the show you should be able to get return tickets; if that fails my housemate tells me they should also have a limited number of standing tickets available which they'll only sell on the night.

 

When I went to see it 2 weeks ago and I was waiting in the lobby before I could get in I heard the lady at the box office say that you need to queue as early as 7AM to even get a standing ticket. But isn't it the last week this week??

 

I've read a few: Romeo & Juliet, As you like it, All's well that ends well and the Taming of the shrew. I also read all the sonnets and the passionate pilgrim. I saw Hamlet, Midsummer night's dream, Love's labours won and Romeo& juliet

 

Last weekend I got myself a complete works by Shakespeare for only 6Euro, when I feel like it I can now read some more plays.

Edited by Rosalind

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Aw, don't feel like that! I think it's amazing how much Shakespeare you've studied (and not just glossed over, but in depth). I admire anyone who can appreciate Shakespeare like that.
I wouldn't dare take all that credit; a good slice of that cake goes to my undergrad Shakespeare tutor, who turned a vague sort of liking for the few bits I'd read into an ardent passion. He was the kind of professor that clearly loved his subject and saw to it that you loved it too - many times it happened that the hour passed and we didn't notice to the point that we stayed an extra half an hour. Everybody should be so lucky as to have a teacher like Dr Michael Davies.

 

I find him very daunting but one day I'd like to have another go.
Aw don't be daunted :lol: my advice is find out themes of the major plays and discover which one interests you the most; then, before you read it, rent it on DVD - some film versions are actually outstanding and trust me, a good actor can drive home the underlying meaning of seemingly incomprehensible lines. Some of the ones I'd personally recommend are:

 

The Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Joseph Fiennes (themes: religious intolerance and hypocrisy, revenge)

 

Twelfth Night with Helena Bonham-Carter and Ben Kingsley (main theme: unrequited or impossible love)

 

King Lear with Ian McKellen (themes: the loneliness of old age and the greed of youth).

 

I haven't seen all of Kenneth Branagh's Othello quite simply because I find it a painful play to watch (themes: jealousy, lack of trust, racism) but from the few scenes I've seen Branagh was born to play Iago.

 

There are many other good Shakespeare films out there but these I'd recommend as a good balance between well acted, well directed and easy to engage with. I (for one) believe Oliver's Hamlet and Henry V to be magnificent, but they're not exactly user-friendly.

 

May I also recommend, to the world at large, ATV's mini-series Will Shakespeare with (wait for it) Tim Curry as Will Shakespeare? With his sarky wit Curry would have seemed more suited to playing the dangerous and controversial Christopher Marlowe, and yet he brings to Shakespeare's character a poignant, exuberant vibrancy that really delivers.

 

There's more than a shade of The Rocky Horror Picture Show's Dr. Frankenfurter in his interpretation and yet, don't ask me how, it works: one feels a sympathy for his egotistical and dissipated Shakespeare that one doesn't feel for the egotistical and dissipated Shakespeare of Rupert Graves A Waste of Shame: The Mystery of Shakespeare and his Sonnets.

 

:D erm, sorry, I went on a bit. That is all.

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"Much Ado About Nothing" - Beatrice is one of the wittiest characters in literature and Benedick's pretty bright too. I love the banter between them.

 

"Macbeth" is a great play. It explores the corruption of power, greed, and how your conscience can drive you batty!

 

"Hamlet" is the most complex character in all of Shakespeare's plays and it certainly is interesting getting into his head - crazy or not.

 

Much Ado About Nothing is my favourite Shakespeare play. All thought I have not read many. :)

I would love to read Mcbeth though.

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"Much Ado About Nothing" - Beatrice is one of the wittiest characters in literature and Benedick's pretty bright too. I love the banter between them.

 

:) Beatrice and Benedick are so funny together. I also love the way they fall for each other and what they say about each other on their own. And Benedick when he vows never to fall in love. It may actually be my fav as well. Have you seen the film of it?

 

I also love Taming of the Shrew.

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I would love to read Macbeth though.
You should give it a go, it's not very long and the plot is fairly straightforward - I admit to getting occasionally a bit lost in Macbeth's soliloquies, because unlike Hamlet he doesn't explain and expound every single small step of his brain processes (which leads me to believe Hamlet's madness but a fiction as opposed to Macbeth's actual madness); however the imagery is very vivid and, ultimately, rewarding.

 

Have you seen the film of it?
Apparently (I haven't actually seen it all myself) the Branagh film glosses over the most problematic aspects of Much Ado, i.e. Claudio being an untrusting cad who does not actually deserve to end up with Hero, hence the happy ending isn't really a happy ending for everyone... thoughts?

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Apparently (I haven't actually seen it all myself) the Branagh film glosses over the most problematic aspects of Much Ado, i.e. Claudio being an untrusting cad who does not actually deserve to end up with Hero, hence the happy ending isn't really a happy ending for everyone... thoughts?

 

I can only talk about the film, not having read or seen the play, and it's been a few years since I've watched it, but from what I remember, Claudio is the innocent party in all the dealings, and it plays out to a happy ending for all.

 

For a Brannagh adaptation, it's one of the ones I enjoy most, as it appears to be set in the correct time period, the cinematography is beautiful, and the dialogue between the actors seems to flow so well that you quickly forget you're watching a Shakespeare play and I feel engrossed in the story really easily.

 

I watched his version of Love's Labour's Lost again a couple of months ago, and I think I might have to dig out my DVD of Much Ado this weekend for another viewing, particularly if it started raining again!

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I can only talk about the film, not having read or seen the play, and it's been a few years since I've watched it, but from what I remember, Claudio is the innocent party in all the dealings, and it plays out to a happy ending for all.
That's what I mean by "glossing over".

 

Much Ado is widely regarded as a "problem" comedy (as is "The Merchant of Venice", but you'd have to be really creative to gloss over the problematic aspects of that!) because in the play Claudio, after never-ending promises of undying love, readily believes the calumnies about her honour and, without so much as checking his sources or giving her a chance to explain herself, calls her very unkind things at the wedding before storming off while she tears her hair out, not knowing what's going on.

 

Seriously - at least Othello clings to the belief in Desdemona's innocence for a while, and it takes Iago's deviousness masked by perfect innocence (played marvellously, may I add, by Branagh in his own version, so this is in no way a dig at his adaptations) to convince him that she's been unfaithful.

 

I'll shut up now :).

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That's what I mean by "glossing over".

 

Much Ado is widely regarded as a "problem" comedy (as is "The Merchant of Venice", but you'd have to be really creative to gloss over the problematic aspects of that!) because in the play Claudio, after never-ending promises of undying love, readily believes the calumnies about her honour and, without so much as checking his sources or giving her a chance to explain herself, calls her very unkind things at the wedding before storming off while she tears her hair out, not knowing what's going on.

 

I agree that this adaptation doesn't really address Claudio's ridiculous jealousy, and his general immature behaviour. He is very unstable. Although i feel that when Hero marrys him in the end, and once again gives him her heart, that it is a testament to her unswerving charater and her loyalty, not only to her father but to Claudio. She literally becomes 'the hero'.

 

However there was a modern version of the story (if i remember correctly Billie Piper played Hero) and in it she decides not to marry him in the end. Which i think is also a good ending.

 

I do like the film adaptation, because the ending fitted the time they lived in. And i feel that Claudio's interchangableness is addressed and he learns a lesson of humility. He learns the hard way that he had, from the start, a problem he needed to address (like when he became jealous of the Prince, thinking he had asked Hero's hand for himself). He humiliates her, and in turn he humiliates himself!

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:) Beatrice and Benedick are so funny together. I also love the way they fall for each other and what they say about each other on their own. And Benedick when he vows never to fall in love. It may actually be my fav as well. Have you seen the film of it?

 

I also love Taming of the Shrew.

 

Yes I own the DVD and I've watched it many times. It's a lovely film. :)

 

Apparently (I haven't actually seen it all myself) the Branagh film glosses over the most problematic aspects of Much Ado, i.e. Claudio being an untrusting cad who does not actually deserve to end up with Hero, hence the happy ending isn't really a happy ending for everyone... thoughts?

 

Well yes, I agree he doesn't deserve Hero. It's difficult to interpret what she is thinking throughout all this. Her life is dominated by the men around her.

 

Throughout the play the men talk of cuckoldry as the fate of the married man, while in fact it is the women who are most often betrayed. Balthasar's song pretty much sums it up. "Men were deceivers ever; One foot in sea, and one on shore, To one thing constant never....." This certainly leaves the ending ambiguous.

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Throughout the play the men talk of cuckoldry as the fate of the married man, while in fact it is the women who are most often betrayed. Balthasar's song pretty much sums it up. "Men were deceivers ever; One foot in sea, and one on shore, To one thing constant never....." This certainly leaves the ending ambiguous.

 

I forgot about the song. Good point. And now i have the song in my head. "hey nonny, nonny.."

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