“Tumblr” and this shit just got too Superb! ‘To gild refined gold, to paint the lily’ Interestingly, I recently read that in Conrad’s book “The Duel.” He didn’t have it in quotes, either. Coriolanus. Henry VIII. This play – the inspiration for the musical The Boys from Syracuse – involves the mishaps and misunderstandings which ensue when two sets of identical twins, separated at birth, find themselves in the city of Ephesus at the same time. #1: Watch the plays. (A Midsummer Night's Dream). This was another early comedy – thought to have been written by Shakespeare in around 1594 – and so lacks the sophistication of the later comedies (though not in terms of its convoluted and contrived plot structure!). I’m honored since there are so many blogs available. I know, it’s a shame Coriolanus isn’t better known! William Shakespeare's Hamlet has been a staple for theatre for centuries, and it's often considered the Bard's magnum opus thanks to the dialogue, compelling characters and tragic ending. Superb. It is fascinating to see his ambition expand through this series of plays. Another of Shakespeare’s ‘problem plays’. is named after rejected Essie nail colors, but on top of that, they must cater No he is not overrated. They don’t get much in the way of I’m not a fan of the histories – but it’s nice to hear some other recommendations than the usual! Shakespearean clowns are usually insufferable It is pretty amazing to me that the only one of these plays you have read is perhaps the most problematic of all Shakespeare and to me it is wonderful that you penetrated so deeply into it. I’d love to see that one performed! King John, I think, was a collaboration, not entirely written by Shakespeare? Loved reading the post. I’ve only ever read one of those plays (A Comedy of Errors), I need to step it up! It is unusual among Shakespeare’s plays in that it has no obvious prior sources in historical chronicles or earlier plays or poems. It is not clear just what kind of play it actually is: I plan a post on my own blog about the play soon. hearts, starting in 1996, thanks to this scene. Shakespearean death. The Hiddleston Coriolanus will definitely be one to look out for, and should be easy to get to see even if it does sell out, because NT Live are broadcasting to cinemas worldwide. But this post isn't about the Jos, the Lucys, or the Annes. I always wonder why no one talks about Loves Labours Lost. His characters are at their most human, his language is at its wittiest and most inventive. melodramatic heroes and heroines. well and read more after looking Al Pacinos ‘Looking for Richard’. Years ago I went to England with a group of writing teachers. I will definitely make it a point to read a few of the others! Hangman (HANGMAN.) You are right! Will have to check Stratford/London for new productions in the future. Thanks for signing up for The Airdrop! Interesting Fact: Although the title character’s name is pronounced with the final two syllables pronounced as ‘anus’ (leading to many jokes), in classical Latin the name would have been pronounced to rhyme with ‘bananas’, with an ‘a:’ rather than ‘ei’ sound on the penultimate syllable. “Henry VI Part Two” has a tremendous theatrical vigour. I’ve not got much time for Titus either, which is a bit of a pastiche of Seneca (or at least it reads/performs like pastiche), and shows the revenge tragedy in its early, raw form before writers – including Shakespeare himself, but also Thomas Middleton – modified and developed it, making it a more subtle and complex genre. your man. You don’t mention Titus Andronicus, my least favorite play. He after honour hunts. Ten Underrated Shakespeare Plays | My BlogThe Philosopher's blog. Shakespeare broadened the characters in the stories he found but rarely invented any. He did nothing that day except read Shakespeare, the way a well-trained stage actor would read it. Iago, the quintessence of evil, is a terrific part for the Shakespearean player, and the one with the most lines in this play – 31% to Othello’s 25%. And…, screw T.S. A neat idea–but it may have left the audience almost as confused as the characters…. Wow, sounds like one of those once-in-a-blue-moon classes that just blows you away. Before we dive into the recommended reading order for the complete works of Shakespeare, here are a few principles to keep in mind as you undertake this journey. It’s a play that doesn’t offer the audience any hope at all: the characters aren’t even offered the stature of tragic protagonists. Overall, I have more good Arden editions (I agree about Kermode’s The Tempest being very good) than any others. Cinema has even taken a fancy to Hamlet, with movies like Ophelia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and The Lion King taking inspiration.. I didn’t know the play at all until recently, when the BBC did it as part of their ‘Hollow Crown’ series (alongside Henry IV parts 1 and 2, and Henry V), with Ben Whishaw as King John. Here are ten of the least-known plays by the Bard, with the reasons why people should read them (or reread them), along with an interesting fact about each. Having seen Two Gents recently, I’m not surprised that Shakespeare avoided bringing animals on stage in future plays – the dog stole the show, as dogs are wont to do. I need to CLOSELY read more of Shakespeare plays. Thank you, as usual, for this summary, IL … it made everything very clear. We promise to never, ever spam you or give away your email address. Othello’s Clown doesn’t exactly break this trend, but in a play so Ben Whishaw was great – I missed the Michael Jackson overtones to his performance (the monkey, the voice) picked up on by some of the reviewers, but for me his rendering of the role worked! Much appreciated. Fair point with regard to The Winter’s Tale, though I find that outside of academic circles, few know it well (or, in the case of my students, few have even heard of it!). And there are always new insights to be had into Hamlet! Recommended edition: “Cymbeline” (Arden Shakespeare: Second Series). those blowhards like Macbeth and King Lear and focus on the best supporting Somewhere along the line, the pre-existing name ‘Innogen’ (meaning ‘girl, maiden’) was misread as ‘Imogen’, with the ‘nn’ being confused for a letter ‘m’. I have to admit, I’ve never heard of Coriolanus. "Aroint thee, witch, aroint thee." But I think it’s a magnificent work. But, speaking of The Hollow Crown makes me think of Tom Hiddleston… I’m very excited about the production of Coriolanus that he’s in this winter. Recommended edition: “Love’s Labours Lost” (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (The Arden Shakespeare). But yes, I LOVE Hamlet. I feel as though a revival is in order! Richard II is a little more widely performed I think (though not as much as, say, Richard III); King John definitely deserves more revivals! Excellent list! I thought the ending was off, and for me, did not match the story. “Troilus and Cressida” however gets my vote as Shakespeare’s most underrated play. That old BBC Shakespeare production sounds like it’s worth seeking out though. :) I look forward to becoming better acquainted and informed through the years. The ‘hilarious’ Petruccio-Katherine taming of the shrew subplot was sad exposé of Shakespeare creating two of his most charmless characters, and the work’s bizarre, early framing device has no reflective purpose on the main body of the play at all. Like Cowboy Bebop, this show deserves the praise it gets, but unlike the former, this show is a bit underrated. And thanks for your comment, as ever, Angela! It’s the quality of acting that matters – it’s what made last year’s BBC Hollow Crown adaptations such a joy, in the main. Also perhaps because I was a teenager when I read it, and I also read Clamorous Voices alongside it. The violence in Scene Four where nearly all the characters are left dead illuminates the violence pervading the whole play, as each action is merely a reaction to a previous event. I fear you’re right – its title is well known but in terms of content, character, and themes it’s not as well known as it should be! This mysterious word has also been cited as ‘evidence’ for the Baconian theory – that Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare’s plays – on the strength of the fact that Honorificabilitudinitatibus can be rearranged into the anagram hi ludi, F. Baconis nati, tuiti orbi, which is Latin for ‘these plays, F. Bacon’s offspring, are preserved for the world’. I will be following yours as well. (Romeo and Juliet) or, "Lord, what fools these mortals be!" Best of luck with the endeavour…. I saw a production of The Winter’s Tale last year. And if you aren't a leading lady, start practising your deferential maid. http://foodpeopleloveandstuff.wordpress.com/. NOTE: Characters who exist outside Shakespeare are marked "(hist)" where they are historical, and "(myth)" where they are mythical.Where that annotation is a link (e.g. On a different subject, I once saw a performance of Comedy of Errors with real identical twins playing the Antipholuses. Would be interested to see what you think of it! Fiennes’ film helped to bring it to a wider audience, though, I think. He’s a police officer, thus making That was always one of my favorites. likes to go the literal route. Love’s Labour’s Lost. Her … All of Shakespeare's major female characters are gruesomely reliant on male attention. In the 1999 film version, at 8. I am very familiar with Shakespeare but mostly just his tragedies and histories. The main problem with them seems to be that nobody likes them, at least relatively speaking, hence their presence on this list. I must confess I haven’t actually seen the Fiennes film, only clips, but everything I’ve heard about it, and the bits I’ve been fortunate enough to see, have borne out what you say here. Surveying literature, art & culture from an altitude of 5,000 feet while traveling at 53 miles per hour. 37. Recommended edition: Timon of Athens (Arden Shakespeare: Third Series). Interestingly, Henry VI part 2 was written before parts 1 & 3. desperate for a woman, is an easy target to the wide cast of jokers. Glad you found something useful in the post. Thanks for this, Donald – as a fan of Conrad I find this fact (of which I had no idea) highly interesting and will make a note of it! Calpurnia // Julius Caesar. Pingback: Confronting the Bard: Shakespeare Rap by Suzanna Lawrence | King Solomon English Blog. Congratulations to good ol’ Calpy for not joining the great tradition of … Timon of Athens. It was one of his early plays, but represents a vast improvement on the first part of the cycle. How did I miss that! I’ll keep you informed of our progress. It was just about the more perfect and magical evening I have spent in a theatre. 1592. You’re right, I should have put in Two Gentlemen, I think – I actually quite like it. major) I at first found some of the old language troublesome until I learned some of the slang. Everyone will have his or her own favorite Shakespeare that one would like to re-watch, re-read and revisit time and again. I agree, LLL is a bit of a mixed bag for me. Two Gents is a delight, with many themes that Shakespeare would develop in later plays, though it doesn’t have the same punch as Much Ado or As You Like It. I love Coriolanus – I think it tells us more about politics and the public than anything I ever read. represents us, the reader: an overly judgmental observer who is so unable to However, it is still possible to mount good productions: the first production of any play I ever saw in Stratford was a production of “Love’s Labour’s Lost” back in ’78, directed by John Barton and featuring Michael Hordern, Jane Lapotaire, Michael Pennington, and the late, lamented Richard Griffith. to a sidekick. For every Hamlet, Juliet, and Othello, you have a Everything Shakespeare does well in other plays he does brilliantly here. Oxford did a Hamlet (said to be “the most complete” or some such) shortly after Jenkins’ was out and called it “magisterial”.. To me it was as hard to put down as a good detective novel. I know Jo March, Lucy Pevansie, and Anne of Green Gables and had an impact on who I was and who I am. but it’s worth a look. Hamlet Yes – this is a list of the most underrated plays by Shakespeare. And thanks for the reblog, Mark, much appreciated :). It’s their loss but it’s a tragedy in its own right. It was Richard II though rather than King John – though they’re both great medieval-era Shakespeare plays. I’ll know how to pronounce it properly now :-D. Thank you for your blogpost! But what about the others? Eliot on that count. 8. Agreed, the Hollow Crown series was superb! Comedy of Errors I had to read in college and thought it was painful in its punning and slapstick. Thanks for the comment, Brian! And I agree about the underrated Timon…. Reblogged this on Stripped down and commented: Much appreciated, and I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Also, Roger Daltry, singer for The Who, did a charming job of playing the lead role(s) in “A Comedy of Errors.”, Roger Daltrey in The Comedy of Errors? George Bernard Shaw liked this one, though (although he considered Shakespeare overrated in general and even wrote a puppet play, Shakes versus Shav, arguing that he was the better craftsman), and particularly liked the play’s heroine, Helena. His body of work is quite large, compared to other contemporary playwrights. Recommended edition: “King Henry VIII”: Third Series (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (The Arden Shakespeare). corpses. I’ve added your blog to my library ‘Café’ at the top of this blog by the way. ~ Rebecca. Not being “interesting literature” but keen on Shakespeare, Arden is my preferred edition but Oxford also does some good ones. Hamlet acts as a cautionary tale for Shakespeare’s audiences, as Prince Hamlet’s irrationality pushes … I think I’ll enjoy it, by the sound of it! to Feste the Clown’s loud, bawdy Pauly Shore. T. S. Eliot, in his 1919 essay ‘Hamlet and His Problems’, considered Coriolanus a greater achievement than Hamlet (which he considered a failure). case of Prince Fortinbras, it’s a bit more forgivable. You have a lot of knowledge! He still manages to steal a few scenes here and there and doesn’t Five Fascinating Facts about Shakespeare | Interesting Literature, Tip Number 1 | Another Wannabe Actor Blog, Confronting the Bard: Shakespeare Rap by Suzanna Lawrence | King Solomon English Blog, Ten Underrated Shakespeare Plays | Shakespearenne, http://foodpeopleloveandstuff.wordpress.com/, Imogen and the Jellicle Cats | Cadmium Diamond Dreams, Ten Underrated Shakespeare Plays | lauraleighlinker. Ophelia’s Breakdown, “Hamlet,” Act 4, Scene 5. Bertram tells Helena that she may not call him husband until she receives a ring from him and can bear him a child. It does indeed look as though Coriolanus’ status as an underrated play is not likely to continue for much longer :). Yeah, didn’t think so. Sorry, that should have been King Richard II to King Richard III (which sounds so short when it’s phrased like that, but one forgets how many Henries are interposed between). Congratulations to good ol’ Calpy for not joining Lady More (LADY MORE.) What a fantastic blog post! I thought about including Titus but didn’t because I know it has garnered quite a lot of support (and been adapted a fair few times) by students in recent times, because of the horrific spectacle of the thing, I suppose. William Shakespeare probably made more of an impact on English literature, drama, and language than any other writer in history. Coriolanus is one of my favorite things ever written by anyone ever. If you enjoyed these Shakespeare posts, you might also enjoy our pick of the best books written about Shakespeare and our interesting facts about Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Cleo’s Mary Crawley. So let’s take some time to forget about If you like this list, be sure to check out our follow-up pick of Shakespeare’s ten best plays (complete with interesting trivia about them) our interesting facts about Shakespeare too. Pingback: Five Fascinating Facts about Macbeth | Interesting Literature. I agree that it’s certainly a very dark representation of love, honour, and human behaviour. Oops, that’s a good point – didn’t think of the different pronunciation of ‘bananas’! As you say, maybe producers/directors (and we academics, too – though I don’t teach much Shakespeare, alas) are to blame for assuming it’s *too* bleak for people to enjoy…. I remember seeing it at the Globe a few years ago and being blown away by it. The last one changed my mind about the play; I had been corrupted by prejudice which was of course my own fault. Of these plays I have seen two performed. Claiming one’s love for Hamlet is so cliche. https://interestingliterature.com/2013/07/ten-best-underrated-shakespeare-plays I've noticed in some circles, often literary ones, there are certain female characters who have a status they don't deserve. I am very envious of you being able to do a master’s thesis on Hamlet; what a great topic! She also gets Interesting Fact: The phrase ‘gild the lily’ derives from this play, though it is the result of a misquotation. Thank you for the reminder! ….. The story is retold through garden gnomes living in the backyards of … If you enjoyed Henry VI Part 2, then I’d recommend going to King John next – not the most celebrated of the Shakespeare histories, but I think a good performance of it – the Rossiter one is on Youtube in its entirety I think – gets all the pomp and pageantry across nicely. Thanks for the post! Getting the more well-known scenes out of the way, this is one of the greatest examples of a female having a breakdown in Shakespeare’s work. It’s rare to come across a New Zealander on WordPress. I’m still waiting for a production of Two Noble Kinsmen…. “King Henry VIII”: Third Series (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (The Arden Shakespeare), “Cymbeline” (Arden Shakespeare: Second Series), “King Henry VI”: Pt. Thanks a lot for following my blog. Hope you read more of Shakespeare Brian. Interesting about the Michael Jackson overtones to Whishaw’s Richard II (got it right that time! I also don’t rate the play much; but then this is a contentious list which I knew people would wish to quibble over, and rightly, too. I’ve seen it three times – in Stratford in the 1980s, and twice in Scotland; each production was wildly different from the others. I’ve still never seen a production of King John. I’m not even sure if tragicomedy describes it properly. Recommended edition: Troilus and Cressida (The Arden Shakespeare). We hope you enjoy them. 10. The three main characters Mugen, Jin, and Fuu are dynamic and amazing characters that compliment each other despite their differences. He was merely trying to grab attention. I might need to read it again, though. Shakespeare wasn’t a novelist like Charles Dickens or Stephen King. 5. Since my (digital) copy of the Folio doesn’t have the play in it, it’s not in the contents list either. Reblogged this on One reader A thousand lives. discussion could have achieved in an hour. Shakespeare’s wit, playfulness, and linguistic skills are at their most honed. I was surprised to see Coriolanus in the list. Then he suddenly opened the book and began reading. I can only echo you here: a great, glorious play, profound and beautifully written, and still so relevant, as you say. It was also the very first Shakespeare play to be filmed, in 1899 by Herbert Beerbohm Tree. Perhaps because I read it, rather than seeing it performed so it went by a bit quicker. I’m going to reread Troilus over the summer, as reading about the play was partly what inspired me to write this post. And Tom Hiddleston in the lead role probably won’t hurt its popularity either! Anyway, thanks for the post. However, within Shakespeare's classic plays, there are many other wonderful quotes that aren't voiced nearly as often as I think they deserve. This one is about the Roman leader who conquered the city of Corioles, hence his nickname (or ‘agnomen’) of Coriolanus. Yup, Roger Daltry’s performance is as good as I remember it. Don’t worry, it’s actually thrown out an interesting parallel between the two plays in how the king and his advisers/nobles in both plays clash and end up in direct conflict – and interesting connections are the bread and butter of Interesting Literature! incestuous, blackmailing lesbian rebel. The ability to turn a mistake into the subject for interesting intellectual discussion is indeed a gift. I wasn’t aware King John was a collaboration – my understanding was that Shakespeare collaborated very early on and very late in his career (Titus, 1 Henry VI; Henry VIII, Pericles, Two Noble Kinsmen), though I know there are exceptions in between, too…. This is one of the Bard’s least-performed plays, although it was popular with the Victorians because of its pageantry and medieval pomp. Servingman (MAN.) The Comedy of Errors. I’ve long had a soft spot for “Love’s Labour’s Lost”. This is a fascinating post. Replace “monastery” with the great tradition of Shakespearean wives who commit suicide out of grief/the Interesting Literature is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.co.uk. (What happens after that, we won’t say, as we don’t want to offer too many spoilers.) Underrated Shakespeare characters I have my first professional audition coming up for a Shakespeare company and they are looking for a classical comedic monologue. Most people that attend public school in an English speaking country face the works of William Shakespeare in high school. I’d have to rhyme it with “upon us” or something. Thank you for the great list! come, come, come, come, give me your hand. The character of Scott is the main connection as a stand-in for Prince Hal, while Mike is more loosely based on Poins. Superb! I have not read any of the above listed, I am limited to A Midsummer Night Dream, Othello and As You Like It. A cannon shot, used for special effects in the play, hit the thatched roof of the playhouse and it quickly burned to the ground. I’m glad ‘King John’ is at the top of this list. Let the Shakespeare onslaught begin! patriarchy/the crazies. It was filmed by Ralph Fiennes in 2011, with Fiennes playing the title role. He wrote or collaborated on nearly forty, after all. Some were tough to sit through. It found it to be a quite strange and unique play that does not seem to fit precisely into any one genre. His idea of the general form of literature and his idea of the common people of that time were tremendous. Daughter to More (DAUGHTER.) He was a playwright. Being the butt of every joke is tough, especially When I was reading Shakespeare in college (English Lit. 1. Was an interesting new take on the play in many ways – I agree, in performance it can work quite well…, All’s Well… is my favourite underrated Shakespeare. I am looking forward to watching Fienne’s film, and bringing up to date my readings of Shakes. People get all the wonderful complexities, ironies and humor in them Zealander! Athens ( Arden Shakespeare.Third Series ) ( the Arden Shakespeare: Third Series ( Arden Series! 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