Classics · Shakespeare

Shakespeare

Today we’re going to take the huge leap from YA novels to Shakespeare. I did warn you from the start that I read just about everything 😉

I’m a huge Shakespeare nerd. I have been since at least ninth grade, when I voluntarily read King Lear for a project where I could have chosen any book I wanted. But it’s been a few years since I’ve read any of his plays, and so this winter, I’ve decided to fix that.

But how do you go about choosing a play by Shakespeare?

I’ve already eight of them, including the seasonally-appropriate Twelfth Night and A Winter’s Tale. Macbeth and Hamlet are still on my to-do list, but such heavy tragedy is hardly something I want to immerse myself in at Christmastime. I’d also like to eventually revisit As You Like It, which I saw performed live in fifth grade but only have vague memories of. And I haven’t read a single one of the histories yet …

What I decided on was Troilus and Cressida. It’s one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known plays, and comes from a time late in his career when he decided to ditch the conventional genres of comedy and tragedy and mix elements of both together. I’ve already read A Winter’s Tale and The Tempest, both of which are best described as comedies with tragic elements, so it will be interesting to see what the inverse looks like. But mostly, I’m choosing it because I read The Iliad in school this past spring, so the source material is fresh in my mind. If I’m ever going to read Shakespeare’s take on it, it might as well be now.

I’ve also decided my next Shakespearean play after this will be Henry V. Of the histories, that’s the one I’m most drawn to, and planning on doing it a few months down the road will give me time to learn a bit about the real history involved first.

As I read, I’ll be posting an update each time I finish an act. Then, once I’m done, I’m sure I’ll have a lot I want to talk about in more detail.

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