shakespeare

Corpsey

call me big papa
Hamlet must count as a sort of self portrait for WS, a recognition of the perils of overeducation (Wittenberg).
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Read Hamlet, Macbeth or Othello. King Lear and Antony and Cleopatra are the other major tragedies, but Lear I think is pretty hard going at times and A&C I personally don't enjoy as much as any of the other three (I'm sure others will disagree).

Read a version with some easy to refer to notes to help with the archaic words. But don't get too attached to the notes. Ideally, either watch the play or listen to the play before you read it, because there's a danger in getting bogged down in the language and not recognising that these were written to entertain everyone from royalty to plebs. Also hearing how the lines are "supposed" to be read is important because (as a rule) we don't know how to read poetry aloud in this day and age.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Lear is my favourite tragedy not just to contradict corpse. As far as easiest ways in maybe Macbeth, Midsummer Nights Dream, The Tempest. All straightforward. Julius Caesar is an easy read but not that representative.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
The basic rhythm is pretty easy to find and once you grasp it it magically makes the meanings fall into place.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
The consensus is that Lear is the best (although I think Hamlet is up there in general esteem) but I personally found the Fool quite tough to deal with at the time. Maybe at the time I was an even bigger idiot?
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
It was my first experiment reading Shakespeare on acid so I took 'a strong imprint' as they say
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
My favourite is actually Henry IV PT 1.

But Hamlet is "greater" in that it plumbs greater depths.

I've never really loved The Tempest as much as I feel I should.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
The consensus is that Lear is the best (although I think Hamlet is up there in general esteem) but I personally found the Fool quite tough to deal with at the time. Maybe at the time I was an even bigger idiot?
The Fool is incredibly irritating in Kurosawa's adaptation.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
 

jenks

thread death
What's a good place to start with this fella?
Go and see something and just go with it. Don't worry about not understanding everything, it is supposed to be performed and in performance it comes into its own.
you wouldn't start getting into music by reading sheet music, you'd go and hear it. It's the same with Shakespeare.

I saw a great version of Midsummer Night's Dream the other week that was utterly joyful. I took my avowedly nontheatrical son along (he was humouring me and i promised him a decent vegan meal afterwards) and he really enjoyed it, he said he didn't always know what was going on but the acting itself meant he was never lost.

I don't suppose everyone in Shakespeare's own time got everything
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
O, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious
periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to
very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who
for the most part are capable of nothing but
inexplicable dumbshows and noise:
 

jenks

thread death
O, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious
periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to
very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who
for the most part are capable of nothing but
inexplicable dumbshows and noise:
i would say that it is very rare these days that the verse is torn to tatters. If you listen to recordings from the 30s and 40s, you'll hear a very mannered and grand recital voice whereas the modern preference is for something more resembling speech, much as his Shakespeare's own theatre would recognise. Shakespeare is aware of how bad acting can affect a performance - Bottom is there to show what acting isn't. Hamlet has clear ideas on plays and players and there are plenty of other self conscious references to acting and the theatre.

As i said before, go and see and hear it, then it lives.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Actually I'd thought there was contempt for the 'groundlings' there, put into the mouth of Hamlet, who for all his flaws is clearly meant to be the cleverest person in the play, but maybe I misattributed that 'who'? Is it the 'perriwig-pated fellow' who is capable of delivering 'nothing but inexplicable dumbshows and noise', or the groundlings who are incapable of understanding anything but inexplicable dumbshows and noise?
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
I'd strongly discourage going to performances of Shakespeare if you want to get into him. You'll get put off for life.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
High-stomach'd are they both, and full of ire,
In rage deaf as the sea, hasty as fire.

Since the more fair and crystal is the sky,
The uglier seem the clouds that in it fly.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Read 'Twelfth Night' this week and I give it an A.

I've started 'The Merchant of Venice' and so far I give it a B, but I'm only on Act II.
 
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