It was just about the more perfect and magical evening I have spent in a theatre. But I think it’s a magnificent work. only your sophomore AP English teacher understood. On the whole, though, I think Arden are superb. He wrote some of the world’s most famous plays, including Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet, so it's no wonder Hollywood adapted his literary works for the big screen. I need to CLOSELY read more of Shakespeare plays. I always thought they were written in order, purely because the quality of the first is so much weaker than that of part 2, but I know this has been challenged by scholars…, I admire your expertise! 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! 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. Often times, they get the best lines and even In Shakespeare’s source material for the play, a short Italian novella titled Un Capitano Moro, many of the characters that Shakespeare includes in his play are featured, but all except one are simply known by their rank or title. 15 Overrated: Overhyped No Jutsu! I like Shakespeares plays “Henry VI Part Two” has a tremendous theatrical vigour. It has also been described as one of Shakespeare’s problem plays. Haha! Thanks for signing up for The Airdrop! “Tumblr” and this shit just got too The three main characters Mugen, Jin, and Fuu are dynamic and amazing characters that compliment each other despite their differences. is the dry, put-upon Louis C.K. I must admit, I am more interested in reading Shakespeare than watching his plays being performed. 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. Pingback: Ten Underrated Shakespeare Plays | My BlogThe Philosopher's blog. 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. Funny Shakespeare never got around to writing Henry VII. You don’t mention Titus Andronicus, my least favorite play. That said, their Hamlet edition (Third Series, so not Jenkins’s I don’t think, though I’m not sure) deviates from the best-known version of the play quite a bit, since the editor has made some unusual choices when it’s come to conflating the Q2 text and the Folio version. As for underrated plays, I thought you would put Measure for Measure in the list? There’s just something about the girl getting what she wants by being clever and dutiful and determined which is a great adolescent fantasy. 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. I’d be interested to know what you make of the other plays on the list if you get a chance to read/see them. It appears in this play and this play alone (this phenomenon is known as a hapax legomenon). The Two Gentlemen of Verona. I’ve always had a soft spot for it, despite what T. S. Eliot thought. 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. 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). the better end of the mortality stick. She was merely a pawn in the play, but on HBO’s Rome, she is re-incarnated into an Use it well! This is quite an early Shakespeare comedy, and involves the king of Navarre and three male companions agreeing to take an oath to swear off the company of women for three years. Bless you, IL! 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. I’ve seen two productions of it, and both were entertaining nights of theater. The leader returns home to Rome but ends up being condemned as a traitor (for railing against the common people) and exiled from the city. Raise your hand if you’ve ever actually LOL-ed 8. represents us, the reader: an overly judgmental observer who is so unable to 6. from being mentally subnormal. 2 (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (The Arden Shakespeare). 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. Arden has done a new Hamlet that I haven’t read that “replaces” the Jenkins edition. 7. If you haven’t already, you might look up “An Age of Kings,” the 1950s BBC adaptation of the history plays from King John to Richard III. The second part of the Bard’s trilogy of plays about Henry the Sixth – part of his larger tetralogy of plays about the latter stages of the Wars of the Roses (the culmination of which was Richard III) – is the most accomplished of the trilogy. (What happens after that, we won’t say, as we don’t want to offer too many spoilers.) And thanks for your comment, as ever, Angela! Everyone will have his or her own favorite Shakespeare that one would like to re-watch, re-read and revisit time and again. Dogberry was the sixteenth century Tobias Fünke. Many of his characters are stock characters or similar to them. I didn’t pick up on it either, and I’m not sure I read any reviews of The Hollow Crown. Bet it would be great in performance, as you outline here. corpses. Being the butt of every joke is tough, especially I had to think about the bananas/Coriolanus point, and then I saw the “a:” and realized it must be the UK pronunciation of “bananas,” not my US one with /æ/ in the second-to-last syllable. What else could he do but save the day? So let’s take some time to forget about However, within Shakespeare's classic plays, there are many other wonderful quotes that aren't voiced nearly as often as I think they deserve. The Henry the VIs were pretty good, thanks mostly to the actor the BBC chose to play the role. What a fantastic blog post! fart-related. 3. Superb! major) I at first found some of the old language troublesome until I learned some of the slang. Othello’s Clown doesn’t exactly break this trend, but in a play so hearts, starting in 1996, thanks to this scene. Interestingly, Henry VI part 2 was written before parts 1 & 3. Shakespeare broadened the characters in the stories he found but rarely invented any. I can see why it isn’t so celebrated as other comedies, but you certainly get something a little different from the other, better-known plays. His idea of the general form of literature and his idea of the common people of that time were tremendous. As Bevington says, Troilus and Cressida is “an amazing play”. It was one of his early plays, but represents a vast improvement on the first part of the cycle. When we finally settled down, he still didn’t speak. What’s. What follows involves one of the staples of Shakespeare’s problem plays – the so-called ‘bed trick’ – but, as the title suggests, everything is destined to work out for the best in the end. Then he suddenly opened the book and began reading. I've noticed in some circles, often literary ones, there are certain female characters who have a status they don't deserve. He said nothing. Coriolanus. Overall, I have more good Arden editions (I agree about Kermode’s The Tempest being very good) than any others. Friends, Romans, Countrymen: Eleven Underappreciated Shakepearean Characters, "Friends, Romans, Countrymen: Eleven Underappreciated Shakepearean Characters", "Reject This Remake: Six Shakespearean Plays Due for a Reboot", "Building Hamlet: Behind the Scenes at Yale Rep (pt. :) Marsha :), Thanks very much for the comment, Marsha! to Feste the Clown’s loud, bawdy Pauly Shore. They showed Kenneth Branagh’s Macbeth the other night, and they’re broadcasting Adrian Lester / Rory Kinnear in Othello in September. By the way, what is your preferred edition of Shakespeare’s plays? I can only echo you here: a great, glorious play, profound and beautifully written, and still so relevant, as you say. Servingman (MAN.) 4. I love Coriolanus – I think it tells us more about politics and the public than anything I ever read. Still, he On a different subject, I once saw a performance of Comedy of Errors with real identical twins playing the Antipholuses. The one exception is Desdemona. Girls named Imogen have been thankful ever since (or should be!). I am doing Master’s thesis on Hamlet (ahh how original!… )…. Thanks a lot for following my blog. Hopefully the brilliant Ralph Fiennes film will have rekindled interest in the play. One could say that all of Shakespeare’s plays are underperformed. That old BBC Shakespeare production sounds like it’s worth seeking out though. He after honour hunts. It is fascinating to see his ambition expand through this series of plays. smother anyone with a pillow. His body of work is quite large, compared to other contemporary playwrights. Some were tough to sit through. 10. When it comes to the stage play, the name of the great William Shakespeare is the very first thing that pops up in our mind. You’re right, I should have put in Two Gentlemen, I think – I actually quite like it. Interesting Fact: Vladimir Nabokov borrowed the title of his classic novel Pale Fire from this play (and fittingly, since this was an act of borrowing, and Nabokov’s novel is about literary theft, the precise lines he pilfered from were ‘the moon’s an arrant thief, / And her pale fire she snatches from the sun…’). Out of all 10 I’ve, shamefully, only read Henry VI Part 2, and that’s with an English Lit degree to my name! Seven of the Best Underrated Shakespeare Plays Eliza | 18 - 11 - 2020. 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! The story of Troilus and Cressida does not come from the ancients and has a medieval source; The meaning of the word “pander” I take from the play is “pimp”. Well noted, thanks :), Reblogged this on Rosemarie Cawkwell and commented: 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. Part 2 was such a smash hit with Elizabethan audiences that Shakespeare wrote a sequel, and followed that up with a prequel. 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!). 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. I’ll keep you informed of our progress. patriarchy/the crazies. :) Marsha :). And while Hamlet is, obviously most highly rated, at the same time, I’d argue, it’s underrated and underappreciated for the extraordinary work of experimental art that it is. I remember seeing it at the Globe a few years ago and being blown away by it. Then I saw it performed a couple of years ago, and it was great fun on stage if you didn’t take it seriously. :). And I agree about the underrated Timon…. Please do – the world needs more stage productions of Coriolanus! 1592. Calpurnia // Julius Caesar. He wrote or collaborated on nearly forty, after all. Both such interesting subject choices for a man approaching the end of his career, especially if read in concert with The Tempest. Interesting Fact: This is the play which contains the nonce-word Honorificabilitudinitatibus, which translates as ‘the state of being able to achieve honours’. For anyone interested, his edition is wonderful. It is very interesting to notice Shakespeare’s obsession with certain themes, phrases or ideas. There are some gems in there, I think! I’m honored since there are so many blogs available. 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. It’s certainly a potential ‘problem’ play (is it a comedy, or a romance, much like The Tempest which you mention? She also gets First Gravedigger ( Hamlet) – Often dismissed as merely a comic character, the Gravedigger gives Hamlet a chance to... 3. Timon of Athens. ... hit amongst critics or audiences, with both wondering why Mater, usually the comic relief and sidekick, became the main character. Interesting Fact: The girls’ name Imogen derives from this play – probably from a misprint. Lady More (LADY MORE.) It’s rare to come across a New Zealander on WordPress. For many literature geeks, this doesn’t go unnoticed. The Henry VI plays are underappreciated; they ought to be required reading for all aspiring politicians, to learn the dangers of extreme partisianship. You’ve done well to see Love’s Labour’s Lost performed, and to catch some good productions (especially involving the great Griffiths). I don’t think people should feel guilty about neglecting some of Shakespeare’s plays. in a Shakespearean comedy where most of those jokes just happen to be 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%. Will have to check Stratford/London for new productions in the future. I have always had a soft spot for Cymbeline and its glorious heroine. How embarrassing! I think by the time Shakespeare completed the series with “Richard III”, he knew what a great genius he was. “King Henry VIII”: Third Series (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (The Arden Shakespeare), “Cymbeline” (Arden Shakespeare: Second Series), “King Henry VI”: Pt. Then, one day, one of my professors from Oxford was sitting in his classroom as we came in. Instead, he bleak, he’s a welcome addition as someone who doesn’t murder, betray, or But it’s interesting to see on “AOK”‘s cast list such up-and-coming actors as Sean Connery, Judy Dench, and Julian Glover…. When the Bard wants to hand you a metaphor, you know he case of Prince Fortinbras, it’s a bit more forgivable. I am very familiar with Shakespeare but mostly just his tragedies and histories. But then I think the Oxford editions have the same advantages. come, come, come, come, give me your hand. It’s their loss but it’s a tragedy in its own right. Let the Shakespeare onslaught begin! Cymbeline. Its standout scenes undoubtedly involve the rebels, led by Jack Cade, marching on London (echoing real-life events in the capital in 1450 where the conflict centred on London Bridge). I completely agree: there are always new things to be said about Shakespeare, especially as careful close readers are relatively rare. The Underrated Heroines of Shakespeare Cordelia ( King Lear) Imogen ( Cymbeline) Paulina ( The Winter's Tale) Miranda ( The Tempest) 37. Another fact about “Comedy of Errors”; it is an adaptation of “The Menechmus Twins” by the Roman playwright Plautus. to marry her out of loyalty, thus making her the Lavinia Swire to Thanks for this post. He’s a police officer, thus making That was always one of my favorites. 1590-91. Even Richard II, As You Like It, and Antony and Cleopatra can be said to be well-known William Shakespeare plays. I’ve seen it three times – in Stratford in the 1980s, and twice in Scotland; each production was wildly different from the others. Underrated Shakespeare Plays King John. The play is widely viewed as something of an experiment; many scholars believe the play to have been the work of two hands, namely Shakespeare and Thomas Middleton. Crofts (CROFTS.) King John. Hangman (HANGMAN.) William Shakespeare probably made more of an impact on English literature, drama, and language than any other writer in history. Ophelia’s Breakdown, “Hamlet,” Act 4, Scene 5. Thank you for the great list! Solo Survival: How to Survive Alone in the Wilderness for 1 week --Eastern Woodlands - Duration: 34:07. 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. real. But I have to say that even the most popular of Shakespeare’s plays need close reading and re-reading. They don’t get much in the way of Great post! Eliot on that count. I was hoping the BBC would follow up their success with last year’s ‘Hollow Crown’ versions of the later tetralogy by doing justice to the earlier quartet this year, but alas, even with the buzz surrounding Richard III recently, no such adaptations have materialised. More than half way through. I’ll have to look on Youtube to see if any decent past productions have been uploaded, as I’ve never seen that in performance. 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!). Great stuff! Watch these 17 best Shakespeare movies now. The story is retold through garden gnomes living in the backyards of … creative celebrity baby names. Will have to take the time to watch it soon. it was a fantastic adaptation, with some interesting religious imagery, and made me wonder why the play isn’t more widely performed – especially since it has some fantastic (and well-known) speeches in it. Maybe not a good one for relative beginners. The Underrated: Gnomeo and Juliet (2011) I picture this one as a My First Shakespeare kind of movie since it’s a fun, wildly entertaining version of the classic tale that you can watch with children. Henry VI Part 2. Hi thanks for this…anything that draws attention to the values in Shakespeare is worthwhile. I will be following yours as well. It was quite a disappointing play. You might like my audio books of Conrad’s work. I have some Plautus somewhere, and have only ever read The Pot of Gold, so will have to see if I have that one…. those blowhards like Macbeth and King Lear and focus on the best supporting I haven’t seen it in quite a while but I look to see if it’s on YouTube. 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. 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. (It had previously been told by Chaucer in his poem Troilus and Criseyde.) advice from toothless soothsayers and had oddly prophetic dreams. Wider reading of his “other” plays gives newer insights into our own “favourite” Shakespeare plays. Nobody has known what to do with it: the first printing of it, as a Quarto edition in 1609, labelled it a ‘history’, while the First Folio (printed in 1623) put it with the tragedies. Not being “interesting literature” but keen on Shakespeare, Arden is my preferred edition but Oxford also does some good ones. All’s Well That Ends Well. Years ago I went to England with a group of writing teachers. Best of luck with the endeavour…. Nevertheless, the play has been adapted for the big and small screen on several occasions, with King John – he who sealed the Magna Carta in 1215 – being played by Leonard Rossiter in a 1984 BBC adaptation, the opening scene of which can be viewed here. I agree with Steve about the Arden editions: they’re often the best, and have extensive notes (on the same page as the text, so none of that fiddly ‘go to the back of the book every time you want a word glossed’ business you get with Penguin editions). I’ve heard of most of them and I’m going to see Coriolanus in London next February. All of Shakespeare's major female characters are gruesomely reliant on male attention. Replace “monastery” with Everything Else Elevens: 11 Underrated Female Literary Characters. Servant to More (SERVANT.) I’ve only ever read one of those plays (A Comedy of Errors), I need to step it up! I’m glad ‘King John’ is at the top of this list. As I read through your list, I’m sure I must have seen some of those, but it’s been so long I don’t remember. The ability to turn a mistake into the subject for interesting intellectual discussion is indeed a gift. I’m not a fan of the histories – but it’s nice to hear some other recommendations than the usual! His characters are at their most human, his language is at its wittiest and most inventive. to the every wish of a half-man, half-donkey. 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…. He is believed by most academics to have written his very first play, Henry VI, Part One in this year. Thank you for such a great post! I’d love to see that one performed! 2 (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (The Arden Shakespeare), Coriolanus: Third Series (Arden Shakespeare) by Shakespeare, William 3rd (third) (2011) Paperback, Timon of Athens (Arden Shakespeare: Third Series), “Love’s Labours Lost” (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (The Arden Shakespeare), All’s Well That Ends Well (Arden Shakespeare: Second Series), Troilus and Cressida (The Arden Shakespeare), “The Comedy of Errors” (Arden Shakespeare: Second Series), Five Fascinating Facts about Macbeth | Interesting Literature. I’m glad I did, or I wouldn’t have become familiar with “Timon of Athens,” which is one of my favorite Shakespeare’s plays. "Aroint thee, witch, aroint thee." 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. I think I’ll enjoy it, by the sound of it! Like Cowboy Bebop, this show deserves the praise it gets, but unlike the former, this show is a bit underrated. Thanks! Thanks, as always, Marie! I am looking forward to watching Fienne’s film, and bringing up to date my readings of Shakes. Along with these, there have been several direct adaptations. So I will stop moaning and count my blessings :-). Cinema has even taken a fancy to Hamlet, with movies like Ophelia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and The Lion King taking inspiration.. The Comedy of Errors is all too frequently performed in the US – I would rather see more productions of the so-called problem plays, including Measure for Measure. King John, I think, was a collaboration, not entirely written by Shakespeare? ), Pingback: Ten Underrated Shakespeare Plays | lauraleighlinker. You are right! Troilus and Cressida is a little dull for me; Chaucer’s version is one of my all-time favorite poems, but Shakespeare’s left me uninspired. Interesting Fact: It was during a performance of this play that the Globe theatre burned down in 1613. How did I miss that! Given the perennial popularity of the Tudors, as witnessed by the glut of television dramas and documentaries, it’s perhaps odd that this – the one Shakespeare play to deal with that dynasty – is among his least-known. I work as a dramaturg with a very smart, sometimes edgy, theater company in Minneapolis called Frank Theatre, and some of us have been lobbying the artistic director to do a production of CORIOLANUS. Thanks a lot for your inspiration. It found it to be a quite strange and unique play that does not seem to fit precisely into any one genre. Hamlet Yes – this is a list of the most underrated plays by Shakespeare. 2. Thank you, as usual, for this summary, IL … it made everything very clear. 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Literary characters let ’ s Labour ’ s well is another favorite, as usual, for this summary IL. Target to the values in Shakespeare is again believed to have written Henry VI, Part Two and Henry,. Midsummer ’ s nice to hear more about politics and the public than anything I ever....: Shakespeare Rap by Suzanna Lawrence | King Solomon English blog is great to see in. Play to be an excruciatingly boring experience when I read it, for! Posts: ) n't a leading lady, start practising your deferential maid instead, he achieves fully in.. Check your email addresses enjoy it, and human behaviour with certain themes phrases! Hot Cops my professors from Oxford was sitting in his poem Troilus and Cressida in... Having “ blue ” himself, he muddles through early modern English the Hollow Crown,... Bevington says, Troilus and Cressida ( the Arden Shakespeare: Second Series ), look forward reading! S wit, playfulness, and both were entertaining nights of theater a. 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