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Tag Archives: Shakespeare

Pericles, Cymbeline, and Othello by Shakespeare

Title: Pericles, Cymbeline, Othello

Author: William Shakespeare

Genre: Classic Plays

Pages: 147, 137, 163

Rating: 3/5   3/5    5/5  stars

Reading Challenges: Shakespeare; Mount TBR; Fall into Reading

I finished three Shakespeare plays this week, and I have to say that I need a Shakespeare break.  The first two plays were just so-so for me.  Othello is brilliant, but I already knew that as I read it back in college and loved it.  Besides the brilliance of Othello and especially the character of Iago, I can’t find much to say about the plays.  Does that make me less of a bibliophile? I think I’m craving more time with interesting characters and maybe more action.  I don’t know…  I do know that my next selection is finishing The Wrinkle in Time that I started before flying out.

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Posted by on November 19, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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As You Like It by Shakespeare

Title: As You Like It

Author: William Shakespeare

Genre: Classic Plays

Pages: 133

Rating:  3 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Shakespeare; Mount TBR; Fall into Reading

I must say that isn’t my favorite Shakespeare play.  It was good, but something just didn’t click with me.  After thinking on it awhile, I think I’ve decided that these aren’t the best characters Shakespeare ever wrote.  I couldn’t get behind the naiveté of Celia or the goody good of Rosalind.  They just weren’t the best characters.  And I’m sure that I’ve seen this story too many times by this time in my life.  I just didn’t really enjoy this one as much as the others…

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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Twelfth Night by Shakespeare

Title: Twelfth Night or What You Will

Author: William Shakespeare

Genre: Classic Plays

Pages: 92

Rating:  5 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Shakespeare; Book2Movies

Play

I’ve always been a fan of Twelfth Night.  I am going to say it’s because of the mistaken identify.  I love the interplay between the characters and their identities.  Viola is an amazing female character for Shakespeare.  I feel for her.  I understand her.  I admire her wit and intelligence.  I may say that she is my favorite of Shakespeare’s women.  The best scenes are the interplay between her and the Lady Olivia.  We see this great back and forth of wits.  With my love of characters, I do have a few issues with the play.  What happens to Malvolio?  How does Olivia feel about marrying Cesario’s (Viola’s) dead brother mistakenly?  I might have some issues with the consequences.  I also have an issue with the unresolved Clown.  What happen’s after?  It seems that Shakespeare ended the play a bit too early.

Extra fun note curtesy of IMDB: The play was referenced in the movie V For Vendetta. The character V quotes: “Conceal me what I am, and be my aid…for such disguise as haply shall become the form of my intent” as he’s dancing with Evey.

Movie Adaptation — 1988 Kenneth Branagh directed production

This isn’t a movie adaptation, it’s a filmed stage production.  I love that the audience gets the feel of being in the theater.  However, I do not love the set design.  Everything is gray and white and a barren graveyard.  I just so not a fan of the stark set.  A bit more color would have been nice.  Plus, the clown was very tiring and his hair just distracted me.  It was an interesting adaptation, but not my favorite (and definitely not my favorite Branagh Shakespeare.  I much prefer Much Ado About Nothing or Othello.

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2012 in Book Reviews, Movies

 

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Antony and Cleopatra by Shakespeare

Title: Antony and Cleopatra

Author: William Shakespeare

Genre: Classic Plays

Pages: 139

Rating:  4 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Shakespeare

I admit that my view of this play is colored by the amazing tv production that was Rome.  I can’t ever hear about Marc Antony or Cleopatra now without thinking of those specific portrayals.  It was definitely a problem going into this play.

I did find some interesting aspects of the play.  There is such a difference between the Roman characters and the Egyptian characters.  Rome is all business without any flowery language.  We get many more descriptive pieces from Cleopatra’s side.  And speaking of Cleopatra… she’s such a complex character.  One minute I hate her, the next I sympathize.  I didn’t think I could have such conflicting feelings for a notorious historical figure.  Ultimately I see her as a ruler trying to hold onto her power any way she can.  First with Caesar, and then with Antony, she tries in vain to keep Rome from displacing her from the throne.  Even through that, I see a woman stuck in a much larger battle centered in Rome but being fought in Egypt.  Maybe that’s why I feel for her.  At any rate, I loved Shakespeare’s complex portrayals of the characters.  It’s not one of my ultimate favorites, but it’s a good history/tragedy.  And it’s definitely a much better tragedy than Romeo and Juliet.

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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Richard III by Shakespeare

Title: Richard III

Author: William Shakespeare

Genre: Classic Plays

Pages: 158

Rating:  4 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Shakespeare; Book2Movies

Play

History or tragedy?  Even Wikipedia doesn’t know.  I am going to all it a history.  While there are definitely tragic elements, we aren’t supposed to identify with Richard.  The villainous villain of all of Shakespeare… and he’s the main character.  I can not get over it!  He does have the most amazing monologues throughout the play.  Shakespeare is known for his monologues, but these are over the top.  I especially love the scene on the battlefield after the ghosts have visited Richard.  Oh how the mighty have fallen!  Not one of my favorite plays, but a very interesting history.

1955 Movie Adaptation 

Before I say anything about the content, I must remark ont he ridiculous costumes.  they are so comical and colorful.  They look like something that belongs in Disney World.  I Just can’t get past them.  On to the content. Laurence Olivier is just amazing.  He exudes villainy and treachery.  And that wig is just perfect for the nasty king.  I was a bit unnerved at his monologues directly into the cameras.  It’s a bit odd for a movie.  It made me feel that I was part of Richard’s evil plan to get the crown.  But the performance is just right.  Last note…  I love how unrealistically people from old movies kiss.  That just looked awkward.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Book Reviews, Movies

 

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Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare

Title: Much Ado About Nothing

Author: William Shakespeare

Genre: Classic Plays

Pages: 98

Rating:  5 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Shakespeare; Books2Movie

Play

I love the interplay of characters in this one.  We get some interesting pairs and foils.  While I don’t find the laughs like I do in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, there are some good moments.  Most of those moments come with banter between Beatrice and Benedick.  Beyond the content and characters, I do find it fascinating that this play in written mostly in prose.  We get Shakespeare’s fun with verse occasionally, but most of it is straight verse.  And I do love that it’s set in Messina on Sicily.  The setting gives the play a different feel than many of his northern settings.

Movie Adaptation 

I decided to watch the 1993 Kenneth Branaugh version as Emma Thompson and Branaugh are amazing as Beatrice and Benedick.  Overall, their love story is the one that I watch.  Hero and Claudio’s is too “love at first sight” nonsense leading to (in my opinion) Claudio’s false accusation of Hero.  Of course, that is just my issue with Shakespeare’s story.  I do love the blocking and sets in the film.  The rustic charm is to die for.  I want to visit.  And the costumes are appropriately wore in.  Overall, I think this is one of favorite adaptations of any Shakespeare work.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Book Reviews, Movies

 

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Henry V by Shakespeare

Title: Henry V

Author: Shakespeare

Pages: 150

Rating:   5 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Shakespeare; My Years — 1998 (Readings); Dewey 800s (Readings)

Before delving into this month’s Shakespeare play (I haven’t read this one), I thought it would be a good idea to get a sense of history context.  The kings and queens of England are really not my forte when it comes to history.  I picked up Readings of William Shakespeare’s The Histories published by Greenhaven Press (1998).  It contained some basic summaries of the history plays.  But the part that I really liked was the critical essays.  One gave a great historical account of the War of the Roses.  One focuses on how Shakespearean England saw the war and monarchs.  And one dealt with perspective in Henry V.  Overall these helped give me something of a road map when reading the play itself.
 
I really liked this one.  Maybe it’s because the play is historical.  But I think maybe because Henry V is such a great character.  We don’t get many characters in this play, but that’s okay.  The focus is on Henry V.  I really got into the multiple facets of his personalities.  It made him a real person and not a caricature.  On a completely different note, I found the language more readable than Macbeth.  J suggested that this is more straight-forward without as many metaphors as Macbeth.  possibly…  At any rate I read this one much faster and without constantly looking at the footnotes.
 
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Posted by on March 26, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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