General Question

MilkyWay's avatar

Which is your favourite Shakespearean play, and why?

Asked by MilkyWay (13685points) May 12th, 2011

As asked above ^ :)
Which is your favourite play by William Shakespeare?
Any reason why this is your favourite?
What do you like best about this play?

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55 Answers

Rarebear's avatar

Richard III. Because he’s just so devious and evil.

marinelife's avatar

A Midsummer Night’s Dream because it is so fun.

KateTheGreat's avatar

Macbeth. I actually performed it and I had a lot of fun with it.

WestRiverrat's avatar

MacBeth, we performed it in High School.

flutherother's avatar

I like Macbeth because it is so dark and sinister.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I’m a Shakespearean addict. I actually read his stuff for fun. My favorite tragedy is Hamlet. My favorite comedy is A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Hamlet touches on so many core issues including what it means to be human, what is the core of the theatrical arts, and what is love.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is lyrical and fanciful. It’s fun.

I also have a favorite history: Henry V. I am transported by the St. Crispin’s Day speech.

HungryGuy's avatar

Much Ado About Nothing.

[SPOILER] I like the way it turns a sad event into a happy ending.

Hobbes's avatar

I also performed Macbeth in High School (was Macbeth, actually) and had a blast. It’s just such a perfectly crafted spiral into corruption. Not a scene out of place. I also really like Titus Andronicus for many of the same reasons, and because of Julie Taymor’s absolutely stunning film version of it. Hamlet is of course the quintessential Shakespeare play, and the “To be or not to be” soliloquy is one of the best ever written. King Lear is also incredible, though it’s very hard to find an elderly male actor who is both very skilled and has the requisite physical and emotional fortitude to perform the part.

etignotasanimum's avatar

I really like Midsummer and The Tempest. I just find them to be really well-written. Also, they translate from the page into a mental image of the play being acted out well, if that makes any sense. I went to a production of Midsummer that had several of my friends acting in it and from then on have pictured each of them as the part they played when I read the text, which makes it a little more fun to read (not that I needed more of a fun factor for reading them).

tedibear's avatar

The Taming of the Shrew and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I enjoyed the humor in both of them.

MilkyWay's avatar

It’s nice to know there’s so many Shakespeare fans here! :)
Thanks to everyone who answered ♥

6rant6's avatar

A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Because there is such complexity, so many levels. It has interesting things to say about life and love. It takes advantage of a classical education but doesn’t require one to be enjoyed.

And I directed it and they perform at 7 tonight.

MilkyWay's avatar

@6rant6 Really!? That’s wonderful, I hope it all goes well :)

BarnacleBill's avatar

Midsummer and Maccers fan here! Midsummer is hilarious, and a good exercise for young actors in timing. MacBeth is just deliciously dark.

filmfann's avatar

The ghost of his father appeals to him, and names his Uncle as the murderer.
His Uncle has just married his Mother, and is now King.
However it goes down, it won’t be pretty, or easy.

fundevogel's avatar

Hamlet, it’s the only one I’ve read so far, (though I’ve seen a fair number of his plays) and it rocked my socks. I just love the mouth on Hamlet. He’s a cheeky bastard.

Blueroses's avatar

Hamlet, of course, for the tragedies (with a side of Rozencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, please)

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I love Hamlet. It’s an awful story, but it’s great. It was one of my favorite plays that we went through in my sophomore English class. We read a ton of Shakespeare that year. A close second would be Othello or Macbeth.

I loved Hamlet even more when I saw the movie Renaissance Man.

Blueroses's avatar

I love you that much more @WillWorkForChocolate!! Renaissance Man is one of my top 10 favorite films. “I ain’t no ox moron!”

FutureMemory's avatar

I am dead, Horatio.

Hamlet, because it’s the only one I’ve read.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Blueroses Yeah, it’s one of my favorites too. Mel cracks me up. OMG, and I LOVE it when the asshole is giving Benitez a hard time and Benitez rattles off the St. Crispin’s Day speech. Gives me goosebumps to see everyone staring at him with respect!

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
cbloom8's avatar

Othello or King Lear – both are simply very entertaining and interesting to me.

blueiiznh's avatar

Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest just because they are simply Epic!

dxs's avatar

Romeo and Juliet because it is the only one I have read.

fundevogel's avatar

@Blueroses I read R & G are Dead almost immediately after Hamlet I was so hopped up on Shakespeare. I’ve got The Boy Who Would Be Shakespeare and Vortigern waiting for a twist on more Shakespeare themed reading.

muppetish's avatar

Oh, wow. There are so many that I have yet to read… I’m not sure which to choose from those that I have read. The Tempest fascinates me (and it has such lovely poetry!) And I quite enjoyed Twelfth Night since it was the first play that really pulled me into Shakespeare.

You can’t go wrong with Hamlet, though.

ddude1116's avatar

I’m seriously behind in my knowledge of Shakespeare, but Macbeth because he was the perfect anti-hero.

fundevogel's avatar

@Blueroses All those laurels are getting my hopes up. I was a afraid that was solidly in the category of “It Sounds Too Freakin’ Cool It’s Just Going to Disappoint Me”. I’m looking at you Black Sheep

Blueroses's avatar

@fundevogel I won’t give you my feedback until after you see it but the title alone was enough to make me wait-list it through Netflix.

This show is pure joy for any Shakespeare fan.

GingerMinx's avatar

The Merchant of Venice, I love the fact the hero is a heroine, and who can resist the lines,
“Tarry a little; there is something else.
This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood;
The words expressly are ‘a pound of flesh:’
Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh;
But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed
One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods
Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate
Unto the state of Venice.”

Haleth's avatar

A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The fairies and the woods at night bring a touch of magical realism. It introduced Puck into the popular imagination, and I love mischievous characters like that. All the mix-ups and misunderstandings are so lighthearted and fun, and then you’ve got the vulgar play-within-a-play which is hilarious.

Jeruba's avatar

I think my favorite is probably always, or nearly always, going to be the one I’ve most recently seen. Except for King Lear, which I just don’t particularly like.

A month or so ago I watched Olivier’s Richard III. Before that it was the McKellen/Dench Macbeth. Before that it was Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet, and before that it was the Taylor/Burton Taming of the Shrew. Each in turn was my temporary favorite. I have the 2009 David Tennant Hamlet at home now (courtesy of Netflix), and in another few days that will probably be my favorite.

Blueroses's avatar

@Jeruba ooh, David Tennant as Hamlet would send me into paroxysms of joy. Thanks for the tip.

Jeruba's avatar

And Patrick Stewart. Mmmm.

Blueroses's avatar

Hamlet has never looked so yummy.

HungryGuy's avatar

@Jeruba – I didn’t know you were a Trek fan! You want Captain Piccard to play Hamlet?

Actually, come to think of it, I agree. I also think he’d make a pretty good Hamlet. He certainly has a strong voice for doing Shakespearean type roles.

filmfann's avatar

Careful @Jeruba , you will send Zen into convultions.

Blueroses's avatar

I see! Patrick Stewart plays Claudius to David Tennant’s Hamlet.
Now, I can’t sleep until I watch this!

muppetish's avatar

@Jeruba I watched and reviewed that version for one of my Shakespeare courses the year it came out. Tennant and Stewart are wonderful in their respective roles. I had few qualms with that version of the play. There were many interesting choices and it was modern without trying too hard.

Jeruba's avatar

@HungryGuy, I was a great fan of STNG, and I followed the next series, but my interest fell off sharply after that.

Patrick Stewart is a trained Shakespearean actor with a distinguished history of stage credits.

HungryGuy's avatar

@Jeruba – Which series do you mean as the “next” series? Voyager? DS9? Enterprise? If you mean Enterprise, I agree. I started watching it, but soon realized they completely rewrote “history” and so lost my ability to “suspend disbelief.”

Jeruba's avatar

We’re off topic in a General thread, @HungryGuy, so I hope you read this before it gets modded away.

Whatever directly followed STNG—I think it was DS9—is the one I mean. I cannot bear Kate Mulgrew under any conditions, and the other one, whichever it was, went to reruns after about the third show. Besides, it was junk. No, thanks.

HungryGuy's avatar

@Jeruba – Well, we are talking about Patric Stewart, the Shakespearean actor, and some of the other roles he played :-p

MilkyWay's avatar

Whoever thought we’d start talkin bout Star Trek and STNG in a Shakespeare thread?
This is what I love about you guys on Fluther ;)

HungryGuy's avatar

@queenie – Well, it turns out that Shakespeare and STNG are connected in a way (through Patrick Stewart)...

MilkyWay's avatar

@HungryGuy So I see :) Lol!

GingerMinx's avatar

I have an audio of Patrick Stewart reading ” A Christmas Carol”, its brilliant. The man has talent.

Jeruba's avatar

Ok, so now (a day later) my answer is—you guessed it—Hamlet.

Excellent production and interpretation.

fundevogel's avatar

@Jeruba I love that production.

Jeruba's avatar

@fundevogel, I don’t normally care for modern-dress performances of Shakespeare, but I have seen two or three that I liked. I thought this one worked beautifully. The performances were first-rate, and so were the directorial concept, the cinematography, and the editing. I have a feeling that I’ll be coming back to this for another look. I do adore Olivier, but somewhere in my mind I find that I wish he could have seen this.

I would also love to see what the same team could do with Macbeth.

@Blueroses, when you’ve seen it, please tell us what you think.

Blueroses's avatar

I will @Jeruba. Hurry up and return that disk to Netflix so I can check it out!

On modern settings for Shakespeare: I generally do prefer the traditional stagings but I’ve seen some really interesting adaptations. The Tempest set in outer space where the island became a planet, The Taming of the Shrew set in the US Old West (that worked very well with the Petruchio/Kate dynamic being a playful tease rather than her submitting to his will). The beauty of Shakespeare is that the plays do translate well to modern times and address universal themes.
The only plays I don’t think work with updating are the Histories (the Henry’s and the Richards).

fundevogel's avatar

@Jeruba Stewart did Macbeth, though I haven’t seen that one yet. Maybe you already have since we already had the Star Trek tangent?

@Blueroses and I need to return my Netflix too…

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