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Michero
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I read the Merchant of Venice recently and I absolutely loved it. Then I saw the Jeremy Irons film version and now I love it even more because every time I think about the play I see Jeremy Irons in my mind which is a nice treat (especially at 2 am in the library). Well, I thought since Shakespeare is considered the best playwrite of all time there should be a thread devoted to him. So name your favourites or if you hate shakespeare and want to explain, do what you will :)

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I think he was sometimes brilliant, Richard the III is my favorite so far, but sometimes very over-rated.

I thought Romeo and Juliet was cheesy, and mediocre at best. The two main characters seemed very slow-witted, and I didn't sympathise with them at all. If it had been written in 1960 as Ronny and Julie, and don't think anyone would have ever heard of it.

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I love Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 "Romeo & Juliet". As a young teenager I loved the whole teenage angst and unforbidden young love themes. I also like Merchant of Venice and Othello. I've read/seen Hamlet but I'm not crazy about the character. He seemed to over-react to a lot of things, especially in regards to Ophelia.

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I love Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 "Romeo & Juliet". As a young teenager I loved the whole teenage angst and unforbidden young love themes.

I remember watching this in high school. There was a giant controversy (it was a long time ago and in the buckle of the bible belt in Texas) because it has a flash of nudity and the whole teens killing themselves storyline. Mind you, it got us students interested. Though we got stuck watching the "edited" version with the good bits removed. Given it was an 8mm film, the school did the edit themselves.

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I remember watching this in high school. There was a giant controversy (it was a long time ago and in the buckle of the bible belt in Texas) because it has a flash of nudity and the whole teens killing themselves storyline. Mind you, it got us students interested. Though we got stuck watching the "edited" version with the good bits removed. Given it was an 8mm film, the school did the edit themselves.

we watched this in my HS English class and when it got to the nudity scene with Romeo standing by the window, the teacher jumped out of his chair and proceeded to cover half the screen (the lower half) with a book. It was the funniest moment all year. Oh keep in mind that this happened about 6 years ago.

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As Ayn Rand said, Shakespeare is "the spiritual father" of Naturalism. Just look at his characters -- they are all pawns of their "stars" or their innate and immutable flaws. Shakespeare is literature's chief adversary of volition. He should be studied only by those conducting a post-mortem on the decline of civilization. Ayn Rand's plays are far better written and more interesting. In an Objectivist society, instead of Shakespeare festivals, we would have Rand festivals.

I generally enjoy Shakespeare's comedies. Much Ado About Nothing is a good one.

Well, the statements re: Shakespeare's ideology may be true, but there are other things to appreciate about Shakespeare, like iambic pentameter and his unique sense of both humor and irony. As for the former, I don't think his use of words and their complexity on a variety of levels can really be matched by any other author. There are a variety of things to appreciate when it comes to plays, and his are very poetic.

Anyway, in the society we live in now in the western world, we are perfectly free to have Rand festivals! And in a truly Objectivist society, which would be even more free, I don't presume that festivals of any literature would actually be banned (I'm not presuming this is what you meant, Lance. Just saying.). :)

Edited by Liriodendron Tulipifera
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I generally enjoy Shakespeare's comedies. Much Ado About Nothing is a good one.

Well, the statements re: Shakespeare's ideology may be true, but there are other things to appreciate about Shakespeare, like iambic pentameter and his unique sense of both humor and irony. As for the former, I don't think his use of words and their complexity on a variety of levels can really be matched by any other author. There are a variety of things to appreciate when it comes to plays, and his are very poetic.

Anyway, in the society we live in now in the western world, we are perfectly free to have Rand festivals! And in a truly Objectivist society, which would be even more free, I don't presume that festivals of any literature would actually be banned (I'm not presuming this is what you meant, Lance. Just saying.). :thumbsup:

Actually I'd disagree that Shakespeare believed in fate, based on the play I'm reading right now which is Henry the IV. There's a character, Prince Hal who seems to be giving into his flaws of drinking and partying etc. generally being a punk. At the end of the play he says how he was pretending to be a playboy in order to have power when he becomes a king (that was really short but I son't want to go into the whole thing).

While in many of his plots, Shakespeare uses "accidents" to get things started such as a ship wreck or fueding families, I don't think he really intended his plays to be taken as fated. Sure he says they are "star-crossed lovers" but everything that happens in the play is because of people. Even when ghosts appear in his plays, the question remains whether they are actually there or one of the characters is just seeing them in his mind.

About characters giving into "fatal flaws", I think that phrase "fatal flaw" misses the point. The characters have a view on life-- that's when they run into problems, when they value the wrong things. Ayn Rand wrote plenty of characters like that, but she also had hero's which shakespeare rarely does. There is no such thing as a random character trait-- and I think Shakespeare was a good enough writre to recognise that fact.

Edited by Michero
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  • 1 month later...
Actually I'd disagree that Shakespeare believed in fate,

Fate was such an accepted part of life in sixteenth century Europe, that Shakespeare would have had to have been a fairly extra-ordinary individual not to have believed in it.

Macbeth (my favourite) is certainly the best example of fate. Macbeth and his wife are (at least in the world of the play) fated to their ends.

It is certainly true that many of the example of "fate" in the plots of his work however are simply theatrical devices used to give the storyline a kick along, "deus ex machina" was the word we taught (and in English English classes, there is a very definite emphasis on Shakespeare)

I would like to know though if anyone genuinely believes his "comedies" to be funny? They may have been then, but I don't think they are. I don't think there can be an objective standard of humour (apart from people falling over, which is ALWAYS funny)

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I would like to know though if anyone genuinely believes his "comedies" to be funny? They may have been then, but I don't think they are. I don't think there can be an objective standard of humour (apart from people falling over, which is ALWAYS funny)

Have you ever seen 12th night? I thought that was extremely funny when I saw it. Taming of the shrew had it's moments. John Cleese was in a version of Taming that was hilarious. ShakespeaRe-told just did a remake for TV but that looks like crap.

But you didn't find Monty Python funny though did you? So tell me, what do you find funny then?

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Have you ever seen 12th night? I thought that was extremely funny when I saw it. Taming of the shrew had it's moments. John Cleese was in a version of Taming that was hilarious. ShakespeaRe-told just did a remake for TV but that looks like crap.

But you didn't find Monty Python funny though did you? So tell me, what do you find funny then?

I just thought that Monty Python was surreal for the sake of surreal. I don't know if you have ever seen any of these British comedies - but they are VERY funny;

Nighty Night (about a selfish psychopath)

The Office (life in an office)

Alan Partridge (about a daytime TV host)

The League of Gentlemen (about in inbred Northern town)

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (about an ugly woman and her gay flatmate)

To be honest, I must admit, that most of the comedy I like revolves around the misfortune of others. It is horrible to admit, but schadenfreude gives me such glee!.

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  • 1 month later...

I recently saw the 1950 movie adaptation of Julius Ceasar. It rankled when I noticed dropped lines (particularly some of my favorites). E.g. in Antony's funeral oration, where he says...

And, as he plucked his cursed steel away,

Mark how the blood of Caesar followed it,

As rushing out of doors, to be resolved.

If Brutus so unkindly knocked or no;

The movie kept the first pair of lines and dropped the second pair. My personal preference would be for a production that keeps all lines intact, even if it's longer. Does anyone know if the 1953 movie, with Brando is better? I saw it ages ago, and I remember it being better -- but, my standards may have changed. If not, what's the best movie/tv version of this play that you know of?

Despite it's shortcomings, I do recommend this movie. Shakespeare does a good job of crafting his characters. It is fun to watch. If the Romans interest you, that's one more reason to see it.

Also, I don't see naturalism and fatalism in this play -- perhaps because it is a "historical" one, rather than being focussed on a major character flaw of the protagonist.

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  • 4 months later...

I've read all of Shakespeare's plays but Henry VIII, which I really must read so I can say I've read all the plays, and I've acted in many of the plays. I just got cast as Capulet in Romeo and Juliet; I'm excited to be tackling a great part. As an actor, I find Shakespeare unequaled in the history of drama. He is a first rate dramatist and a first rate poet, a combination that gives the lines remarkable power and beauty. Other dramatists, such as Sophocles and Corneille, might equal Shakespeare, but I only know them in translation and not in the original language.

Figuring out what Shakespeare believes is notoriously difficult. Harold C. Goddard's The Meaning of Shakespeare argues that he hid his meaning in irony. For instance, most people read Henry V as Shakespeare's portrait of the ideal king, but Goddard makes a persuasive case that Henry V is a hypocritical strongman. Shakespeare does not glorify war, but does glorify imagination and love. His women are always wiser than his men. It seems to me that Shakespeare is an empiricist who is skeptical of rationalism. When characters such as Brutus are guided by philosophy, giving sophisticated arguments for their action, they inevitably end up tragically misguided by their reason.

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