Taka's Reviews > Complete Works

Complete Works by William Shakespeare
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Apr 04, 08

bookshelves: japan_jul07-aug11, english_lit, poetry
Read in April, 2008

I did it.

38 plays, 2 long poems, and 154 sonnets in 2462 onion-paper pages. I read them all. ALL. I think I deserve a self-congratulation for this. Yes. Good job!

It took me more than two months of intense reading that toughened my wrists and arms from reading it on the train standing, hardened my heart with stony indifference against people's perplexed and peering gazes thrown at me even to the point of leaning in from the side to see what the hell I'm reading, and made me utterly fearless against any future reference to Shakespeare.

From the end of January to today, April 5th, it was a long journey during which time I came out of Shakespearean depths only once to take a quick breather for five days and read one contemporary book. It was a long, long read indeed.

So what do I think of his works? Amazing. If you speak English, read them.

My favorite comedies are The Comedy of Errors, The Midsummer Night's Dream , All's Well That Ends Well, and of course, my absolute favorite, The Merchant of Venice. As for histories, Henry IV part 1&2, Henry V, and Richard III were fascinating and beautiful in myriad aspects. It seems like I'm drawn to wicked villains like Richard III, Shylock, and Barabas (Marlowe's The Jew of Malta), though I didn't absolutely love Iago from Othello for some reason.

And tragedies. Oh man. I read Macbeth and Julius Caesar in high school and middle school respectively, but I can say I understood less than 10% of their artistic merit now that I read them again. Macbeth is just a short, sweet, and wicked play with enchanting poetry, and the speeches in Julius Caesar are just mind-blowing in their poetry and rhetoric.

Romeo and Juliet definitely belongs to one of his greatest works. It's got the engaging story, beautiful language, and comic scenes all rolled in one - everything that makes a work of art entertaining and satisfying to people from all walks of life. Cymbeline is also awesome. The ending just so unrealistic that it's unbelievably satisfying. Hamlet is like a given and I don't think I need to say anything about it other than that it rocks.

Oh and I really liked this minor play, Titus Andronicus, considered by many critics to be one of his inferior plays. Granted, the beginning is just absolute shit at least plot-wise, but man, it's AWESOME with all that bloody murders and plotting and hatred and violence. It may be poetically inferior to other tragedies, but story-wise, it holds its own among his corpus.

I did it!
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Don Incognito (new)

Don Incognito That's great, but why did you want to get through Shakespeare in a mere two months? You could have given yourself longer to digest the plays.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Crazy, but congratulations indeed!


message 3: by Essy (new)

Essy I'm going 2 do it this summer


Sheila Great..it took me 2 years to read it in high school. Will wait to read it again.


message 5: by Travis (new)

Travis I read very little Shakespeare.
I love seeing the plays performed, but can't really get into them as just words on the page.
So, I'm always impressed with people that read his stuff.


message 6: by Littlebeth (new) - added it

Littlebeth What was your favorite play???


message 7: by Travis (new)

Travis Tempest is my favorite.
Though, I don't think there are any bad ones.
Not a fan of the tragedies, prefer the happy ones, but like re-watching all the plays as there are so many re-inturpitations.


message 8: by Shell (new) - added it

Shell Shelve Congratulations, Taka :-)!


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