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Shakespeare's Plays

I think Shakespeare (whoever he actually was) had a good understanding of what the 'great unwashed' liked to see. He pandered to the toffs romantic notions about themselves while shoving in rude bits for the peasants to have a laugh at the toffs they were taking the piss out of secretly behind their backs. I could well imagine him doing very well writing blockbuster movies that are popular but not necessarily actually very good.

So yeah Shakespeare performed in the park on a summer's night is a nice bit of fun to watch. It's entertaining, but I can't sit and swallow the 'great' literature bit. We did Shakespeare for years at school and then again in English at university (college). I got into huge amounts of trouble because I plain refused to spout the party line about it being any good. What then really annoyed me was despite showing the plot weaknesses, contradictions and inconsistencies and rude bits (and they are really are rude) the professors refused to acknowledge that my point of view was as valid as theirs. Although now, that probably was the problem more than the strength of my argument. Rule no. 1 - thou shalt not disagree with thy teachers!

This post. I agree with all of it.
That was my intent -thanks :)

Nope - you won't like it :) but here goes:

"Shakespeare is a second rate writer for second rate minds".

How do you know what I will and won't like?

I'm fascinated by posts that say more about their author than their target.

Thanks for the insight.
Richard III, with Ian McKellan, was quite good. The opening title sequence (6 minutes long) is 1930s Big Band music cleverly set to Christopher Marlowe's famous poem "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love." Loved the music, hate the poem. The music actually made the poem better.
I was going to say the last Shakespeare I saw was Romeo And Juliet but then I remembered that that is not quite true (if we count movie adaptations)
Hi, I haven't read much Shakespeare, and I thought of giving them a read - and I read Henry VIII and also watched the BBC production of it (before that it was "all's well that end's well" - yes, it was not a great start.)

Tell me I am wrong, but was Shakespeare playing up to Queen Elizabeth I, when he got Archbishop of Canterbury to prophesy great things to the newly Christen Elizabeth, the infant ? Also look at how Henry VIII is never shown as a tyrant - it is Wosley who is the antagonizer, and we see all the lords looking at others with malice - in fact the king declares that there is very few good men amongst his Lords. Was this similar to buttering up, to the queen ? Again tell me, I am wrong, but show me where and how, if I am.
Any playwright or poet in the Elizabethan / Tudor era had to be careful with what they wrote as it could easily be construed as criticism which would have dire consequences for the author.

If anyone, including Shakespeare, wanted to criticise the monarch and the country's current policy they would have to do so in a very veiled manner so it wouldn't be immediately obvious and one wouldn't think of it as such until after carefully rereading and analysing the work.

So, to answer your question, yes Shakespeare and his contemporaries had to cosy up to the reigning monarch. :)
Speaking of Shakespeare, I got to watch Kozintsev's 1964 Hamlet yesterday, and I'm damned if it's not one of the best film versions I've seen. A little bit on the operatic side at times, but with absolutely fantastic visuals (his King Lear is brilliant too), with an original score by Shostakovich, and one of the most realistic (if anachronistic) settings I've seen - if Olivier's looks a bit like a filmed play about psychology, where everyone's a reflection of Hamlet himself, this is Hamlet done as a drama with a madman tossed into the middle of a political intrigue including both kings and commoners. Very much recommended.

Someone went all creative with toilet signage picturing the many deaths in Shakespeare's plays.

A word of warning: if at all possible, the infographic below will spoil the endings of the plays. ;-)

Source: http://io9.com/an-infographic-that-keeps-track-of-all-of-shakespeares-1534516437

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I absolutely loved Kevin Branagh's Henry V (the movie). "AND GENTLEMEN OF ENGLAND NOW A'BED SHALL THINK THEMSELVES ACCURSED THEY WERE NOT HERE, AND HOLD THEIR MANHOOD'S CHEAP, WHILST ANY SPEAKS THAT FOUGHT WITH US UPON ST. CRISPIN'S DAY!" ..... Shakespeare is not quoted perfectly in the movie's version of this soliloquy but close enough to make me want to run out and spear a Frenchman.