September 30, 2011

The Others - William Shakespeare

Actually I know him personally. Shakespeare, that is. Of course it's only the name of the dog of a friend of mine. Labrador Retriever, by the way. The dog, not the friend. The reason why her dog has got this unusual name (for a dog anyway) is because she loves William Shakespeare. She read them all, she's seen them all, and I never had the heart telling her that while I basically know what most of Shakespeare's plays are about, the closest I ever got to them was by watching movies like Much Ado About Nothing (1993) and O (adaptation of Othello, 2001). Quite obviously I don't qualify for an expert of Shakespeare.

In my defense I'd like to point out that I would have loved to go and see The Tempest while in London recently. Of course the reason for that wasn't so much related to Shakespeare than the fact that Ralph Fiennes plays in it and he is an amazing actor (who, by the way, has finally grown back hair, say bye bye Voldemort). Of course it's next to impossible to get a ticket on such short notice, so all I saw was the theater where it plays from the outside and lots of local ads everywhere. But back to Shakespeare.

The poet and dramatist is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language, often called England's national poet. It's those 38 plays he's best known for, but he also wrote countless sonnets and poems. From his early plays, mostly comedies such as As You Like It, and histories such as Henry V, it was only in his later years that he started writing tragedies like Hamlet or Romeo And Juliet. Respected in his own time, it wasn't until the 19th century that his reputation reached its peak. Interesting to know is how around 150 years after Shakespeare's death, doubts began to be expressed about the authorship of the works attributed to him. Most academics stick to the traditional attribution though.

Is Shakespeare still worth being read today. I say yes, despite the fact that I never actually read anything by him. Just look at the timelessness of the stories themselves which is reflected in adaptations that the younger generation came to know through the big screen. His words certainly haven't lost its appeal or message. And I should really sit down and read one of his plays rather sooner than later.


  1. OMG! OMG! I love Ralph Fiennes, and i wanted to go and see him, but I can't take a leave of absence from school right now, since we are in the middle of a scandal, and just flying to London for one day seemed misplaced :) In the the first half of September there were still tickets in the front seats, at about 100 pounds...

  2. We had to read Shakespeare every year in high school. MacBeth was Senior Year, Hamlet Junior, Romeo & Juliet was 9th or 10th and I forget the other. I am in the 'I don't like Shakespeare' camp. My ex husband loved Shakespeare- hey, that should have been enough of a warning right there!