Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 16 to 21 of 21

Thread: Rank Shakespeare's plays

  1. #16
    Registered User mona amon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    India
    Posts
    1,502
    I'm not sure how to rank them as I'm a bit of a bardolater and like everything indiscriminately, that is, I haven't really studied the plays, I read them only occasionally and haven't even read all that many, but whenever I do read I feel as if it's the greatest thing ever written. I think Twelfth Night is my all time favourite, closely followed by Anthony and Cleopatra. I hate Othello because Othello's such an idiot! I love Hamlet, Julius Caesar and Coriolanus. I hardly remember Romeo and Juliet, but it must have been pretty good. Anyway my attempt at ranking the few that I've read -

    A
    Hamlet
    King Lear
    Macbeth
    Othello
    Anthony and Cleopatra
    Twelfth Night
    The Tempest

    B
    Julius Caesar
    Romeo and Juliet
    Coriolanus
    The Taming of the Shrew
    The Merchant of Venice
    Henry VI, 1

    Yikes, that's all I've read. I thought it was more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    I might have missed it, too, except that I recently read it. (I was curious after our discussion about Fagin on another thread). I found its poetry better than its plot. Sometimes Shakespeare liked to defy expectations about the form he was using (Measure for Measure a comedy?--poor Pompey Bum! He had an uphill climb!) This risk taking is more successful in some plays than others. The Merchant of Venice does work better as a comedy than Measure for Measure, but it takes itself a little too seriously, which makes Shylock an uglier character than Shakespeare may have intended. But his way with words seduces you from the first line. Despite its faults, it's a great play.
    I felt he intended Shylock to be a typical evil-Jew stereotype of the time, but couldn't help humanizing him as he went along, just as he could not help making Malvolio into a human being whom you end up feeling sorry for.
    Last edited by mona amon; 02-16-2015 at 11:11 AM.
    Exit, pursued by a bear.

  2. #17
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Near Chicago, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,420
    Blog Entries
    2
    The Merchant of Venice is another play that I would put in the rock bottom section with Titus Andronicus. I'll admit it is because of the anti-semitism.

  3. #18
    Closed
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    6,375
    Quote Originally Posted by mona amon View Post
    I felt he intended Shylock to be a typical evil-Jew stereotype of the time, but couldn't help humanizing him as he went along, just as he could not help making Malvolio into a human being whom you end up feeling sorry for.
    Well he certainly humanized a stock-in-trade character with his gift for going into his characters heads and peering through the world through their eyes; and that makes Shylock more than just an ugly caricature. But in the final analysis, he is a fairy bloodthirsty figure, looking for his pound of flesh. He is eventually defeated by having his own Levitical way of looking at things thrown back in his face. But if the resolution had involved more charitable change on Shylock's part--if he had decided that compassion trumped minute legalism, for example--it would have been a better play in my opinion; at least as a comedy. As it is (ironically) there is something less than gracious about the whole thing.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 02-16-2015 at 02:55 PM.

  4. #19
    Registered User Clopin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    1,728
    Blog Entries
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    It's wonderful that you have access to so much live Shakespeare, Jonathan. I used to when I was in college, but unfortunately, that was before Shakespeare's time.

    I'm inclined to agree with you about Hamlet, by the way. It's certainly one of the greatest plays in literature, but in my opinion, its automatic assignment to the top of the Shakespearean heap has become a little too--automatic? King Lear, Macbeth, and Othello are more visceral plays (Hamlet is so damned heady). The Henry the Fourths appear more recognizably human to me. In some ways, Hamlet seems like an exposition about what it means to be a man (by which I mean an adult male, not just a human being). Several versions of manhood are critiqued in the ideal, and eventually, after a bit of bloodletting, Hamlet embraces his own noble but tragic destiny. In Henry IV, Prince Hal is just as troubled a figure as Hamlet, but he's not nearly as good. His "noble destiny" as Henry V is a sham and he knows it. On the eve of Agincourt (in Henry V), when he famously prays for his troops, he is still begging God to forgive his father for usurping the throne. In Henry IV Part 2, Hal is not choosing between ideals. He is betraying his lowlife friends because it turns out to be more important for him to embrace the lie than to wallow in the truth. In Henry V, he even hangs some of them. The price he (and they) pay, it seems to me, is more applicable to human experience than Hamlet's slow expiration in Horatio's arms. We all live like Prince Hal to some extent. How many of us die like Hamlet?
    No, we are not prince Hamlet! Well not most of us at least.

    But actually I like Hamlet the most pretty much because of all the things you mention there. I've said before that I don't have very much interest in live performances of any plays so maybe the headiness of Hamlet goes with that. I like very much the thought behind the play and the eponymous character himself, to the extent that really I would place it in its own tier if I were ranking; which I'm not because I haven't read most of the plays in years, and I plan to marathon the lot in March.
    Last edited by Clopin; 02-16-2015 at 01:12 PM.
    So with the courage of a clown, or a cur, or a kite jerkin tight at it's tether

  5. #20
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    3,093
    Quote Originally Posted by mona amon View Post
    I'm not sure how to rank them as I'm a bit of a bardolater and like everything indiscriminately, that is, I haven't really studied the plays, I read them only occasionally and haven't even read all that many, but whenever I do read I feel as if it's the greatest thing ever written. I think Twelfth Night is my all time favourite,....
    Henry VI part 1 would put most people off reading more But you're missing some comedies that are up there with Twelfth Night: As You Like It, Midsummer Night's Dream, ...

  6. #21
    King of Dreams MorpheusSandman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    The Heart of the Dreaming
    Posts
    3,097
    I started a Rank Shakespeare's Plays thread a few years ago. My ratings haven't changed TOO much:

    10/10
    1 Hamlet
    2 King Lear
    3 The Tempest
    4 A Midsummer Night's Dream
    5 Antony and Cleopatra
    6 Macbeth

    9.5/10
    7 As You Like It
    8 Coriolanus
    9 The Winter's Tale
    10 Julius Caesar
    11 Richard III

    9/10
    12 Measure for Measure
    13 Twelfth Night
    14 The Merchant of Venice
    15 Othello
    16 Troilus and Cressida

    8/10
    17 II Henry IV
    18 Henry V
    19 Much Ado About Nothing
    20 I Henry IV
    21 Romeo and Juliet
    22 Cymbeline
    23 Richard II

    7/10
    24 Love's Labour's Lost
    25 Merry Wives of Windsor
    26 II Henry VI
    27 King John
    28 Timon of Athens

    6/10
    29 Titus Andronicus
    30 All's Well that Ends Well
    31 I Henry VI
    32 III Henry VI
    33 Pericles

    5/10
    34 Comedy of Errors

    4/10
    35 Two Gentlemen of Verona
    36 Two Noble Kinsmen
    37 Henry VIII
    38 Taming of the Shrew
    "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being." --Carl Gustav Jung

    "To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due." --Neil Gaiman; The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists

    "I'm on my way, from misery to happiness today. Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh" --The Proclaimers

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12

Similar Threads

  1. Rank Shakespeare's Plays In Order of Your Preference...
    By MorpheusSandman in forum Shakespeare, William
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 03-09-2017, 06:17 PM
  2. Shakespeare's problem plays
    By kelby_lake in forum Shakespeare, William
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 05-22-2012, 06:59 AM
  3. Did Shakespeare write the plays?
    By Emil Miller in forum Shakespeare, William
    Replies: 141
    Last Post: 11-14-2011, 05:37 PM
  4. Shakespeare's Plays in theaters
    By sreichert in forum General Literature
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 08-22-2011, 07:06 AM
  5. Shakespeare Plays
    By leagunner in forum The Literature Network
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-25-2003, 09:14 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •