Superb. I’d have to rhyme it with “upon us” or something. 3. First Gravedigger ( Hamlet) – Often dismissed as merely a comic character, the Gravedigger gives Hamlet a chance to... 3. business in Norway and all of a sudden had to take over a castle filled with I agree that it’s certainly a very dark representation of love, honour, and human behaviour. only your sophomore AP English teacher understood. Iago, the quintessence of evil, is a terrific part for the Shakespearean player, and the one with the most lines in this play – 31% to Othello’s 25%. Hopefully the brilliant Ralph Fiennes film will have rekindled interest in the play. Interesting Fact: This play has the largest cast of all of Shakespeare’s plays, with over fifty named parts and several smaller roles. “Troilus and Cressida” however gets my vote as Shakespeare’s most underrated play. I’ve long had a soft spot for “Love’s Labour’s Lost”. Shakespeare broadened the characters in the stories he found but rarely invented any. Thanks Rajiv some very good points. Titus is a hard slog in many ways, with a lengthy opening scene probably written by a collaborator, and many horrors to endure if you want to enjoy the language. I agree with the other blogger’s comment about Titus Andronicus. You are right! I always wonder why no one talks about Loves Labours Lost. (It had previously been told by Chaucer in his poem Troilus and Criseyde.) He still manages to steal a few scenes here and there and doesn’t I know Jo March, Lucy Pevansie, and Anne of Green Gables and had an impact on who I was and who I am. Pingback: Ten Underrated Shakespeare Plays | Shakespearenne. 15 Overrated: Overhyped No Jutsu! discussion could have achieved in an hour. Years ago I went to England with a group of writing teachers. pantheon of underrated Shakespearean characters who are overshadowed by sword-wielding, I think a lot of people need – and lack – that one hour to ‘convert’ them to Shakespeare, the rhythms, the emotive power of the language, and the characters. I have some Plautus somewhere, and have only ever read The Pot of Gold, so will have to see if I have that one…. Then I saw it performed a couple of years ago, and it was great fun on stage if you didn’t take it seriously. And, of course, the dialogue borrows straight from Shakespeare … The play is widely viewed as something of an experiment; many scholars believe the play to have been the work of two hands, namely Shakespeare and Thomas Middleton. Daughter to More (DAUGHTER.) Seven of the Best Underrated Shakespeare Plays Eliza | 18 - 11 - 2020. That is one thought I recommend everyone read. And thanks – I had no idea about Tom Hiddleston being in Coriolanus this winter, that’s fantastic – one to look out for. I loved the article, though. :) Marsha :). “Tumblr” and this shit just got too I was surprised to see Coriolanus in the list. ~ Rebecca. Recommended edition: All’s Well That Ends Well (Arden Shakespeare: Second Series). And while Hamlet is, obviously most highly rated, at the same time, I’d argue, it’s underrated and underappreciated for the extraordinary work of experimental art that it is. The Henry the VIs were pretty good, thanks mostly to the actor the BBC chose to play the role. In the introduction to On Shakespeare, a then-75-year-old Tolstoy admitted to rereading Shakespeare’s complete works to see whether his … Loved reading the post. They wanted to see plays, so we must have gone to 20-25 of them in a three week period, many of them Shakespeare. Recommended edition: “King Henry VIII”: Third Series (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (The Arden Shakespeare). (Real life doesn’t quite work like that unfortunately. We promise to never, ever spam you or give away your email address. But most are pretty good. to marry her out of loyalty, thus making her the Lavinia Swire to I remember seeing it at the Globe a few years ago and being blown away by it. He says that while the quarto called it a history, the folio calls it a tragedy and the table of contents doesn’t make it clear either. I work as a dramaturg with a very smart, sometimes edgy, theater company in Minneapolis called Frank Theatre, and some of us have been lobbying the artistic director to do a production of CORIOLANUS. But yes, I LOVE Hamlet. King John, I think, was a collaboration, not entirely written by Shakespeare? What follows involves one of the staples of Shakespeare’s problem plays – the so-called ‘bed trick’ – but, as the title suggests, everything is destined to work out for the best in the end. Cinema has even taken a fancy to Hamlet, with movies like Ophelia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and The Lion King taking inspiration.. I didn’t put Measure for Measure on the list since, despite my own fondness for it, I felt it wasn’t neglected enough, though now I reflect I suppose the plot isn’t that well known, and it is an oddity among Shakespeare’s plays in all sorts of ways (only one set in Vienna, another ‘problem play’, etc.). Check out the blog to know some less-known Shakespeare works. case of Prince Fortinbras, it’s a bit more forgivable. Ah, really? ), but rather celebrated these days for its insight into love, jealousy, and gender politics…. Having seen Two Gents recently, I’m not surprised that Shakespeare avoided bringing animals on stage in future plays – the dog stole the show, as dogs are wont to do. creatures whose idea of a joke is usually an indecipherable play on words that him an unofficial member of the Hot Cops. Thanks for the comment, Brian! Another of Shakespeare’s ‘problem plays’. Calpurnia // Julius Caesar. I just posted a comment on someone’s blog regretting that I am not doing master’s in History instead! Thanks for the comment, as ever! Some were tough to sit through. It’s a play that doesn’t offer the audience any hope at all: the characters aren’t even offered the stature of tragic protagonists. Reblogged this on Mark Whelan's Literary Blog. Coriolanus. I wasn’t aware King John was a collaboration – my understanding was that Shakespeare collaborated very early on and very late in his career (Titus, 1 Henry VI; Henry VIII, Pericles, Two Noble Kinsmen), though I know there are exceptions in between, too…. But what about the others? I agree with Steve about the Arden editions: they’re often the best, and have extensive notes (on the same page as the text, so none of that fiddly ‘go to the back of the book every time you want a word glossed’ business you get with Penguin editions). the privilege to literally live out the lyrics to this amazing song. This mysterious word has also been cited as ‘evidence’ for the Baconian theory – that Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare’s plays – on the strength of the fact that Honorificabilitudinitatibus can be rearranged into the anagram hi ludi, F. Baconis nati, tuiti orbi, which is Latin for ‘these plays, F. Bacon’s offspring, are preserved for the world’. Interesting about the Michael Jackson overtones to Whishaw’s Richard II (got it right that time! Sorry, that should have been King Richard II to King Richard III (which sounds so short when it’s phrased like that, but one forgets how many Henries are interposed between). Thanks for A2A. Bet it would be great in performance, as you outline here. Great post. I can see why it isn’t so celebrated as other comedies, but you certainly get something a little different from the other, better-known plays. while reading a Shakespearean comedy. Solo Survival: How to Survive Alone in the Wilderness for 1 week --Eastern Woodlands - Duration: 34:07. I could see a great modern adaptation of that play being created. Some excellent notes on Troilus and Cressida, and we take your point about ‘pander’ – though the verb is also evidently derived from Pandarus, if not from Shakespeare’s play itself. Somewhere along the line, the pre-existing name ‘Innogen’ (meaning ‘girl, maiden’) was misread as ‘Imogen’, with the ‘nn’ being confused for a letter ‘m’. But I don’t know those one. Let the Shakespeare onslaught begin! Thanks, as always, Marie! Agreed, the Hollow Crown series was superb! Best of luck with the endeavour…. It is pretty amazing to me that the only one of these plays you have read is perhaps the most problematic of all Shakespeare and to me it is wonderful that you penetrated so deeply into it. The character of Scott is the main connection as a stand-in for Prince Hal, while Mike is more loosely based on Poins. And do find time to watch Coriolanus … I would love to hear your thoughts on it. engage in life that he runs off and joins a monastery. The story of Troilus and Cressida does not come from the ancients and has a medieval source; The meaning of the word “pander” I take from the play is “pimp”. This is a fascinating post. Thanks to Nicholas Hytner’s 2012 production at the National Theatre in London … Dogberry was the sixteenth century Tobias Fünke. makes you a beautiful character, but hands down, earns you the award for best T. S. Eliot, in his 1919 essay ‘Hamlet and His Problems’, considered Coriolanus a greater achievement than Hamlet (which he considered a failure). However, it is still possible to mount good productions: the first production of any play I ever saw in Stratford was a production of “Love’s Labour’s Lost” back in ’78, directed by John Barton and featuring Michael Hordern, Jane Lapotaire, Michael Pennington, and the late, lamented Richard Griffith. I also don’t rate the play much; but then this is a contentious list which I knew people would wish to quibble over, and rightly, too. Meanwhile, the preface to one of the quartos (“to the ever reader”) contradicts the other quarto take by saying the play has never been performed but goes on to say that it is a comedy fit to be compared with the best of Terence and Plautus. Given the perennial popularity of the Tudors, as witnessed by the glut of television dramas and documentaries, it’s perhaps odd that this – the one Shakespeare play to deal with that dynasty – is among his least-known. I love Coriolanus – I think it tells us more about politics and the public than anything I ever read. I’d add The Winter’s Tale and Pericles (Shakespeare most likely wrote roughly half of the play) to this list. Yup, Roger Daltry’s performance is as good as I remember it. He said nothing. The noun ‘pander’, as in a go-between, predates Shakespeare by over a century, but the verb is only attested from the early seventeenth century as was possibly a Shakespearean coinage (the first use of the verb is, oddly enough, from another of the Bard’s plays, Hamlet). beauty.” Thus, having your eyes gouged out by the Duke of Cornwall not only Othello’s Clown doesn’t exactly break this trend, but in a play so Hangman (HANGMAN.) Girls named Imogen have been thankful ever since (or should be!). Ten Underrated Shakespeare Plays | My BlogThe Philosopher's blog. Reblogged this on Stripped down and commented: The violence in Scene Four where nearly all the characters are left dead illuminates the violence pervading the whole play, as each action is merely a reaction to a previous event. A neat idea–but it may have left the audience almost as confused as the characters…. to the every wish of a half-man, half-donkey. All’s Well is another favorite, as are King John and Love’s Labour’s Lost. "Aroint thee, witch, aroint thee." Underrated Shakespeare Plays King John. No he is not overrated. He after honour hunts. Fair point with regard to The Winter’s Tale, though I find that outside of academic circles, few know it well (or, in the case of my students, few have even heard of it!). Interesting Fact: The phrase ‘gild the lily’ derives from this play, though it is the result of a misquotation. Cymbeline. It’s their loss but it’s a tragedy in its own right. Bertram tells Helena that she may not call him husband until she receives a ring from him and can bear him a child. I’d love to see that one performed! 1592. Lady More (LADY MORE.) 1590-91. This was another early comedy – thought to have been written by Shakespeare in around 1594 – and so lacks the sophistication of the later comedies (though not in terms of its convoluted and contrived plot structure!). So I will stop moaning and count my blessings :-). That’s why Jacques It was filmed by Ralph Fiennes in 2011, with Fiennes playing the title role. Anyone who’s intrigued by the ‘break with Rome’ and Henry’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon should find much to enjoy here. It’s perhaps still a bit too much for us. It is very interesting to notice Shakespeare’s obsession with certain themes, phrases or ideas. Part 2 was such a smash hit with Elizabethan audiences that Shakespeare wrote a sequel, and followed that up with a prequel. Instead, he I will definitely make it a point to read a few of the others! The three main characters Mugen, Jin, and Fuu are dynamic and amazing characters that compliment each other despite their differences. How embarrassing! One could say that all of Shakespeare’s plays are underperformed. They don’t get much in the way of That said, their Hamlet edition (Third Series, so not Jenkins’s I don’t think, though I’m not sure) deviates from the best-known version of the play quite a bit, since the editor has made some unusual choices when it’s come to conflating the Q2 text and the Folio version. corpses. 5. Recommended edition: King John (Arden Shakespeare). ), though. patriarchy/the crazies. Reblogged this on One reader A thousand lives. David Bevington’s Troilus and Cressida is in a class of its own compared to all others I’ve seen. Ben Whishaw was great – I missed the Michael Jackson overtones to his performance (the monkey, the voice) picked up on by some of the reviewers, but for me his rendering of the role worked! Crofts (CROFTS.) Here are ten of the least-known plays by the Bard, with the reasons why people should read them (or reread them), along with an interesting fact about each. On a different subject, I once saw a performance of Comedy of Errors with real identical twins playing the Antipholuses. We all knew Shakespeare loved wordplay, but poor Dogberry is one malaprop away is named after rejected Essie nail colors, but on top of that, they must cater The Comedy of Errors. Great post. I haven’t seen it in quite a while but I look to see if it’s on YouTube. is the dry, put-upon Louis C.K. The Underrated: Gnomeo and Juliet (2011) I picture this one as a My First Shakespeare kind of movie since it’s a fun, wildly entertaining version of the classic tale that you can watch with children. NOTE: Characters who exist outside Shakespeare are marked "(hist)" where they are historical, and "(myth)" where they are mythical.Where that annotation is a link (e.g. We'll be seeing you next Thursday. Of these plays I have seen two performed. Servingman (MAN.) It’s his blackest play – and this could be the reason for its neglect. Out of all 10 I’ve, shamefully, only read Henry VI Part 2, and that’s with an English Lit degree to my name! characters. 2 (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (The Arden Shakespeare), Coriolanus: Third Series (Arden Shakespeare) by Shakespeare, William 3rd (third) (2011) Paperback, Timon of Athens (Arden Shakespeare: Third Series), “Love’s Labours Lost” (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (The Arden Shakespeare), All’s Well That Ends Well (Arden Shakespeare: Second Series), Troilus and Cressida (The Arden Shakespeare), “The Comedy of Errors” (Arden Shakespeare: Second Series), Five Fascinating Facts about Macbeth | Interesting Literature. I find it amazing how much effort he put into the writing and crafting of text itself. It is very fat. Personally I’d have included Titus Andronicus (currently playing in a very good RSC production at the Swan Theatre) instead of Coriolanus, and Two Gentlemen of Verona instead of Comedy of Errors, which is done a great deal. Excellent list! Thank you for the great list! I thought the ending was off, and for me, did not match the story. even have to cross dress to do so! And I love your blog – just read your review of the book on Catherine the Great, which was excellent. The main problem with them seems to be that nobody likes them, at least relatively speaking, hence their presence on this list. What a fantastic blog post! TIMON OF ATHENS. When it comes to the stage play, the name of the great William Shakespeare is the very first thing that pops up in our mind. When I was reading Shakespeare in college (English Lit. done cannot be undone.–To bed, to bed, to bed! That’s what I like to think, anyway… Often times, they get the best lines and even Much appreciated. Well, I guess that just proves that both plays aren’t performed enough, as if they were, i would never have confused them. I’m going to reread Troilus over the summer, as reading about the play was partly what inspired me to write this post. Very pleased to hear you enjoyed it. those blowhards like Macbeth and King Lear and focus on the best supporting The Henry VI plays are underappreciated; they ought to be required reading for all aspiring politicians, to learn the dangers of extreme partisianship. https://interestingliterature.com/2013/07/ten-best-underrated-shakespeare-plays Haha! Use it well! I after love: 2. Timon of Athens. There’s another good reason to read it: even if it doesn’t turn out to be among your favourite plays of the Bard, at least it won’t take long to find out…. This play, written late in Shakespeare’s career, features the famous song ‘Fear no more the heat o’ th’ sun’ (which, despite its status as a great tragic lament, is actually sung to an empty tomb, since the character in whose honour it is performed is not actually dead). Interesting Fact: This is the shortest of all of Shakespeare’s plays. By the way, what is your preferred edition of Shakespeare’s plays? 12 Genre:Tragedy First line:This foul Egyptian hath betrayed me: 1. I’ll have to look on Youtube to see if any decent past productions have been uploaded, as I’ve never seen that in performance. Superb! William Shakespeare probably made more of an impact on English literature, drama, and language than any other writer in history. It’s believed to have been, along with The Two Noble Kinsmen, the result of collaboration between Shakespeare and fellow playwright John Fletcher. I wonder how many people were sent to Shakespeare’s play as a result of it…. 1. You’re becoming an IL regular – I’ll have to add your blog to our ‘Cafe’ section soon…. If you’re a fan of hapless sidekicks, Tranio is I had to think about the bananas/Coriolanus point, and then I saw the “a:” and realized it must be the UK pronunciation of “bananas,” not my US one with /æ/ in the second-to-last syllable. There’s just something about the girl getting what she wants by being clever and dutiful and determined which is a great adolescent fantasy. Thank you for such a great post! Surveying literature, art & culture from an altitude of 5,000 feet while traveling at 53 miles per hour. I can only echo you here: a great, glorious play, profound and beautifully written, and still so relevant, as you say. Thanks, Sheila! That is interesting about part 2 being written earlier than 1 and 3. Seeing “Richard III” in the context of the preceding plays in the series cast it in an entirely new light. I’ve not got much time for Titus either, which is a bit of a pastiche of Seneca (or at least it reads/performs like pastiche), and shows the revenge tragedy in its early, raw form before writers – including Shakespeare himself, but also Thomas Middleton – modified and developed it, making it a more subtle and complex genre. For all you Shakespeare fans out there (and we are legion). She also gets I found “King John” to be an excruciatingly boring experience when I saw the BBC’s version of it. Interesting Fact: This play may have helped to popularise the verb ‘to pander’, as in ‘to pander to someone’s wishes’. Recommended edition: “Cymbeline” (Arden Shakespeare: Second Series). I’m planning on doing all of them. 2 (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (The Arden Shakespeare). If you enjoyed Henry VI Part 2, then I’d recommend going to King John next – not the most celebrated of the Shakespeare histories, but I think a good performance of it – the Rossiter one is on Youtube in its entirety I think – gets all the pomp and pageantry across nicely. This is one of the Bard’s least-performed plays, although it was popular with the Victorians because of its pageantry and medieval pomp. Of course, it is great to see those plays performed, but the text itself is so literary, complex and quotable. It’s always somewhat of a cop out when a brand new This is unusual among Shakespeare’s plays, being one of the ‘problem plays’ – named partly because the central character must face some sort of social problem (in this case, Cunobelinus, the British king – or ‘Cymbeline’ – has to deal with the Romans who have occupied Britain) and partly because the play doesn’t fit comfortably into either genre, comedy or tragedy. I have to admit, I’ve never heard of Coriolanus. All’s Well That Ends Well. likes to go the literal route. While there are many beautiful, well … It’s bad enough that this group of indistinct fairies Tom McElroy-Wild Survival Recommended for you Raise your hand if you’ve ever actually LOL-ed It was quite a disappointing play. melodramatic heroes and heroines. Like Cowboy Bebop, this show deserves the praise it gets, but unlike the former, this show is a bit underrated. We hope you enjoy them. ), Pingback: Ten Underrated Shakespeare Plays | lauraleighlinker. So let’s take some time to forget about “King Henry VIII”: Third Series (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (The Arden Shakespeare), “Cymbeline” (Arden Shakespeare: Second Series), “King Henry VI”: Pt. You’ve done well to see Love’s Labour’s Lost performed, and to catch some good productions (especially involving the great Griffiths). Overall, I have more good Arden editions (I agree about Kermode’s The Tempest being very good) than any others. That is interesting – I think where I teach it’s quite well known because it’s one of the set texts on a core module in British Drama, so it’s always good to hear what it’s like elsewhere. The only one of these plays that I have read is Troilus and Cressida, during a college course on the literary history of the Trojan War. This play features a generous man who gives away his money to hangers-on, and ends up becoming a misanthrope, exiling himself from Athenian society to go and live in a cave. I’m not even sure if tragicomedy describes it properly. smother anyone with a pillow. Well noted, thanks :), Reblogged this on Rosemarie Cawkwell and commented: Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Also perhaps because I was a teenager when I read it, and I also read Clamorous Voices alongside it. Many of his characters are stock characters or similar to them. to a sidekick. It was Richard II though rather than King John – though they’re both great medieval-era Shakespeare plays. How did I miss that! Romeo and Juliet remains one of the most iconic love stories of all time and remains relevant centuries after the performances in England’s Globe Theatre. I’m glad I did, or I wouldn’t have become familiar with “Timon of Athens,” which is one of my favorite Shakespeare’s plays. Since my (digital) copy of the Folio doesn’t have the play in it, it’s not in the contents list either. Interestingly, Henry VI part 2 was written before parts 1 & 3. But I still consider myself lucky to be able to pursue Hamlet as a thesis topic. Thanks for this post. Undoubtedly the most famous line from the play is uttered by Dick the Butcher, one of Cade’s rebels: ‘The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers!’ Recommended edition: “King Henry VI”: Pt. Henry VIII. Replace “monastery” with I thought about including Titus but didn’t because I know it has garnered quite a lot of support (and been adapted a fair few times) by students in recent times, because of the horrific spectacle of the thing, I suppose. Not being “interesting literature” but keen on Shakespeare, Arden is my preferred edition but Oxford also does some good ones. As you say, maybe producers/directors (and we academics, too – though I don’t teach much Shakespeare, alas) are to blame for assuming it’s *too* bleak for people to enjoy…. Thanks very much for the reblog, Mark, much appreciated: ), I think by the time completed. 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