Read Shakespeare in a Year: January

I will do my usual monthly wrap-ups at the end of the month, but since my resolution this year is to read Shakespeare's work and I will be reading on average three plays a month, then I decided to have a special post with all the Shakespare read in every month! Now, I am ahead of the schedule and I might even finish Henry VI, part 2 this month too, unless I will take it slow and focus on all the other books I want to read.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona ★★★☆☆

This play is considered by many one of Shakespeare's first creations and one of his worst plays. I think it's an easy play that is a lot of fun and really enjoyable!

It tells the story of... two gentlemen of Verona? And they both leave Verona to go to Milan, one of them in tears because he is going away from his love. But, fear not, cause once in Verona, he is falling for the chick his friend already likes. Yeah, it's that kind of play about love and friendship and a lady who dresses like a man!

There are a few characters which is why everything is so easy to keep track of - since the characters are all over the place. And one of the characters is dog - who does not really have control over his bladder. The play is funny, without trying to much and as a reader, I found myself making fun of the characters a lot. (Goodreads review)


The Taming of the Shrew ★★☆☆☆

Now this is a hard one to talk about it, because of its sexist parts and the way they are disguised as "it's just a play" - and I do not mean the actual play, but there's a play inside a play -, and "it's not meant to be taken seriously", although I can't help but feel uncomfortable when reading it.

The play is about two sisters - the shrew and her younger sister, who has a lot of suitors but cannot marry until her older sister does. So her suitors find a man for her older sister. They get married and the "taming" begins. It's quite horrible, especially when the play ends with the three married guys arguing which wife is more obedient! Oh, did I mention this was just a show played in front of a guy who is tricked to believe he is a lord? And that it has nothing to do with our play and we never heard about him again?

Yeah, I know. It was quite an awful reading experience, but I gave it two start because some parts of it were really entertaining. (Goodreads review)


Henry VI, Part 1 ★★★☆☆

Yet another one of his plays considered poor by many, greatly enjoyed by moi. I did not expect to enjoy a historical play and while it has a lot of characters, it is short and full of action. Plus a lot of those characters die...

The play starts just after Henry V's death. England and France are fighting, and for now France is winning some territory, some houses have a quarrel in England's court - which is the start of the War of Roses, and a lot of shit is going down. The play is soft on the political side and heavy on the action - there are a lot of fights and deaths. While I might have preferred more in-depth politics and discussions, I did enjoy the silliness of the play and it's what made it an easy read.

What I am trying to say is that I get it why people criticize this play and consider it weak, but at the same time, if I enjoy it and have fun while reading, then it does not really bother me that the play had potential to be something more. (Goodreads review)


After three plays - that are quite different - I realized that I don't need to care for the characters to enjoy the play because I did not really cared for anyone in either of the plays read, yet I enjoyed two out of three more than I expected to. Also, I do not know how to judge plays other than my overall enjoyment, and so far, that is enough. If anyone has any tips, do share!

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