Wednesday, June 12, 2013

not all the water in the rough and rude sea can wash the balm off from the anointed king

A jazzy non-measuring interpretation of this ginger ale is brewing atop my cupboards.

I am finishing up Richard II. I contrived a scheme at the end of the school year to begin reading all of Shakespeare. Not over the summer or anything, just... in my life. I thought I'd begin with RII, Henry IV Part 1 & Part 2 and Henry V, because they're so great, and we just watched a good BBC version of all four. I have to say I had big crushes on all three kings even though I know you're probably not supposed to like any of them all that much. Matt particularly had a man-crush on Jon Finch's Henry IV. So rexy.

I will shoot to read all four this summer (they really don't take very long to read,) but after that, I think the best way to proceed on my venture is to just read the plays in the order in which they were written. I know that the earliest plays aren't consistently very good, but it will be interesting to follow the development of Shakespeare's craft, and I need some method to force me to read the more obscure plays. "This one comes next" is the best way I know to get myself to plow through. Or "plough through."

I found Harold Bloom's collection of essays on every play at Half Price Books for two bucks, so I will reward myself after each play with the essay on it.

I struggled with Shakespeare when I was younger (who didn't?) and now am wild about him. I have discovered that the best way (for me) to enjoy the plays is to read one, watch a movie of it, and read it again. Or you could invert that procedure, watching another interpretation of the play after reading it. There is no shame in watching The Movie first when it comes to drama. If you have problems with Shakespeare, don't beat yourself up. Just watch The Movie.

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