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Author Topic: Shakespeare  (Read 23270 times)

Offline Jian

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Shakespeare
« on: October 15, 2012, 08:32:55 AM »
I need to choose a book to do a report on, and my school thinks anything written by Shakespeare is literary gold, so I was wondering which of his books/plays/writings should I start with. I know a few of you have read some of Shakespeare (meaning you have to post here xD) so I hope you guys can point me in the right direction. Thanks.

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Offline Idlewilder

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2012, 08:50:21 AM »
I need to choose a book to do a report on, and my school thinks anything written by Shakespeare is literary gold, so I was wondering which of his books/plays/writings should I start with. I know a few of you have read some of Shakespeare (meaning you have to post here xD) so I hope you guys can point me in the right direction. Thanks.



I'm not sure I would recommend a book report on Shakespeare. His plays were written to be performed, not to be read as literature. Of course - they can be read like that, and are frequently - but if you haven't done it before it can be very difficult. Does this have to be a report/essay on Shakespeare or is it your choice?

But for a first Shakespeare (and the one which will have the most impact on a school project of any sort at this level) it would have to be Macbeth. It is Shakespeare's shortest tragedy (also probably his most violent!  ;)) and it's the 1st one I studied myself.

But if it is just a literary book report, maybe we could help you find something else, Jian?

Also, if you decide on Shakespeare (which you should look into independently of this, anyway!) - this book is a godsend for reading Shakespeare for the first time, and it's just damned entertaining:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shakespeare-Toast-Getting-Taste-Bard/dp/1848310544/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350287360&sr=8-1
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Offline Jian

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2012, 09:11:22 AM »
Ah, thanks. Well, it needs to be a classic and as literary as any of Shakespeare's works, but I've read most of the classics already. Jules Vern, Gulliver's Travels, Black Beauty, Pilgrim's Progress, Wuthering Heights, Secret Garden, Robinson Crusoe, seemingly everything by Charles Dickens, and goes on like that.

And it's really not much of a chore since I've wanted to give Shakespeare a try for some time, and though my teacher says they're not meant to be read as a book, the school definitely likes Shakespeare. In every chapter concerning literature, they repeat, "Shakespeare is the greatest writer that ever lived."

The only thing missing is a subtle wink for us to write reports on them. xD

I mostly have to write an essay on what happens, and talk about the major events. Though, I'd welcome any other classics you think are interesting. Gotta have the book report by the end of the month, so I'll be dropping my other reading material when I pick the book.
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Offline Idlewilder

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2012, 09:23:00 AM »
Ah, thanks. Well, it needs to be a classic and as literary as any of Shakespeare's works, but I've read most of the classics already. Jules Vern, Gulliver's Travels, Black Beauty, Pilgrim's Progress, Wuthering Heights, Secret Garden, Robinson Crusoe, seemingly everything by Charles Dickens, and goes on like that.

And it's really not much of a chore since I've wanted to give Shakespeare a try for some time, and though my teacher says they're not meant to be read as a book, the school definitely likes Shakespeare. In every chapter concerning literature, they repeat, "Shakespeare is the greatest writer that ever lived."

The only thing missing is a subtle wink for us to write reports on them. xD

I mostly have to write an essay on what happens, and talk about the major events. Though, I'd welcome any other classics you think are interesting. Gotta have the book report by the end of the month, so I'll be dropping my other reading material when I pick the book.

I dunno - I suppose I just have my own feelings on how Shakespeare should be taught; but if you're familiar with lots of the classics, and the school really wants you to give him a bash - go for it. Any specific sort of story your looking for? Shakespeare caters to everything. Macbeth is probably the simplest play which has a lot of depth to it. You could talk about elements of that play for days.

But I highly recommend that "Shakespeare on Toast" I sent the link for. It's short and by the end of it you will feel you have a handle on how to read Shakespeare to enough of an extent to enjoy them for yourself. Another way of understanding the bard is to watch the movies.

If you decide against Shakespeare then Dickens would be a good choice. Plus - you've already read it all! There's also The Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes) - which you should just read anyway. (All the Holmes, that is)
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Offline Jian

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2012, 09:42:52 AM »
Definitely gonna give Shakespeare on Toast a try then. I asked my mother about it, and she mentioned Julius Caesar. Think it's a good idea?

My sister and I used to read one of his plays out loud for fun in the worst possible accents (They were a cross between British and German, I believe) when we were incredibly bored and couldn't sleep. So I want to see how taking his plays and books seriously (as they should be taken  :D ) will fair with me. Anyways, thanks a lot for your recommendations. I need to write three book reports (I kind of skipped out on the last one. Accident! ) so I'll most likely include your recommendation of Dickens. Thanks again.
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Offline Idlewilder

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2012, 09:56:46 AM »
No problem, Jian. I’m actually still a bit of a novice at Shakespeare myself. I’m not all that familiar with Julius Caesar, though I know it’s popular and pretty bloody. The reason for my recommendation of Macbeth was really because it was the main text I had to study myself at school for my Higher English qualification. I’d previously had to study The Merchant of Venice and hated it with a passion. But Macbeth put me back on course to enjoying Shakespeare. It’s full of amazing imagery and quotable lines (obviously, it’s Shakespeare!).

That doesn’t mean to say it’s my favourite play. Hamlet is an obvious one, but really it has far too much going on to do it as your first Shakespeare. King Lear is the same – quite complex. My favourite plays are probably the history plays, particularly Henry V and Richard III (I love a good villain).

As for recommendations – I’ve given you mine. But we have a few forum members who are more informed about Shakespeare than me. (Anne Lyle, Nyki Blatchley, The Hound)

But at the end of the day, it’s your decision, Jian. I just hope that you find something you can enjoy in Shakespeare and that it doesn’t become a chore like it does for so many other younger people. There’s nothing quite like the moment when Shakespeare “clicks”.
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Offline Jian

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2012, 10:04:25 AM »
I hope I enjoy it. I have a friend that's been telling me to read it for quite a while. I've heard the same about others, and I don't want to be turned off of it forever, so I think MacBeth is a safe option. I'll pick that one for one of the three books I have to write reports on. I'll await for the recommendations of others to decide which holds which spot.

I'll ask my friend for his copy of MacBeth; he's practically been throwing it at me in an effort that I might read it as it is about to hit me in the face, so I'm sure it'll be no problem. xD

Thanks, Idle.
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Offline Idlewilder

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2012, 10:05:57 AM »
I hope I enjoy it. I have a friend that's been telling me to read it for quite a while. I've heard the same about others, and I don't want to be turned off of it forever, so I think MacBeth is a safe option. I'll pick that one for one of the three books I have to write reports on. I'll await for the recommendations of others to decide which holds which spot.

I'll ask my friend for his copy of MacBeth; he's practically been throwing it at me in an effort that I might read it as it is about to hit me in the face, so I'm sure it'll be no problem. xD

Thanks, Idle.

And try and get the movie! Actually seeing Shakespeare performed helps so much!
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Offline Jian

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2012, 10:25:28 AM »
I hope I enjoy it. I have a friend that's been telling me to read it for quite a while. I've heard the same about others, and I don't want to be turned off of it forever, so I think MacBeth is a safe option. I'll pick that one for one of the three books I have to write reports on. I'll await for the recommendations of others to decide which holds which spot.

I'll ask my friend for his copy of MacBeth; he's practically been throwing it at me in an effort that I might read it as it is about to hit me in the face, so I'm sure it'll be no problem. xD

Thanks, Idle.

And try and get the movie! Actually seeing Shakespeare performed helps so much!

There appears to be a lot of Shakespeare movies. Can you tell me what date it was released and maybe the names of a few of the actors? Thanks! Looking forward to starting it later tonight.
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Offline Idlewilder

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2012, 10:32:38 AM »
The one I remember seeing was Roman Polanski's Macbeth. Can't remember if anyone particularly famous was in it. Another adaptation (although it isn't in Shakespeare's language, so some people hate it) was the BBC's Shakespeare Retold series. It had one on Macbeth which starred James McAvoy, where Macbeth became a head chef instead of a king. Brilliant series that - really good for getting a handle on the plays it included. There is also a newer Patrick Stewart starring version which is meant to be very good. But the Polanski has the actual setting of the Shakespeare play. The others are new takes.
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Offline Jian

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2012, 10:36:38 AM »
Found it! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067372/

It seems interesting; I'll watch it after reading MacBeth. I want to be able to tell my sister, "Oh, yeah, I remember that line," while watching the movie. xD
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Offline shep5377

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2012, 11:14:57 AM »
I'll just chuck another play in here if you don't mind....

Whilst I agree Macbeth is probably the way you should go (it was my first report on Shakespeare as well) please give Taming of the Shrew a read. I saw it performed when I was a teenager and it was the first time I really 'got' Shakespeare. At times it was laugh out loud funny, but with a real message behind it.

Offline Idlewilder

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2012, 11:22:42 AM »
I'll just chuck another play in here if you don't mind....

Whilst I agree Macbeth is probably the way you should go (it was my first report on Shakespeare as well) please give Taming of the Shrew a read. I saw it performed when I was a teenager and it was the first time I really 'got' Shakespeare. At times it was laugh out loud funny, but with a real message behind it.

Yep, The Taming of the Shrew would be a good one if you also want to try out one of the comedies.  :)
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Offline Lor

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2012, 12:08:37 PM »
I'll just chuck another play in here if you don't mind....

Whilst I agree Macbeth is probably the way you should go (it was my first report on Shakespeare as well) please give Taming of the Shrew a read. I saw it performed when I was a teenager and it was the first time I really 'got' Shakespeare. At times it was laugh out loud funny, but with a real message behind it.

Yep, The Taming of the Shrew would be a good one if you also want to try out one of the comedies.  :)

I was going to recommend this one! And for whatever reason I've got it into my head that Jian is bound to have seen the film 10 Things I Hate About You, which is based on the Taming of the Shrew.
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Offline Jeni

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2012, 12:25:05 PM »
Actually, I would probably recommend Coriolanus . Its about a Roman soldier who is a bit of an ant-hero and quite an unsympathetic character throughout. There are riots, a siege, battles, plotting, switching sides and murder! I think its probably my favourite Shakespeare play. There was also a modern interpretation released on dvd earlier this year starring Ralph Feinnes and Gerard (Gerald?) Butler. Check out the synopsis on wiki :

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coriolanus] [url]http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coriolanus [/url]

Sorry if the link doesn't work I'm typing this from my phone and copying a url from one place to another is a bit tricky!