Today marks 400 years of the death of William Shakespeare.
I’m a huge fan of his works, from Romeo & Juliet to Hamlet. There is just something about his stories that have captivated, not only me, but so many people for over 400 years.
Just stop and think, 400 YEARS people. I bet he never would’ve guessed his works will be popular after all those years.
I wanted to do something for this special occasion, but I couldn’t think of anything. I could review some of his plays, but I love so many of them.
Here are just a few of his plays that I think everyone should read, and see.
Romeo And Juliet
In Verona, Italy, two families, the Montagues and the Capulets, are in the midst of a bloody feud. Romeo, a Montague, and Juliet, a Capulet, fall in love and struggle to maintain their relationship in the face of familial hatred. After Romeo kills Juliet's cousin Tybalt in a fit of passion, things fall apart. Both lovers eventually commit suicide within minutes of each other, and the feuding families make peace over their recent grief.
Prince Hamlet is visited by his father's ghost and ordered to avenge his father's murder by killing King Claudius, his uncle. After struggling with several questions, including whether what the ghost said is true and whether it is right for him to take revenge, Hamlet, along with almost all the other major characters, is killed.
As You Like It
It's a dramatic comedy, known for its confusing yet tantalising storyline that intrigues yet is one of the hardest by Shakespeare to understand. Like most others of its genre and age, it relies heavily on mistaken identity and desperate romance to induce humour between the artful weaving of the 16th century language.
Cassius persuades his friend Brutus to join a conspiracy to kill Julius Caesar, whose power seems to be growing too great for Rome's good. After killing Caesar, however, Brutus fails to convince the people that his cause was just. He and Cassius eventually commit suicide as their hope for Rome becomes a lost cause.
Prospero, overthrown and exiled Duke of Milan, lives on a small island with his daughter Miranda. By chance, his usurping brother Antonio, along with Alonso, King of Naples (who helped him) and his retinue, have passed near the island on a ship; Prospero, aided by his fairy servant Ariel, has magically called up a tempest to shipwreck them. Prospero toys with them but ultimately forgives Alonso (who has been betrayed in turn by Antonio) and permits Alonso's son Ferdinand to marry Miranda. Before returning to reclaim his throne, Prospero renounces magic.
Much Ado About Nothing
In Messina, Italy, a young prince named Don Pedro arrives from Aragon to visit a friend of his, Leonato. With him he brings a Florentine named Claudio, a soldier named Benedick, and his bastard brother, Don Jon. Upon their arrival, Claudio falls in love with Leonato's daughter, Hero and wishes to marry her. Don Jon, out of desire to cause mischief, interferes once unsuccessfully and once successfully in thwarting the gullible Claudio into thinking that Hero and that Claudio's friends are disloyal. Arguably, the leading couple of the play are the soldier Benedick, and Hero's cousin, Beatrice, who, at the beginning of the play, seem to detest each other, until Don Pedro persuades everyone that they can make Benedick and Beatrice fall in love with one another.
Macbeth, a Scottish noble, is urged by his wife to kill King Duncan to take the throne for himself. He covers the king's guards in blood to frame them for the deed, and is appointed King of Scotland. However, people suspect his sudden power, and he finds it necessary to commit more and more murders to maintain power, believing himself invincible so long as he is bloody. Finally, the old king's son Malcolm besieges Macbeth's castle, and Macduff slays Macbeth in armed combat.