My love for Shakespeare has recently been reawakened, thanks in part to my friend Brittany. One summer, I transcribed both Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet in their entireties for the pure enjoyment of it. I have a shameful tendency of becoming easily engulfed in the language and allowing it to creep into my everyday conversation.
The bard’s combination of wit and situation is irresistible to me, so I purposefully avoided it for quite some time. If you’re looking for a good romantic comedy, put away that tired copy of The Wedding Planner and reach for Much Ado about Nothing instead. Certainly, a story in which a character can begin saying “I would my horse had the speed of your tongue” and conclude by admitting “thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably” is better entertainment.
What I want to know is who decided that Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet were Shakespeare’s best and therefore they are the ones to be studied. Hamlet never stops whining; Romeo and Juliet were both idiots and all subsequent productions of the play have been even more irresponsible. Give me The Taming of the Shrew or Henry V any day!
Recent audiences seem more enthralled with the mystery surrounding Shakespeare’s personal life than his actual works. Finding a professor who affords the sonnets more than a cursory reference is quite the challenge. I thoroughly intend to continually revisit these great works of language and diversion. Please, feel free to join Kenneth Branagh and me.