The play is widely viewed as something of an experiment; many scholars believe the play to have been the work of two hands, namely Shakespeare and Thomas Middleton. Glad you found something useful in the post. But I think it’s a magnificent work. Superb! Count Paris won over everyone’s Troilus & Cressida and Coriolanus have both felt very timely of late – Oregon Shakespeare Festival did a very good Iraq-war T&C last season. Before we dive into the recommended reading order for the complete works of Shakespeare, here are a few principles to keep in mind as you undertake this journey. ‘To gild refined gold, to paint the lily’ Interestingly, I recently read that in Conrad’s book “The Duel.” He didn’t have it in quotes, either. I’ve long had a soft spot for “Love’s Labour’s Lost”. Was an interesting new take on the play in many ways – I agree, in performance it can work quite well…, All’s Well… is my favourite underrated Shakespeare. And I agree about the underrated Timon…. Agreed, the Hollow Crown series was superb! Crofts (CROFTS.) His idea of the general form of literature and his idea of the common people of that time were tremendous. Along with these, there have been several direct adaptations. That is interesting – I think where I teach it’s quite well known because it’s one of the set texts on a core module in British Drama, so it’s always good to hear what it’s like elsewhere. Thanks for A2A. I could see a great modern adaptation of that play being created. Who knows. Cleo’s Mary Crawley. And thanks for your comment, as ever, Angela! Shakespearean death. I thought about including Titus but didn’t because I know it has garnered quite a lot of support (and been adapted a fair few times) by students in recent times, because of the horrific spectacle of the thing, I suppose. even have to cross dress to do so! Apparently not. Cymbeline. Thanks for signing up for The Airdrop! “Troilus and Cressida” however gets my vote as Shakespeare’s most underrated play. Even Richard II, As You Like It, and Antony and Cleopatra can be said to be well-known William Shakespeare plays. The works continue to inspire Hollywood, like Baz Luhrmann’s glamourous 1996 adaptation Romeo+Juliet, … to Feste the Clown’s loud, bawdy Pauly Shore. And while Hamlet is, obviously most highly rated, at the same time, I’d argue, it’s underrated and underappreciated for the extraordinary work of experimental art that it is. Interesting Fact: It was during a performance of this play that the Globe theatre burned down in 1613. It is astounding, and particularly relevant to our modern times, and I highly recommend it to everyone! Then again, hoighty-toighty Malvolio, who is practically It’s bad enough that this group of indistinct fairies case of Prince Fortinbras, it’s a bit more forgivable. 4. 12 Genre:Tragedy First line:This foul Egyptian hath betrayed me: 1. Seven of the Best Underrated Shakespeare Plays Eliza | 18 - 11 - 2020. I might need to read it again, though. I agree, LLL is a bit of a mixed bag for me. Well, I guess that just proves that both plays aren’t performed enough, as if they were, i would never have confused them. It’s believed to have been, along with The Two Noble Kinsmen, the result of collaboration between Shakespeare and fellow playwright John Fletcher. Interesting Fact: Vladimir Nabokov borrowed the title of his classic novel Pale Fire from this play (and fittingly, since this was an act of borrowing, and Nabokov’s novel is about literary theft, the precise lines he pilfered from were ‘the moon’s an arrant thief, / And her pale fire she snatches from the sun…’). For anyone interested, his edition is wonderful. Pingback: Confronting the Bard: Shakespeare Rap by Suzanna Lawrence | King Solomon English Blog. Great recommendations. I must admit, I am more interested in reading Shakespeare than watching his plays being performed. to a sidekick. Sign up for The Airdrop, our weekly newsletter full of book giveaways, interesting article round-ups and fun event notices! Underrated Shakespeare Plays King John. I have not read any of the above listed, I am limited to A Midsummer Night Dream, Othello and As You Like It. Claiming one’s love for Hamlet is so cliche. I will be following yours as well. I was hoping the BBC would follow up their success with last year’s ‘Hollow Crown’ versions of the later tetralogy by doing justice to the earlier quartet this year, but alas, even with the buzz surrounding Richard III recently, no such adaptations have materialised. Lieutenant of the Tower (LIEUTENANT.) The Comedy of Errors. And there are always new insights to be had into Hamlet! For many literature geeks, this doesn’t go unnoticed. 1592. I’ve heard of most of them and I’m going to see Coriolanus in London next February. How embarrassing! The leader returns home to Rome but ends up being condemned as a traitor (for railing against the common people) and exiled from the city. :). I always wonder why no one talks about Loves Labours Lost. Interesting Fact: This is the shortest of all of Shakespeare’s plays. ~ Rebecca. Don’t worry, it’s actually thrown out an interesting parallel between the two plays in how the king and his advisers/nobles in both plays clash and end up in direct conflict – and interesting connections are the bread and butter of Interesting Literature! King John, I think, was a collaboration, not entirely written by Shakespeare? I've noticed in some circles, often literary ones, there are certain female characters who have a status they don't deserve. NOTE: Characters who exist outside Shakespeare are marked "(hist)" where they are historical, and "(myth)" where they are mythical.Where that annotation is a link (e.g. I am very familiar with Shakespeare but mostly just his tragedies and histories. 1590-91. Thanks for the post! You’ve definitely inspired me to read some of the plays in the list. I think I’ll enjoy it, by the sound of it! I’ve added your blog to my library ‘Café’ at the top of this blog by the way. I fear you’re right – its title is well known but in terms of content, character, and themes it’s not as well known as it should be! It’s amazing how overlooked some of his plays are but I’ll definitely make more time for some more obscure Shakespeare – loved the interesting facts too. Yes, I’d be keen to hear more about this. He’s a police officer, thus making 3. Justice: served. As his actor-trained voice boomed across our small room, I suddenly realized that Shakespeare really wasn’t meant to be read like a book. Thanks, Sheila! Getting the more well-known scenes out of the way, this is one of the greatest examples of a female having a breakdown in Shakespeare’s work. I always love to hear Shakespeare scholars’ opinion on this: Do you think Henry VI Part II was written before Part I or after? (What happens after that, we won’t say, as we don’t want to offer too many spoilers.) I saw a production of The Winter’s Tale last year. Great post! It is fascinating to see his ambition expand through this series of plays. I love Coriolanus – I think it tells us more about politics and the public than anything I ever read. It was also the very first Shakespeare play to be filmed, in 1899 by Herbert Beerbohm Tree. Raise your hand if you’ve ever actually LOL-ed Some excellent notes on Troilus and Cressida, and we take your point about ‘pander’ – though the verb is also evidently derived from Pandarus, if not from Shakespeare’s play itself. On a different subject, I once saw a performance of Comedy of Errors with real identical twins playing the Antipholuses. Interesting Fact: This play may have helped to popularise the verb ‘to pander’, as in ‘to pander to someone’s wishes’. advice from toothless soothsayers and had oddly prophetic dreams. Haha! I am very envious of you being able to do a master’s thesis on Hamlet; what a great topic! Let’s face it. However, it is still possible to mount good productions: the first production of any play I ever saw in Stratford was a production of “Love’s Labour’s Lost” back in ’78, directed by John Barton and featuring Michael Hordern, Jane Lapotaire, Michael Pennington, and the late, lamented Richard Griffith. George Bernard Shaw liked this one, though (although he considered Shakespeare overrated in general and even wrote a puppet play, Shakes versus Shav, arguing that he was the better craftsman), and particularly liked the play’s heroine, Helena. I’ve always had a soft spot for it, despite what T. S. Eliot thought. Underrated Shakespeare characters I have my first professional audition coming up for a Shakespeare company and they are looking for a classical comedic monologue. I’ve seen it three times – in Stratford in the 1980s, and twice in Scotland; each production was wildly different from the others. I have to admit, I’ve never heard of Coriolanus. Troilus and Cressida is a little dull for me; Chaucer’s version is one of my all-time favorite poems, but Shakespeare’s left me uninspired. Go ahead and give this a try to see for yourself. I wonder how many people were sent to Shakespeare’s play as a result of it…. The ability to turn a mistake into the subject for interesting intellectual discussion is indeed a gift. done cannot be undone.–To bed, to bed, to bed! Love Coriolanus, liked Timon of Athens. I agree with Steve about the Arden editions: they’re often the best, and have extensive notes (on the same page as the text, so none of that fiddly ‘go to the back of the book every time you want a word glossed’ business you get with Penguin editions). Jack Cade ( 2 Henry VI) – He’s an unlikely claimant to the throne, but his populist rhetoric has the power to start a... 2. Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email. This article is an index of characters appearing in the plays of William Shakespeare whose names begin with the letters A to K. Characters with names beginning with the letters L to Z may be found here.. We all have our favorite plays from our famous poet William Shakespeare, but here are some of the best underrated Shakespeare plays of all time which you will quite enjoy. It is very fat. I work as a dramaturg with a very smart, sometimes edgy, theater company in Minneapolis called Frank Theatre, and some of us have been lobbying the artistic director to do a production of CORIOLANUS. Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Mote, and Mustardseed // A Midsummer’s Night Dream. I always thought they were written in order, purely because the quality of the first is so much weaker than that of part 2, but I know this has been challenged by scholars…, I admire your expertise! The actual line in King John reads, ‘To gild refined gold, to paint the lily’; over time, this has been abridged to ‘gild the lily’, hence the phrase. Excellent list! That’s what I like to think, anyway… Superb. But rather than having “blue” himself, he muddles through early modern English. while reading a Shakespearean comedy. His body of work is quite large, compared to other contemporary playwrights. I remember seeing it at Stratford decades ago with Charles Dance in the lead role (for the record, it was fantastic) and I’ve seen it since in Liverpool – but I suppose, on reflection, it’s not performed that often. Everything Shakespeare does well in other plays he does brilliantly here. It found it to be a quite strange and unique play that does not seem to fit precisely into any one genre. It is surprising to me how difficult it is to get my “peers” interested in Shakespeare at all – they are intelligent people, well-educated as in university graduates, and yet find the Bard “not accessible” or something like that. Just because they’re popular doesn’t mean that people get all the wonderful complexities, ironies and humor in them. The only one of these plays that I have read is Troilus and Cressida, during a college course on the literary history of the Trojan War. That’s why Jacques Hamlet Yes – this is a list of the most underrated plays by Shakespeare. She was surprisingly well-adjusted for someone who took As for underrated plays, I thought you would put Measure for Measure in the list? smother anyone with a pillow. It’s their loss but it’s a tragedy in its own right. We hope you enjoy them. It’s rare to come across a New Zealander on WordPress. Thanks for your great comment, which has been very useful :). The best Ardens I have read (not necessarily on this list) are Harold Jenkins’ Hamlet, Kenneth Muir’s Macbeth, and King Lear,,Frank Kermode’s The Tempest, and Jonathan Bate’s Titus Andronicus. Everyone knows Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, Macbeth, and Richard III (or knows of them at least). And I totally agree that it’s another underperformed play. Congratulations to good ol’ Calpy for not joining I just posted a comment on someone’s blog regretting that I am not doing master’s in History instead! Here are some of the ones I found in some of Shakespeare's most famous plays: 15. Wallace Stevens wrote that “death is the mother of I feel as though a revival is in order! Then I saw it performed a couple of years ago, and it was great fun on stage if you didn’t take it seriously. hearts, starting in 1996, thanks to this scene. (Real life doesn’t quite work like that unfortunately. If you enjoyed these Shakespeare posts, you might also enjoy our pick of the best books written about Shakespeare and our interesting facts about Shakespeare’s Macbeth. That’s great, thanks Steve! Yup, Roger Daltry’s performance is as good as I remember it. But, speaking of The Hollow Crown makes me think of Tom Hiddleston… I’m very excited about the production of Coriolanus that he’s in this winter. Great post. I’ve never seen it performed, though I’ve heard good things from people who have, like your good self. Than seeing it at the top of this blog by the RSC I think ’. ( there was one a year or Two ago by the Roman playwright Plautus keen on,. 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