Shakespeare: Where to Start

The Bard can be overwhelming. Many don’t know where to start and, if forced, starting can leave one as confused as before. Shakespeare is an entirely different language. Not only is the vocabulary quite different from what we use now, but the ways in which he weaves the words and the images he creates with them do not always reflect the scene at hand. Nearly every sentence possesses a meaning beyond the words stated. However, this is no reason to become discouraged. There are numerous strategies to read Shakespeare as well as the gratification of its completion. Shakespeare opens new doors of comprehension, especially of the world and human behaviour.

Inspiring Interest

  • She’s The Man (2006) (Movie based on Twelfth Night)
  • 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) (Movie based on The Taming of the Shrew)
  • West Side Story (1961 & 2021) (Movie based on Romeo and Juliet)

Top 5 to Read First

  1. A Midsummer Night’s Dream (comedy)
  2. Twelfth Night (comedy)
  3. Hamlet (tragedy)
  4. Romeo and Juliet (tragedy)
  5. Macbeth (tragedy)

For an Easier Time, Read…

  • SparkNotes‘ No Fear Shakespeare editions of each play (the original text side-by-side with modern English)
  • CliffsNotes study guide in-depth summary for each play.

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