To be honest, I haven’t really read Shakespeare. And it’s because I can’t enjoy reading too much Old English. It’s like my brain hurts when I try. (Update: So I just found out that Shakespeare’s work is much readable than Old English. And that it’s actually written in “Early Modern English”.)
So here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna find three works done by Shakespeare, read the summary/plot and react to it. I’ll be basing my review/comments from that summary.
Be informed that I chose these titles randomly. So I’m choosing…
- The Merchant of Venice
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream
I used eNotes.com’s summary. My comments:
- “His wife, Lady Macbeth, urges him to seize the opportunity and take the throne. One night, Macbeth murders King Duncan in his sleep, then frames the guards for the crime.” — Lady Macbeth’s like, “Carpe Diem!” and Macbeth was like, “You mean kill the King? Okay!”
- “To protect himself, Macbeth has Banquo killed.” — I think Shakespeare may be an ancestor of GRRM.
- “Duncan’s sons Malcolm and Donalbain flee Scotland, where they begin plotting against Macbeth.” — Why did Malcolm and Donalbain flee? Isn’t one of them supposed to be the heir?
- “One of their allies, Macduff, poses a serious threat to Macbeth, so the new king has Macduff crowned king.” — And now Macduff is king? Like how?
- “Overcome with remorse over the murder of King Duncan, Lady Macbeth commits suicide.” — Lady Macbeth was like, “Dude, I said Carpe Diem like kiss ass and suck up to the king, not kill him!” Macbeth was like “too late!” so she commits suicide instead.
- “Macduff, the product of a gruesome c-section, was not “of woman born”. — HEY! JUST BECAUSE HE’S C-SECTION DOESN’T MEAN HE’S NOT OF WOMAN BORN!
- “realizes too late that the witches’ prophecies foretold his death and not his success.” — You should have checked for loopholes, dude.
So this story is a bit dark for me (but, hey, I love GoT, so…) Although, if it’s not written in Old English I might have read it. The plot twists are nicely put. Good job Shakespeare!
2. The Merchant of Venice
I used the summary from No Sweat Shakespeare. Commentary:
- “the loan must be repaid in three months or Shylock will exact a pound of flesh from Antonio.” — Okay. Shylock’s dark humor isn’t really funny.
- “Even when Bassanio offers much more than the amount in repayment, Shylock, now infuriated by the loss of his daughter, is intent on seeking revenge on the Christians. The Duke refuses to intervene.” — A lot is happening here. Shylock needs to calm the fuck down. We can get your daughter back, okay? Just say you’re okay with her new lover and everything will be fine. Also, why the heck is the Duke doing nothing? What’s your purpose if not to intervene with such horrific deals?
- “Moreover, for conspiring to murder a Venetian citizen, Portia orders that he should forfeit all his wealth.” — Okay, calm down, Portia. That’s just greedy. He’s just mad. You already denied his revenge. That should have been enough.
- “Antonio gives his half back to Shylock on the condition that Shylock bequeath it to his disinherited daughter, Jessica. Shylock must also convert to Christianity.” — And you, Antonio. Why did you have to ask him to convert? Let him choose his own religion!
- “With the exception of Shylock, all celebrate a happy ending to the affair.” — Yeah, because you guys have forced him to do things he doesn’t want to.
I was slightly shocked that at the end, I was feeling for Shylock. I mean, he’s clearly some kind of a psychopath but I really feel like that kind of redemption for the protagonists doesn’t fit. I don’t know…
Also, why did Portia make Shylock convert? Is that really in the law? I don’t think Christianity works like that. But what do I know, right?
3. A Midsummer Night’s Dream
I used this summary from GradeSaver. My comments:
- “Egeus tells Theseus that Hermia refuses to marry Demetrius, wanting instead to marry Lysander. He asks for the right to punish Hermia with death if she refuses to obey.” — Okay. First of all, that kind of disobedience doesn’t have to be punishable by death. I know this is fiction and this practice is old, but still.
- “They tell their plan to Helena, a girl who is madly in love with Demetrius. Hoping to gain favor with Demetrius, Helena decides to tell him about the plan.” — If you’re gonna elope secretly, don’t tell anyone. SERIOUSLY. It’s called a secret for a reason. And you, Helena, you were given a chance to get the guy, and you betray them. WTF? Stupid much?
- “Titania and Oberon soon arrive and begin arguing about a young boy Titania has stolen and is caring for. Oberon demands that she give him the boy, but she refuses.” — Titania stole a boy. Is it really that easy for a queen to steal a boy? lol
- “Oberon decides to play a trick on Titania and put some pansy juice on her eyes. The magical juice will make her fall in love with first person she sees upon waking up.” — I don’t get why Oberon initially decided to use pansy juice. I mean what was he planning to accomplish with that? That Titania will fall in love with him so bad she’ll release the boy? Dude, what?
- “Demetrius deserts Helena in the forest, leaving her alone.” — Of course, Demetrius will leave you Helena. You just gave him the chance to stop the love of his life from eloping.
- “Oberon decides that he will change this situation” — It feels like Oberon was just put there so he can help Helena.
- “He then finds Titania and drops the juice onto her eyelids. Robin goes to find Demetrius, but instead comes across Lysander and accidentally uses the juice on him… Oberon then puts the pansy juice onto Demetrius’s eyelids…” — Just how much pansy juice do they have on hand? How do you accidentally spill that so many times without using it all up?
- “She thinks that the two men are trying to torment her for being in love with Demetrius, and becomes furious at their protestations of love.” — That moment when Helena got too many suitors she got mad at them? Ganda mo girl.
- “Out of fear of censorship, they decide to make the play less realistic. Therefore the lion is supposed to announce that he is not a lion, but only a common man. Bottom also feels obliged to tell the audience that he is not really going to die, but will only pretend to do so.” — Is this the first time people used disclaimers? lol
- “Puck…catches Bottom alone and puts an asses head on him. When Bottom returns to his troupe, they run away out of fear.” — How can you have an ass head on you without even knowing it?
- “Theseus decides to overbear Egeus and let the lovers get married that day with him.” — So I guess everything was a blessing in disguise for Hermia and Lysander?
- “After they leave Puck asks the audience to forgive the actors is they were offended.” — Was this the day people started to be offended by fiction?
This, I believe, is a legit comedy. Even though there are WTF parts, it kinda made me laugh.
So there’s my commentary about some of Shakespeare’s works. Got some ideas, too? Share them at the comments section?