William Shakespeare, he needs no introduction. So, let me not eat footage by giving him one. Yes, you are right, that is my way of cheating him out of his article space, which I’d grudgingly admit he deserves for this piece is essentially about him.
Listen, Shakespeare fans, drink lots of water and be ready to shout hail, murder for I am about to poke and prod at his work, possibly murder a few of them! You love him? Well, good! I don’t! So I don’t have any qualms about what I am about to do. Some might call it grave injustice to a man regarded by as many as of the greatest writers ever to the grace the earth.
What can I say? My heart, very recently, turned into stone and my brain into mush—a consequence of reading Romeo & Juliet and A Merchant of Venice in succession.
Oh, no, friends, it isn’t what you think. Presuming you are thinking what I think you’re thinking! I have no affection towards the stories, or any attachment other than a want of never having to hear of them again. My heart isn’t stony and my brain mush because the stories touched me so. Not at all! It’s irritation, exasperation and aggravation at the bizarre stories that has me so!
Let me tackle (for lack of a better word) the comedy first! A comedy that never made me laugh, for I was under the impression comedies ought to make one laugh. To be sure, I consulted the oxford dictionary, too. The dictionary said the same! Comedy is intended to bring about laughter.
Merchant of Venice is categorized as a comedy. Why then, I ask those who laughed at it (for there must be some, after all, it couldn’t have been categorized as such if it hadn’t enticed laughter), did I not laugh?
Mind, I wanted to laugh! Why else would I have read it? I am not someone who’d read a book merely for literary purposes. I read it because I wanted to laugh, it being a comedy and all. I had the bad sense of not looking it up on the internet before I made the grave error in judgment. Not that I didn’t know what to expect. I’d read Shakespeare earlier and found his work passably funny. The fact that it was a tragedy that made me laugh is irrelevant. You see, since I’d laughed at Julius Caesar which is a tragedy it is only fair to assume a comedy would make me laugh. Boy, but was I wrong!
Merchant of Venice has a promising start. But that’s just it! The supposedly funny quotes only made me roll my eyes and want to skip pages. The guy is sad because the world is a stage and his role is that of a sad man! I must say if there was a better and more obvious and melodramatic way of evasion, I have yet to hear of it. There’s a lady whom a guy has seen but once and desires to marry. His desire is so great he lets his best friend all but put his life on the line for that. Well, who am I to comment if years of friendship pale in front of a few moments of infatuation. Pardon me, if I refuse to call it love.
The lady in question is lying in wait for him, too. Such is providence! And the father of the lady? Well, he loved his daughter a lot, so, naturally, he wanted only a worthy man to have her. What better way to know a man’s worth than a game of caskets? Fate, after all, is the best judge!
Jumping towards the last scene. I refuse to believe not one but two women can deceive a court room full of people as to not just their identity but gender as well. Like, seriously? Okay, maybe they were amazing make-up artists and adept at voice modulation. What about their husbands? How could they not realize their identities? Husbands, I might add, madly in love with their wives. Perhaps that’s why it was supposed to be funny!
The tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, I’d rather not touch. Why it is so popular is beyond me. Star-crossed lovers, you say. A look at each other and they’re in love! Like, seriously! To the extent that they’d embrace death for each other and cause six other deaths in vain? Why don’t the readers say ‘and I was born yesterday’ as they read it? I did!
The stories left me cold, literally. If that’s love, I’d rather never fall in love. They also left me pole-axed. If that’s funny, I’d rather be devoid of humor.
Never mind, that’s just me and if I’ve realized anything in my one and twenty years it’s that I have unreasonable and weird outlooks at many things. Shakespeare being one of those!
Such sweet sorrow it was, reading the two plays!
If anyone loves Shakespeare please understand this wasn’t meant to be an insult to him. If he’s revered so, I understand there must be a reason. Personally, some of his quotes are a favorite of mine, too (‘give me my sin back’ being from Romeo and Juliet itself). I don’t hate or dislike him. I just don’t get his stories. It’s just a perspective and may be completely unfounded. I apologize if I trod on sentiments. That wasn’t my intent.