Shakespeare’s Plays By Kim, Dhaula and Narise
Overview William Shakespeare wrote many plays between 1590 and 1613. He wrote thirty-eight plays, which were further classified into tragedies, comedies and histories. These plays are still studied today, nearly 400 years later. They have been adapted for movies, books and many of their plots have been ‘borrowed’ for original works.
Why are they studied? Shakespeare’s plays are studied currently for several reasons. The first is that they depict human nature in a very skillful way, showing the different ways that humans can act and react to events happening around them. The second is that they give a good idea of what life was like at the time, such as what people found funny then and the politics of the time. Another reason is that they give an interesting introduction to what is known as ‘Shakespearean Language’.
Classification Shakespeare’s plays have traditionally been classified into three groups; tragedies, histories and comedies. Tragedies are the plays in which the ending is nearly always sad, depressing or unresolved. Histories are about powerful historical figures and the idealisation of them. Comedies are the light-hearted, amusing plays, most of which are like the 16th century equivalent of rom-coms.
Richard iii Richard III is one of Shakespeare’s more famous histories. It focuses on the main character Richard of Gloucester, who is depicted as being the villain in the play. He is aiming to take over the kingdom as ruled by Edward IV by conspiring against him and tricking those loyal to him. In the end Richard is slain on the battlefield, mimicking the battle of Bosworth field in while Henry VI became king of England.
Hamlet Hamlet is one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies, from which the line ‘to be, or not to be; that is the question’ came (Act 3, Scene 1). It is set in Denmark and circles around the main character Hamlet and his revenge on his uncle Claudius, who killed Hamlet’s father. Shakespeare resolved many of his tragedies with death, but in Hamlet he sets the standard: by the end of the play, every main character but for the Fool is dead.
Much ado about nothing Much Ado About Nothing is a lighthearted comedy about the antics of Benedick and Beatrice, as well as the ‘love-at-first-sight’ romance between Claudio and Hero. It contains many of Shakespeare’s wittiest lines and conversations, as Benedick and Beatrice are almost continually at each other’s throats. Like many of his comedies, it ends in a happy ending with both pairs getting married and living happily ever after.
references http://www.shakespeare-online.com/ Shakespeare Online, 16/5/2012, last updated 24/4/2012 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamlet Wikipedia, Hamlet, 17/5/2012, last updated 14/4/2012 http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guide/literature/richard-iii/play-summary.html Cliffs Notes, Richard III, 17/5/2012