"Measure for Measure"

Well, for those of you who don't know, I am making it a goal to read all of Shakespeare's plays. My reason: I find it amazing and horrifying that it is not required of me to do so. The PhD in lit is a very concentrated thing that only requires me to read in a very small area. But the problem is that so much of literature--and especially Victorian literature--references Shakespeare.

I am taking my education into my own hands, people. So, here is the rundown...

I have read and, most importantly, remember the following plays:

Hamlet (read several times)
Macbeth (read several times)
The Tempest (taught several times)
King Lear (taught several times)
Antony and Cleopatra (read several times and just read it again, obviously)
Romeo and Juliet

I have read but do not remember:

All's Well that Ends Well
A Midsummer-Night's Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
Julius Caesar
Twelfth Night, or What You Will

Taming of the Shrew

I have never read what remains in the bibliography of plays. So, I am making my way through them, slowly, on my own time. It is an interesting experience. I like doing it this way because I am noticing things and being forced to learn things on my own rather than depend upon another person to teach me. Shakespeare is not an easy read at all times, but you can fall into it after a while...and it has become a sort of obsession/addiction for me.

So, right now, I am reading Measure for Measure. I will write more about it later, but it is deeply disturbing to me on a few levels.

Angelo, of course, is disturbing. But, worse than Angelo is Isabella. I like her speeches but I don't like her. In fact, I am really finding it hard to find a single character in this play that I do like. I find all of the women in this play deeply disturbing...more so than the vile men or even the narrative voice behind it (in some cases). This isn't to say, of course, that I don't appreciate the play. It makes one think, that is for sure.

It is likely that I will post about this play and the others that I read as time goes by. Like I said below, Antony and Cleopatra is my favorite (at least, so far...but I really can't imagine that it will change. Sometimes, the play that makes you really love Shakespeare will always be your favorite in the same way that your first good experience with a Romantic or Victorian or Medieval writer will always stay with you).

Anyway, I will never be a Shakespearean scholar, but I do love the plays.


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