RANKING · SHAKESPEARE

SHAKESPEARE: RANKED

Well, this has been a long time coming. I really wanted to do something fun and new for my ranking post, and then life happened. I finally had some time to myself today, so here we are. Surprise! It’s an unscripted, podcast-esque 58 minute disaster for your ears (complete with super chill Elizabethan lute music)! Perfect to help you pass the time while you do your chores.

“But you don’t have a voice for radio at all, Shereen,” you think, immediately clicking pause 41 seconds in. I can acknowledge that, so here’s my list for those of you who just want to get down to the nitty gritty of it:

COMEDIES

  1. Measure for Measure
  2. Much Ado About Nothing
  3. Love’s Labor’s Lost
  4. The Tempest
  5. The Merry Wives of Windsor
  6. As You Like It
  7. Twelfth Night
  8. The Winter’s Tale
  9. A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  10. All’s Well That Ends Well
  11. The Taming of the Shrew
  12. The Merchant of Venice
  13. The Comedy of Errors
  14. The Two Gentlemen of Verona

TRAGEDIES

  1. Julius Caesar
  2. Romeo and Juliet
  3. Othello
  4. Hamlet
  5. Antony and Cleopatra
  6. King Lear
  7. Titus Andronicus
  8. Coriolanus
  9. Cymbeline
  10. Troilus and Cressida
  11. Timon of Athens
  12. Macbeth

HISTORIES

  1. Richard III
  2. Henry V
  3. Henry IV, Part One
  4. Henry IV, Part Two
  5. Henry VI, Part Three
  6. Henry VI, Part Two
  7. Henry VI, Part One
  8. Richard II
  9. King John
  10. Henry VIII

NOT IN THE FIRST FOLIO – and therefore gets to be #1 in its own category!

  1. Pericles

Now all that’s left for me is to make posts about the remaining plays, write about fiction based on Shakespeare’s plays, and – well, you’ll see.

Happy listening/reading!

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2 thoughts on “SHAKESPEARE: RANKED

  1. Excellent! I listened to your podcast during my morning bike ride. Actually, it was kind of amazing – your podcast was exactly as long as my ride. I was just hanging my bike up when you said your final words. What a great way to spend a beautiful morning!

    I was especially moved by your conclusion, where you said that we find pieces of ourselves in Shakespeare. In my experience, I’ve discovered pieces of myself I didn’t know I had. In particular, I found myself appreciating the way the later Shakespeare wrote women. As a man I didn’t know if I was just fooling myself – it helps to have a woman confirm my feeling that Shakespeare wrote so many of his women characters, like Rosalyn, Juliet, Imogen, Isabella, and of course your Beatrice, in a way that speaks to women, as well.

    Of course I don’t agree with everything here, but no need to quibble about that. I love to listen to you talk (or read your writing) about your favorite plays and characters. I find that I love the same things you love about them. Richard III is so much fun, you can’t help liking him even though he is terrible. Prince Hal is so deep, there’s so much to discover in his character. I love what you say about Juliet, and Hamlet, and Othello, all such intriguing characters. And I’m so glad you reacted as you did to Measure for Measure – it was that hidden gem that shook me to my core, just as it did for you.

    As I reach the mid-point of my summer break, I find there’s never enough time to do all I want with Shakespeare. Soon (maybe today or maybe later this week) I will post an entry discussing why I believe King Lear to be the greatest thing Shakespeare (or maybe anybody) ever wrote. I know it’s not at the top of your list – maybe I can sway you a little. Or maybe not – what fun would it be if everyone agreed on everything?

    I hope you keep writing and I hope you get your wish – the chance to analyze and even teach Shakespeare sometime in your life. But there are many paths – I mean, look at me. I’m an algebra teacher, but my kids quickly learn that every word problem I write is likely to be filled with Imogens, Mercutios, and Ophelias.

    PS I think you have a lovely radio voice!

    1. Wow, that’s awesome! I’m so glad I managed to get the length of it just right.

      Oh, no, you weren’t fooling yourself at all. I have to admit that I wasn’t prepared for Shakespeare’s women. I thought I was going to be reading very old timey plays – all of my feminist discourse wasn’t planned in the slightest. It was so refreshing to meet Shakespeare’s women. I only wish I could do it all over again!

      No need to quibble, but I’m sure you wanted to kill me for my tragedies ranking! Kidding, kidding. I love that reading Shakespeare is such a unique, personal thing. Thanks for pointing out Hamlet in particular, by the way! I sometimes feel like such an amateur when I tell people that Hamlet is just…sad. But, to me, he absolutely is. He’s sad, Juliet is sensible and strong, Othello is a storyteller, Hal is a ball of anxiety, Richard is a weirdly lovable schemer – the list goes on and on.

      Hey, I’d love to be swayed! I actually have a couple of your entries sitting in my inbox for when I’m less busy. I can’t wait to read them – especially your review of The Tempest!

      Gosh, I hope I get my wish too. And even if I don’t, I’m still happy that I have this blog, and that there are other Shakespeare lovers out there! And you’re right when you say that there are many paths. I need to keep reminding myself that. Also, I’m jealous of your students. All my word problems featured the most bland characters you could think of.

      Thank you, thank you, thank you for listening and reading all this time. And it means so much that what I said about finding yourself meant something to you. I feel so, so tempted to expand on that one day.

      P.S. Thank you! I listened to it on a long car ride and I didn’t cringe the entire time, so it’s probably better than I think. Maybe my dreams of being on the Folger Shakespeare Library podcast aren’t so crazy…

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