Friday, July 11, 2008

Top 10 Shakespeare Plays

http://listverse.com/literature/top-10-greatest-shakespeare-plays/
Well, not really.  Whoever made the list apparently knows nothing about Shakespeare, leaving King Lear completely out of the list while including stuff like Taming of the Shrew.
I link it only because of the over 150 comments, most of them outraged, that follow :)

Update: You'll probably be far more interested in this later post where Shakespeare Geek readers offered their own thoughts on the real Top 10 Shakespeare Plays.

15 comments:

Alan K.Farrar said...

You don't need to read past the first comment - interesting list based on me never having read (or seen?) any of the things listed!

Mind you - there's more to the Shrew than most people realise.

kiwiboi said...

Alan - to be fair, there are a bunch of Listverse regulars who will comment no matter what the list is about (I'm a regular myself) - the site does have a strong sense of community about it for many of us. Having said this...the Shakespeare list is not a particularly good one..on many levels; and, despite what the list author is saying (the author is not the owner of the site, BTW), there are a number of commenters who have also expressed differing views to those of the author - which is a part of the enjoyment that the site offers.

catkins said...

Alan, I don't think anyone would argue that the Shrew is a great play, but it does have its problems from the feminist perspective and the question is does it have what it takes to make the top ten?
Shall we take up the challenge? It is not easy to limit oneself to 10, and the tragedies tend to squeeze out the rest. I don't think any two lists should be the same, but I tink it would be interesting to see what is on everyone's list, what is on nobody's, and what gets the most votes for top 3.
Here is my list:
1. Othello
2. Lear
3. Macbeth
4. Antony & Cleopatra
5. Hamlet
6. Julius Caesar
7. Romeo & Juliet
8. 1H4
9. 2H4
10. Much Ado
I want to add more comedies and Henry V, but there is no more room.

KeriCahill said...

ahhhh! I've been sucked in! I now MUST post my own list! After spending the last twenty years completely immersed in his plays, I have definitely formed opinions about which are the "greatest." In some cases it may just be because a bit of text within is so sublime that even grievous errors in the rest of the play can't overshadow the perfection of a few lines. So, here's my list:

#1: Hamlet, wait, King Lear, no wait Hamlet..
#2: King Lear, nahhh, Hamlet, on
2nd thought King Lear....
#3: Macbeth
#4: The Tempest
#5: Othello
#6: Romeo & Juliet (ONLY bc of the balcony scene..)
#7: A Midsummer Night's Dream ( I know a bank...)
#8: Twelfth Night
#9: Richard the Third
#10: The Winter's Take (This story takes the cake for me...)

BTW, did anyone else here see Frances West as Hermione at the Brattle in Cambridge all those years ago - 1989 I think? She was my mentor. I still miss her...

Bill said...

I want to play!

1. King Lear
2. Richard III
3. Hamlet
4. Macbeth
5. As You Like It
6. Othello
7. A Midsummer Night's Dream
8. Measure for Measure
9. Julius Caesar
10. Henry V
11. Richard II
12. Antony and Cleopatra
13. King John
14. 1H4
15. The Merchant of Venice
16. Twelfth Night
17. Romeo and Juliet
18. The Taming of the Shrew
19. Cymbeline
20. 2H4
21. The Comedy of Errors
22. 3H6
23. The Winter's Tale
24. Much Ado About Nothing
25. The Tempest
26. Coriolanus

27. 1H6
28. Troilus and Cressida

29. The Two Gentlemen of Verona

30. Love’s Labour’s Lost

31. Pericles


32. All’s Well that Ends Well

33. 2H6
34. Timon of Athens
35. Henry the Eighth
36. Titus Andronicus

37. The Merry Wives of Windsor

Anniina said...

The following list takes into account also plays I delight in watching, not simply their literary merit.

1. King Lear
2. Hamlet
3. Henry V
4. R3
5. Much Ado
6. R&J
7. Macbeth
8. Othello
9. 1H4
10. Antony & Cleopatra

Craig said...

Can I play, too? I'll make a list that's a little bit different. Dividing Shakespeare's 38 widely-acknowedged plays into tragedies, comedies, histories, and tragicomic "romances," here are my personal rankings for them all:

Tragedies
1. Hamlet (life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans)
2. Macbeth
3. Lear (we who are young will never see so much, or live so long)
4. Othello
5. Caesar (a trip to the land of Bad Options)
6. Romeo & Juliet (we all destroy our own children)
7. Coriolanus (geez, politics is a problem)
8. Titus (blood will have blood, and then _that_ blood will have blood, and so on until we're all dead)
9. Antony & Cleopatra (okay, so I have no taste)
10. Timon
11. Troilus & Cressida (I think the Iliad does a perfectly good job of deflating its own heroes)

Comedies
1. As You Like It (I love you, Rosalind)
2. 12th Night (You're pretty excellent too, Viola)
3. Merchant (I'll never work you out, Shylock)
4. Dream
5. Much Ado
6. Love's Labour's (a great feast of languages)
7. All's Well (hugely under-rated)
8. Measure (similarities to All's Well, but less satisfying for me because the Duke could end the game at any time by throwing back his hood)
9. Errors (excellent farce, but ultimately shallow--no connection to any kind of reality)
10. Windsor (slander on Falstaff's name)
11. Shrew
12. Two Gents

Histories:
1. Henry V (straightforward on a first glance, but deeper and more ambiguous every time you see it)
2. Henry IV, Part 1 (it would be a great play even without Falstaff)
3. Richard III (great on its own, even better as the culmination of the tetralogy)
4. Richard II
5. Henry VI, Part 3 (You do _not_ want to mess with Queen Margaret.)
6. Henry VI, Part 2
7. Henry IV, Part 2 (yeah, it's got Falstaff in it, but it's a real low point in the narrative)
8. John
9. Henry VIII (as many good elements as there are, it's an overlong muddle on the stage)
10. Henry VI, Part 1 (how do they lose France while winning battle after battle?)

Romances:
1. The Winter's Tale (pure magic)
2. The Tempest
3. Cymbeline (the original version of The Complete Works (Abridged))
5. Two Noble Kinsmen
6. Pericles (that reunion scene is wonderful, but, the play as a whole is kind of a rambling mess)

catkins said...

Craig - You are not playing fair! The whole point is to have to choose among the different genres--that's what makes it hard. I think you should do it over again and stick to 10. (I can forgive Bill because at least you can ignore everything in his list from 11 to 37).
--Carl

Alan K.Farrar said...

I suspect the lists are revealing a lot more about the listers than the plays and their qualities!

catkins said...

As is true with most Shakespearean criticism, Alan.

Craig said...

Well, because you asked, I think this is what my personal "top ten" would be:

1. Hamlet
2. Macbeth
3. Henry V
4. King Lear
5. As You Like It
6. Othello
7. Julius Caesar
8. The Winter's Tale
9. Twelfth Night
10. Henry IV, Part 1

I guess I should feel bad about ranking Lear so low, because it is absolutely magnificent. But that probably is roughly the order in terms of the plays the speak most to me.

love sick said...

I like the taming of the shrew very much, the play is actually very feminist, as Kate's final monolog is actually sarcastic, and I enjoyed it very much, the again I have played Petruchio. Here is my top 10, hope you like it



10. Richard III (because of legnth)
9. The Taming of the shrew
8. Twelfth night
7.Julius Caesar
6. King Lear
5. Macbeth
4. THe mercahnt of Venice
3. Hamlet
2. Othello
1. Romeo and Juliet

Feel free to ask me any questions.

love sick said...

I like the taming of the shrew very much, the play is actually very feminist, as Kate's final monolog is actually sarcastic, and I enjoyed it very much, the again I have played Petruchio. Here is my top 10, hope you like it



10. Richard III (because of legnth)
9. The Taming of the shrew
8. Twelfth night
7.Julius Caesar
6. King Lear
5. Macbeth
4. THe mercahnt of Venice
3. Hamlet
2. Othello
1. Romeo and Juliet

Feel free to ask me any questions.

love sick said...

Sorry for posting twice =)

Anonymous said...

1. The taming of the shrew
2. 3h6
3.1h4
4.Midsummer nights dream
5.2h4
6. Othello
7.Macbeth
8.King lear
9.Hamlet
10. Romeo and juliet