Thursday, October 28, 2010

I'm ... Stumped.

Would you believe I actually found a good, unique question on Yahoo Answers? Maybe it's been asked before, but in all my time I don't think I've ever seen it.



What play, or type of play, do you think Shakespeare *enjoyed* writing most?



People these days find reason to debate the very identify of Shakespeare, so the idea that there's hard and fast evidence about whether he enjoyed his work sees a bit ridiculous. But is it unanswerable? I'm not so sure.


Wasn't it Midsummer that's basically his only original story? Maybe we could argue that was a favorite. (Wasn't Shrew an original story as well, though?)


I think that today we point to Hamlet and Lear as his masterpieces, but I wonder if that has simply come with time, and if he didn't think of them as just another tragedy. Didn't I read somewhere that Titus Andronicus would have been one of his more popular shows at the time? Shakespeare was a business man, that must have appealed. Then again, that would happened after he wrote it, so we can't really use that as evidence that he enjoyed writing it.


Who knows, maybe it's too hypothetical. But I thought it was a neat question.



4 comments:

Alexi said...

It is a good question. Maybe comedies, since there are so many of them. Of course, that's counting the problem plays and romances, which sometimes are given categories of their own...

One gets the sense Falstaff was one of his favorite characters. He went a wrote him into an anachronistic comedy after killing him off in the histories. Doesn't exactly answer the main question, though.

Tempest is also an original plot. As is Merry Wives of Windsor.

Duane said...

What do you think about the legend that the Queen enjoyed Falstaff so much, that she requested Shakespeare put him in a comedy - hence Merry Wives?

Alexi said...

That would be a good candidate for your next post, the "Shakespeare Urban Legends" one. I suppose it's possible, but there's no contemporary source verifying it. The legend got started a century or more down the road.

I tend to believe Shakespeare regretted killing off Bardolph, Nym, Mistress Quickly, the Boy, and Falstaff in Henry V so he brought them back in a comedic setting. Just my personal take on it, though.

kj said...

The anecdote started in 1702—but a Doctor Who episode confirms its veracity!

http://bardfilm.blogspot.com/2010/02/doctor-who-in-1965-watches-shakespeare.html

Thanks!

kj