Measure for Measure ★★★☆☆

measureformeasure (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Measure for Measure
Series: ———-
Author: William Shakespeare
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Play, Comedy
Pages: 96
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Duke Somebody leaves his city-state in the hands of a man the Duke trusts, or so he says. His real plan is for the stand-in, Angelo, to enforce the moral laws of the land that the Duke has been ignoring. Thus the Duke will get a more moral populace without having the outrage directed against him.

Unfortunately for him, Angelo turns into a tyrant and condemns a man to death for fornication. When the doomed man’s sister pleads for mercy, Angelo says he’ll forego the death sentence if she’ll have sex with him. The Duke, disguised as a monk, over hears everything that is going on and sets things up so that a woman Angelo spurned years ago takes the sister place. Angelo is fooled but reneges on his word. The Duke reveals himself to the jailor and comes up with a plan to save the doomed man.

The Duke sets everything in motion, then “returns” publicly. The sister and spurned woman cry for justice, Angelo says everything is all lies and then the doomed man comes forth, not dead after all. Angelo is forced to marry the spurned woman, so she has all the legal rights of a wife. The Duke then sentences Angelo to die just like Angelo sentenced the doomed brother to die.

The sister marries the Duke and everything turns out alright for everyone who is good.

 

My Thoughts:

There was a lot of wordplay humor here that amused me. Almost no physical comedy so that also helped. The story of a hypocrite getting his just desserts is always a good one.

That being said, I think the Duke is an ass. He supposedly knows Angelo from all the way back “when” and even knows he spurned the poor girl when her dowry fell through and yet he seems so surprised at how Angelo acts once he’s in control.

The way Angelo is presented at first came across as a hard nosed, take no nonsense kind of guy. I was rooting for him in fact. Time somebody cleaned up the filth. But of course, nobody can actually be good if they want to enforce the laws, oh no! They’re heartless brutes who secretly break the law themselves at every turn. Now, doesn’t THAT narrative sound terribly familiar? Wouldn’t surprise me if Democrats read Shakespeare as a How To instead of as a warning.

The whole thing with the Duke and the sister getting married just made me laugh. She is going to be a nun but puts her final vows on hold so she can save her brother. A couple of days later the Duke pretty much says ‘Woman, marry me!” and she’s all “You got it, you sexy beast”. Somehow I wonder if she would have turned into a “Naughty” nun, hahahahaa.

Overall, this was MUCH more enjoyable than the previous plays. I needed that, as reading unlikeable plays time after time was getting a bit wearisome.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

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Love’s Labour’s Lost ★★☆☆☆

loveslabourslost (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Love’s Labour’s Lost
Series: ———-
Author: William Shakespeare
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Play, Comedy
Pages: 98
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

King Ferdinand, 3 of his lords and a Spaniard, all take a vow to study, fast and avoid women for 3 years. Of course, King Ferdinand forgets that he’s supposed to be welcoming a French Princess into his court. She and her ladies arrive, are forced to decamp outside of the city and all the men fall instantly in love with the ladies.

They write love letters, lie to each other, all catch each other out, unsuccessfully woo the ladies as Russians (I kid you not) and then, just when they are about to successfully win the ladies as themselves, the Princess’s father dies and the ladies all retire for a year.

Throw in some mouthy servants and smart ass pages and bob’s your uncle.

 

My Thoughts:

A lot of the humor of this play was based on the reparte between the men amongst themselves, the ladies amongst themselves and then amongst them all as a group. They cut, they swipe, they’re snide and pompous. It didn’t work for me at all.

The servants should have been whipped to death for their insolence or at least muzzled. The men were idiots for taking such an oath in the first place and then to watch them each perjure themselves was just disgraceful. The women were cold and playing it all as a game when they should have been much more serious.

All in all, if a dragon had walked on stage and eaten every character, I would have stood up, cheered my head off and then run off as fast as I could before the dragon ate me. I am beginning to suspect that I don’t like Shakespeare’s style or sense of humor.

★★☆☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

The Comedy of Errors ★★☆☆½

comedyoferrors (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Comedy of Errors
Series: ———-
Author: William Shakespeare
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Play, Comedy
Pages: 272
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

20+ years ago, a family with twin sons and a servant with twin sons, were separated at sea. Now they all come together in the city of Ephesus and mistaken identity comedy errors ensue. With a lot of beatings for the servant twins, who both can’t seem to keep their mouths shut.

The error is realized and everyone ends up happy. The End.

 

My Thoughts:

This completely did not work for me as a read. The humor was not funny on the page nor did the situational humor do a thing for me. I kept wanting to shout “Somebody USE YOUR BRAIN!”

I can see this being very funny if acted out, much like a 3 Stooges scenario. But those wouldn’t be funny either on paper. The actors are what make the situations funny, not just the situations themselves.

I also don’t find humor about marriage funny. Me and Willy have very different outlooks, that is for sure. That doesn’t stop me from being glad to read this or to appreciate it. I just don’t like it * grin *

★★☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

 

As You Like It ★★★☆½

asyoulikeit (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: As You Like It
Series: ———-
Author: William Shakespeare
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Play, Comedy
Pages: 120
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Orlando, youngest son of a dead lord, has been cheated by his older brother. He runs off to the Duke, out wrestles the duke’s champion and meets, and falls in love with, Rosalind. He then runs off to the forest because the Duke didn’t like his pappy. There he pines for Rosalind. He meets a young man, who is really Rosalind in diguise ands woos said young man who claims that he can cure anyone of love. Orlando is successful and Rosalind marries him, all the while she is orchestrating the marriage of 2 other couples along with her own nuptials. Orlando’s brother gives up the estates to him, the naughty duke, Rosalind’s Uncle, takes religious vows and Rosalind’s daddy becomes ruler.

Everybody is happy. The End.

 

My Thoughts:

I keep wanting to treat these plays like novels and you just can’t do that. The value contained in the words aren’t necessarily the actual plots. Boy and Girl fall in love, overcome Incredible Odds, Happy Ending for Everyone. That story is as old and Jacob and Rachel. Yet, seeing these plot points is good as it gives you the necessary understanding of where so much of our modern stories come from. There is truly nothing new under the sun.

You can say that again.

What I am liking is the metred cadence. This is a play. It is meant to be spoken. While I am not, at this point in time, reading these outloud, I am not discounting the idea of doing that for one of these, just to hear how it flows. I am no thespian, nor poetic enough to write in iambic pentameter, but some time this year I’m going to try to write one of my reviews like it was a Shakespeare play. I already know that will take some serious work. The whole mindset has to be different than the prose I am used to and think in.

Honestly, I can’t even tell you exactly what iambic pentameter IS or how to do it. I know roughly it is so many this and thats over so many lines, blah, blah, blah. Not sure if rhyming is necessary or not. See, I have a lot to learn before I even attempt a review like that. And Shakespeare wrote a whole raft full of the bloody things.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge

 

 

All’s Well that Ends Well ★★★☆☆

allswellthatendswell (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: All’s Well that Ends Well
Series: ———-
Author: William Shakespeare
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Play
Pages: 226
Format: Digital Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

A young woman, Helena, the daughter of a famous doctor now deceased, has been taken under wing by the noble family Rousillon. She falls in love with the family heir, Bertram but knows her commoner status will prevent her from ever marrying Bertram. Helena remembers a secret formula that her father gave to her and uses it to cure the King of France (Boo!) who in turn pretty much grants her one wish. She chooses to marry Bertram and the King makes it so.

Bertram chooses to go to war to avoid his bride and falls in lust with a young lady where he is stationed. Helena tracks him down and tells her tale to the young lady. Shenanigans ensue and Bertram woos and beds his wife thinking it’s his paramour.

The young lady, under the direction of Helena, goes to the king to get justice and Bertram acts like a complete loser and denies everything. Helena jumps out of the closet with a secret ring and pregnant and claims Bertram as her own. Bertram is so overcome by his wife’s cleverness and determination that he falls in love with her.

The End.

 

My Thoughts:

I am guessing this was supposed to be one of Shakespeare’s comedies. Lots of clever wordplay where people make fun of each other and ham it up to the audience. However, I hated Bertram so half the play was a bust for me. He was just a jerk. The ending was as much a hollywood blockbuster ending as you could wish for, ie, everything gets resolved even if it makes no sense whatsoever.

It did take me a little while to get into the cadence of the reading this as a play and not as a novel. I also had to really slow down and think about what I was reading because how it was presented was not what I am used to. It is always a good thing to slow the reading down and not devour it like I am in a hotdog eating contest.

Overall, I am pleased at this start to my reading of the Complete Shakespeare.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge