As I am sure regular readers of The Literary Sisters know, this year I challenged myself to read all of the Shakespeare plays which I hadn’t yet studied or read in my spare time. I made myself a list which included two or three plays per month, and have been reading my way through them accordingly. The project has been great fun, and I am rather sad that I am nearing the end as the year draws to a close. Below are my reviews for the two Shakespeare plays which I read in October – The Merchant of Venice and Othello.
The Merchant of Venice ****This is one of the plays which I was most looking forward to reading. I am sure that many of you know the major plotline, so I won’t go into detail about it. I love the storyline which has been crafted here, and I found it both simple and clever. The sharp divide between different religions – here, Judaism and Christianity – has been marvellously exemplified, and is most interesting to read. Overall, The Merchant of Venice is really quite profound. Shylock’s speech was pitch perfect, and often rather sorrowful, and I feel as though Shakespeare built him up believably as a protagonist. I loved all of the references to Ancient Greece woven throughout too. It is not quite my favourite play overall, but it is one of the most interesting from a social and historical perspective. I would adore to see it live, so fingers crossed it may be part of The Globe’s summer season for 2014. If so, I shall be first in line for a ticket.
Again, Othello was another play which I couldn’t wait to read. As with The Merchant of Venice, I won’t go into detail regard its plot, but I will say that it shares quite a lot of the same themes. It is written beautifully, and the story has been woven together intelligently and believably. Othello is not a very happy play by any means – my thoughts upon finishing were, ‘Well, that was cheery!’ – but it is well paced and the characters and situations have clearly been given a lot of thought. I very much enjoyed it, and think that it would be marvellous on stage.