Top 10 Best Shakespeare Plays That Prove His Work Is Timeless

Tags: #WilliamShakeSpeare ,   #Hamlet ,   #RomeoAndJuliet ,   #Othello

Scarlett Goldstein

Scarlett Goldstein

Last updated:  2020-11-13 09:59:14

In modern literature, we often speak the most about novels and short stories, but poets are still quite a trend. However, where are the playwrights? What should you read when you want a good play? It's enough just to say "Shakespeare," and the whole story is probably already in your head. He's the greatest of all time when it comes to theatrical work, and inspiration to many, including Robert Burns. If you're looking for his best plays to read, we'll do it for you and show you what his work's highlights are.

10. "The Merchant of Venice"

The 2004 film version of "The Merchant of Venice" has a star-studded cast

When it comes to this 16th-century play, it was quite revolutionary as it dealt with gender inequality. While some other Shakespeare's plays like "Taming of the Shrew" sparked debates about sexism, this one has a much better reputation. On the contrary, it's like a subtle prequel to feminism because women play a massive role in the plot.

Moreover, it's very modern that Shakespeare plays with the importance of money, greed, and revenge, all related to each other. The play's remarks are witty, the whole theme is thrilling, so it's a great way beat the reader's block. However, it's just a start when it comes to the sharpness of Shakespeare's sarcasm.

9. "As You Like It"

Watch this mesmerizing performance of "All the World's a Stage"

In this play, Shakespeare explores the world of pastoral comedies. Its universe revolves around love, of course, but the setting in these plays is always rural. The rustic places like the Forest of Arden make this play adventurous and emphasize the humor.

"As You Like It" has many crucial moments. Still, the soliloquy "All the World's a Stage" is a definite highlight of Shakespeare's whole career. Its magnitude is already displayed in the title! The word "stage" can be understood as a literal place where you hold a performance. However, it can also refer to "stages" in life every person faces throughout the years. A brilliant play on words!

8. "Much Ado About Nothing"

The trailer for the fresh adaptation of "Much Ado About Nothing" promises "an awful lot of fun"

Honestly, you'd adore Shakespeare if you read plays like these at school. "Much Ado About Nothing" might be one of his funniest works ever. If written in the 21st century, it would be a script for a romantic comedy, so if you're into more lighthearted Shakespeare, start with this one.

The play is full of tricks and confusion regarding the main characters, especially Benedick, Beatrice, Hero, and Claudio. The key motif is also the word "nothing" in the title, as these characters basically do many unnecessary things! Spying, fake confessions, infidelity, and eavesdropping didn't help the plot in any way.

7. "Othello"

"Othello" is one of the most quoted Shakespeare's plays

It's admirable how much Shakespeare's works apply to our time as well. Othello actually tells a story about a guy from Venice who has a major position in society. However, he's perceived as an outsider because of his race and ancestry.

There are many debates about "Othello" discussing racism in Shakespeare's time, and is the play actually racist. Nonetheless, from the 21st-century perspective, this theme, mixing with deadly jealousy and violence, feels like an explosion of controversy. Not anyone can write a play like this.

6. "Twelfth Night"

Such an amusing masterpiece is, even more, diverting in this sarcastic interpretation

Shakespeare is the recurring theme in schools, mostly for his major tragedies. Nevertheless, his comedies are the best thing you never knew you needed in your life! "Twelfth Night "sounds quite like a religious act, but it's a rather funny and confusing piece of writing, with an unusual central motif – cross-dressing!

Viola, the story's protagonist, actually dressed like a man to get a job. Moreover, this caused so much uncertainty that "he is actually she" will make you burst out laughing! Furthermore, there's a happy ending (no spoilers, it's simply a comedy) and multiple marriages. You might not believe the same person wrote both "Twelfth Night" and "Romeo and Juliet!"

5. "Macbeth"

You should read "Macbeth" also because it's actually short and understandable, but effective

What would you do if you could accomplish anything without having to think about hurting anyone along the way? Macbeth and his lady killed the king because Macbeth knew that he'd be the next man on the throne. However, Lady Macbeth brushed her hands for the rest of her life because she couldn't take blood off them.

The sense of guilt is the essential lesson you can learn reading "Macbeth," which is timeless. You can clearly see the main character's guilty conscience throughout the play. In conclusion, you can't just take away someone's property to pave your way to a goal. The philosophical term that "the end justifies the means" basically means nothing, after all.

4. "King Lear"

Anthony Hopkins shines in this performance of Shakespeare's most popular king

Shakespeare was a professional at family tragedies, and this one belongs to that genre the most. It showcases all the vulnerability of a daughter, her devotion and loyalty for her family. It also sends a very important message about forgiveness as a greater thing than any ill will.

Nowadays, we face family destruction in many ways – many people aren't even in touch with their siblings or relatives. This cruel play is the saddest Shakespeare's work ever in that sense. If you'd like to watch an adaptation of the play, there's a fresh one from 2018 – it only shows how strong Shakespeare's impact is, still to this day.

3. "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

This movie is not the only adaptation of the play, but it's one of the best

It's hard to tell whether Shakespeare did better with tragedies or comedies (he also wrote histories), so it's a matter of taste. However, your taste is incredible if you consider "A Midsummer Night's Dream" his most triumphant comedy! This genre is perfect when it's spiced up with a little bit of magic. Actually, this play is overwhelmed by it.

Moreover, the fairies make this play enchanting, and their free-spirit and lighthearted jokes give a new lease of life to the story's humor. You'll be caught up rooting for both Hermia and Helena finding the love of their life – they've been there all along, right? We hope you won't have to wait for Titania and Oberon to live your fairytale, though! If you've never seen this play at the theatre, at least watch the 1999 movie adaptation.

2. "Romeo and Juliet"

"Lovefool" by the Cardigans is a song you can't miss from the "Romeo + Juliet" adaptation from 1996

When you think of the most famous plays worldwide, you'd probably name "Romeo and Juliet." We'll put it as a runner-up on this list because it really belongs to the greatest love stories ever. Shakespeare, actually, influenced any love story ever made after "Romeo and Juliet" because their love seems to stay an epitome of romance and pure feelings.

Furthermore, "Romeo and Juliet" makes us question whether love really requires sacrifice. It makes you wonder how much you are ready to give and risk to experience the purest emotion. Are you brave enough for that? Would you break the rules?

1. "Hamlet"

"To be or not to be" is the greatest soliloquy of all time

Many people name this play as Shakespeare's best work ever and a classic. And yes, we obviously agree! There's something so pure and relatable about Hamlet's doubts, fears, and indecisiveness. In the reader's eyes, he's a hero because he's one of us, indeed.

Moreover, Hamlet has to be extremely responsible and wise to make the right decision. Isn't it like a regular day in our lives, too? Shakespeare plays with our own impression about death, human life as a miserable thing, and betrayal among our dearest ones. This work is, without any doubt, absolutely timeless.

If you haven't checked any of these plays or skipped them at school, give them a try as soon as you catch some free time! If you think you've already seen enough of Shakespeare, you're living a lie.

What's your favorite play by the greatest British author of all time?

Photo: Pixabay


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