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Robert Tamayo

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A Bit of Friendly Advice

Don't make plans to quadruple the number of words you read daily and expect to be able to do all the other things you normally do. The Shakespeare reading challenge is taking up fully twice the amount of time I thought it would. I will say, however, that it has been enjoyable in surprising ways. I'm not going to write a review of each play or even write much about them in general, but I will provide weekly updates for whatever I read.

So far, I've read:

  1. King Henry VI, Part 1
  2. King Henry VI, Part 1
  3. King Henry VI, Part 1
  4. King Richard III
  5. Comedy of Errors
  6. The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  7. Love's Labor's Lost
  8. Romeo and Juliet

The King plays are all part of a "War of the Roses" tetralogy, apparently. The first part started off great, reading like an action novel. After that, almost every single play in the tetralogy follows a pattern of being somewhat slow in the beginning, then building up to thrilling conclusion. King Richard III surprised me with its focus on an evil man's rise to power.

I found Comedy of Errors to be very funny. I was actually laughing while reading it. I figure Shakespeare is the one responsible for the simple Comedy premise genre, where the humor is derived from some rule or misunderstanding of some kind (character loses memory, character becomes a girl, character can't tell a lie, etc). It was very good throughout, but much like modern comedies, it suffers from the need to conclude the story in a way that feels more dramatic and formulaic than comedic.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona had one of my favorite characters so far: Crab the Dog. Lance's monologues regarding the troubles Crab caused him are hilarious. The climax of the play was also surprisingly dark, considering its lighter tones throughout. Between The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Love's Labor's Lost, I started to think that Shakespeare was the originator of the Chick Flick genre. Love's Labor's Lost actually reminded me of the plot for the movie 40 Days and 40 Nights, as well as How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.

Finally, Romeo and Juliet makes a lot more sense to me now reading it in the context of Shakespeare's other plays. 

That's all.

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