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Wednesday, 9 March 2016

MUCH ADO ABOUT EVERYTHING







Love, Loss and legions of laughs... If you've every wished you could sum up Shakespeare's plots in just a few words, The Times newspaper is here to help.

Ahead of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death on April 23, 2016, the Times 'Shakespeare special'  has ranked  the bard's 39 plays in order of merit. 

Can you guess the name of the  sample, below, ranked at number three?

The plot:Second-string Scottish nobleman nabs the crown, egged on by his unscrupulous wife, spurred by three local well-wishers.

The quote: Life is a tale/Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury/Signifying nothing

The clue: Shakespeare's shortest tragedy.

The answer: see photo, above.

For those of you who, like me,  grew up on Shakespeare, coerced from an early age into  analysing every word, this is refreshing stuff. Tongue-in-cheek, okay, but entertaining all the same.

Today  Benedict Nightingale, the paper's chief theatre critic from 1990 to 2010,  ranks the Bard's ten best love scenes.  At Number One is Much Ado about Nothing.

Top quote: I do love nothing in the world so well as you.

The pitch: A quarrelsome duo discover they don't hate each other.

Happy ever after? Benedict and Beatrice share an improbable love, but one more likely to succeed than most.


Far from being 'dumbed down' as its critics may fear,  it seems to me that is a positive way to introduce successive generations to an extraordinary talent of which we, as a nation, are rightly proud. And if it brings Shakespeare a host of new fans it has surely achieved its aim.

Meanwhile, tomorrow's Shakespeare special will be charting the great man's ten best death scenes.  Which means I have work to do. It will take me the rest of the day, at least, to guess which they are.












3 comments:

Amy Walmsley said...

Very interesting read!! Through my work I have met quite a few primary school aged children who appear to have a better understanding of Shakedown I did aged 16!! Anything that makes Shakespeare accessible is a great idea!

Amy Walmsley said...

Very interesting read!! Through my work I have met quite a few primary school aged children who appear to have a better understanding of Shakedown I did aged 16!! Anything that makes Shakespeare accessible is a great idea!

Guernsey Girl said...

I'm glad you agree, Amy. I also think Shakespeare's work adds credence to the much-maligned persona 'romantic novelist.'