About 2 years ago, I began a intense interest in the plays of William
Shakespeare. At the time, I had just finished reading the autobiography
of John Hauseman. You remember, Kingsfield, the law professor from
The Paper Chase. Before he was Kingsfield, Hauseman was a producer
and director. In his autobiography, Hauseman talked about staging the
plays of Shakespeare with Orson Welles in the off Broadway Mercury Theatre.
Oddly enough, his discussion of the staging approaches sparked my interest
in the plays. I guess I felt that if they could stage the plays so imaginatively,
then they might be worth reading.
I don't mind telling you that I approached reading the plays with some trebidation.
After all, everyone knows that the language is contorted, right! Well, everyone
is wrong. The first play that I read was Macbeth. Truthfully,
I was quite blown away. This play is incredibly intense and nothing like I had
Eventually, I read all 37 plays by Shakespeare. This experience was the most enjoyable
reading experience of my life. Shakespeare's plays are just amazing. The stories cover
the range of possible human situations including sex, murder, incest, torture,
mutilation, humor, puns, witty interchange, and political intrigue. His characterizations
are the most sublime and intuitive that you will ever read. As far as his language,
he is absolutely elegant. His poetic structure and choice of phrases are simply brain
candy for the mind.
If you have never read Shakespeare, then start with Macbeth. At the end
of this section, I discuss the reason for the reticence by most persons to read Shakespeare's
plays. I can tell you, however, that I am glad that I overcame my natural resistance
and read all of the plays.