Shakespeare Challenge

Folger LogoAs an English teacher, I have become familiar with a few of Shakespeare’s plays. I’ve taught Romeo and Juliet so many times that I have huge chunks of it memorized. I’ve taught Macbeth several times, too, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Taming of the Shrew, Othello, King Lear, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, and Julius Caesar.

However, there are several plays I’ve never read or read back in my Shakespeare course in undergrad so long ago that I don’t remember them well. To that end, I decided to participate in the Shakespeare Challenge at the Desdemona level (6 plays, 2 of which can be replaced by performance). I’m not sure exactly which six I’ll read, but I definitely want to read As You Like It and The Tempest. Aside from these two “definitelys,” I have the following “maybes” in mind:

Stay tuned for an announcement about a reading challenge I’ll be hosting on this blog for next year. Hint: it is somewhat related to this reading challenge.

Image ©The Folger Shakespeare Library (I think).

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10 thoughts on “Shakespeare Challenge

  1. I'd definitely read The Tempest and The Merchant of Venice. Both are absolutely wonderful. What about a history? One of the Henrys perhaps? I love Falstaff!

    Good luck!

    • Richard II is a history. I have read Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, but could probably re-read them. Loved Falstaff. Maybe Henry V again, too? I'm not settled yet.

  2. I read A Winter's Tale and Twelfth Night for a gender in Shakespeare class in college. The former is very bizarre. I teach Othello every year to my seniors and they love it. I auditioned for Emilia in a local production last spring, but I think my work hours kept me out of the running.

    • I tried to read A Winter's Tale in high school, believe it or not. Over my head then. Thinking I might try again. I hate to leave things unfinished. Othello might be my favorite Shakespeare play, but really, how can one pick?

  3. I strongly vote for Twelfth Night of course, because it's the first one I ever saw. Coriolanus bored me to death, I have heard excellent things about Richard II, The Merchant of Venice has interesting layers and a hella good court scene, and Antony and Cleopatra is a big one I've never read. So I'm curious about that. May I advise against Titus Andronicus? It's dull and gruesome and awful. Not Shakespeare's finest hour.

    • Jenny, the Director of Education at the Folger claims Titus is his favorite play. Everyone gives him crap for that, so I was curious to see what is up with it. However, I should note that I know that all you say is true about it. Our local Shakespeare theater just put on Coriolanus not long ago. They had a funny Photoshop contest to go along with it.

  4. Welcome to the challenge! I'm reading Richard II and Titus as well, though I think I read the latter before the movie and hated it.

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