Sunday, July 27, 2014

Titus Andronicus vs. A Midsummer Night’s Dream

At some point recently, I wrote that the bustle of packing, selling a house, buying a house, moving, retiring, and starting a new job wasn’t cutting in to my reading time. Yet. Alas, I’ve fallen a bit behind schedule by now. So naturally I’m behind in blogging as well. Two weeks ago I made a note to myself that I’d write this post, but now I don’t remember the details of what I wanted to say.

I’ll start the few comments I do have by saying that, as with the pair of dramas I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, one of the two plays mentioned in today’s title I will take into my third decade of planned reading for more entertaining revisits, and the other I will probably never look at again. Aside from some excessive chopping-off of hands in the middle, Titus isn’t all that bad, but twice is enough for me. On the other hand, I don’t know that I could ever get enough of Puck and his bumbled meddling with the foolish mortals, or the love rectangle between Lysander, Demetrius, Hermia, and Helena. And nothing can beat Bottom and his ass’s head or the completely tacked-on play that he and his fellow tradesmen put on at the end of the show.

OK, I don’t know that anything I’ve written today so far is really worth the time it’s taken to read it. So to offer some point to today’s installment of exlibrismagnis, I’ll offer this advice to homeschoolers. If you’re trying to figure out what Shakespeare play to have your kids read this year, and you think Titus Andronicus might be good because they’ll learn some Roman history while reading classic literature, have them read Midsummer instead. They won’t learn one bit of history – except the significant historical fact that William Shakespeare penned words that still release joyous streams of laughter when they’re read, even four hundred years later.

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