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Page history last edited by Daniel "Leibniz" Polokonis 5 years, 7 months ago

Polokonis's Ranking of Shakespeare's Tragedies

1. Hamlet

2. Coriolanus

3. Macbeth

4. King Lear

5. Othello

6. Julius Caesar

7. Romeo and Juliet

8. Antony and Cleopatra

9. Titus Andronicus

10. Timon of Athens

*Note: It is a testament to the greatness of Shakespeare's Tragedies that I do consider Titus Andronicus a very good play, yet I can only rank it 9th among the tragedies.  Indeed, it was difficult to place plays 2-9 because they all have great aspects.  I would love to an overall ranking of the 38 plays, though I feel this would be a difficult task without reading all plays again in a shorter span of time. 



Polokonis's Ranking of Shakespeare's Comedies

1. The Tempest

2. As You Like It

3. Measure for Measure

4. Cymbeline

5. Twelfth Night

6. A Midsummer Night's Dream

7. The Winter's Tale

8. Much Ado about Nothing

9. The Taming of the Shrew

10. The Merchant of Venice

11. All's Well That Ends Well

12. Troilus and Cressida

13. The Two Noble Kinsmen

14. TheTwo Gentlemen of Verona

15. The Comedy of Errors

16. The Merry Wives of Windsor

17. Pericles, Prince of Tyre

18. Love's Labour's Lost

*Note: I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Shakespeare's Comedies, because I had been convincing myself that they were mostly too silly or too convenient.  In fact, I did enjoy the first 12-15 of these plays (by my rankings) quite a bit.  The last few plays, however, are either too farcical or too unintelligible for me to recommend you spending your time reading them.  That is, of course, unless you are a charwoman from Elizabethan England who enjoys a certain kind of bawdy humour and a defeated version of Sir John Falstaff - in that case, you may like The Merry Wives of Windsor very much.


Polokonis's Ranking of Shakespeare's Histories

1. King Henry IV Part 2

2. King Henry V

3. King Henry IV Part 1

4. King Richard III

5. King John

6. King Richard II

7. King Henry VI Part 3

8. King Henry VI Part 2

9. King Henry VIII

10. King Henry VI Part 1

*Note: Shakespeare's Histories seem to get a bad rap, but I have always enjoyed these plays - that is, until I read the Henry VI and Henry VIII plays.  Unfortunately, Shakespeare could not treat the subject of Henry VIII (which would provide a plethora of great material) with a very critical lens because he was a little too current (being the father of Shakespeare's queen, Elizabeth I), and as a result, the play is rather banal.  And Shakespeare's depiction of Joan of Arc is so caustically anti-Catholic that Henry VI was difficult to take seriously.  On a positive note, the lesser-known King John was unexpectedly quite good.


My Shakespearean Dinner Party

Guests would include Hamlet, Coriolanus, Lady Macbeth, The Fool from Lear, Iago, Antony from Julius Caesar (not the jerk from Antony and Cleopatra), Mercutio, Ariel, Jaques, Puck, Katherina, Shylock, Falstaff (from Henry IV), Henry V, and Richard III. Cameo appearances by the ghosts of Hamlet's father, Julius Caesar, and Banquo.


Other lovers of Shakespeare, please comment or add your own rankings!

Comments (1)

Brian Jennings said

at 9:18 pm on Jul 13, 2012

I have to admit, it's been several years, perhaps decades, since I've read the histories. From what I remember, if I had to make a list I'd probably move Richard III to the top of the ladder but this might simply be because it seems more like a tragedy. which might simply be a reflection of my bias for tragedy. Guess I need to add the histories to my reading list but I still haven't gotten around to Dante!

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