Monday, 1 March 2010

We few, we happy few ......

So, I'm writing my Shakespeare essay at the moment. I'm a huge fan of the old chap's tragedies, but his comedies tend to pass me by - there's not much funny about them anymore. Nevertheless, I'm writing on Measure for Measure (arguing whether it is in fact a comedy at all).

The question I originally wanted to do was on Othello, but the due date for the assignment is before our actual seminar on the play so I'd be relying purely on my A Level notes. That'd be like fighting Bruce Lee just after learning how to make a fist - not advised!

Then I thought about writing on Henry V - another favourite. But the question for that seems to heavily rely on extensive knowledge of Henry himself - we are asked to contrast Shakespeare's representation of the king with the historical figure. So since all I know about Henry V is that he was a badass fighter, I thought better of it.

So now my essay is on Measure for Measure. Nevertheless, Henry V remains one of my favourite works of fiction! And it contains what is - in my humble opinion - the finest speech every written - the Saint Crispin's Day speech. If you've never come across it before, take a look at the 1989 version directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also stars in the title role:

Nice huh?

So what's your favourite speech of all time? In prose, drama, film etc? What's your favourite Shakespeare play (if you're a fan)? My top 10 are:

Henry V
Romeo & Juliet
Titus Andronicus
Julius Caesar
Anthony and Cleopatra
The Taming of the Shrew

What say you?


Jez Freedman said...

omg omg omg why no King Lear???

Best speech ever - hmmm, maybe Sam Jackson's moment of clarity in Pulp Fiction

Neil said...

Never been much of a fan of Lear. However, I'm studying it this week at uni so you never know - a new reading might make me fall in love with it....

Do love Jackson's speech in Pulp Fiction - awesome!