I’ve known William Shakespeare for quite a long time, of course I do not know him personally but I came to know about him through reading books and events about the Renaissance era. He had a total of thirty-seven plays divided into three categories which are: Comedy (happy ending), History (based on a historical figure) and Tragedy (sad ending), excluding his poetry and sonnets. I have read eight out of his seventeen Comedy works, one out of his ten History works and six out of his ten Tragedy works; in a total of sixteen over thirty-seven works. As of now I read the modern novel versions of All’s Well that Ends Well, Love’s Labours Lost, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, Merry Wives of Windsor, Measure for Measure, The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night’s dream, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Timon of Athens, Titus Andronicus and the only historical work I have read is RichardIII for some reasons influenced by the House of Tudor.
To say something is “best” of course, we need to have proof and comparisons to give our judgments. Though what is best and what is interesting is based on the perspective of the reader, at least the reader should have some basis.
Of all the works of Shakespeare, the best I’ve read so far is something with an equal proportion of reality and fantasy, something that a person of any age could appreciate but not all people would understand. It is a work with a right proportion of reality and fantasy mixed with mature and childish scenes. It has a simple plot about mythology and magic yet people with broad minds interpret simple scenes with a much deeper meaning.
This work of Shakespeare is my favorite, although I did not yet finish reading all his works, I can’t think of anything more perfect than this. This play is no other than A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s main setting is on a forest of Athens where the king of fairies, Oberon, got angry with his wife and asked his servant, Puck, to get a substance of the flower called “Love-in-Idleness”. The flower is the most important object of the story because this causes a conflict that connects the human characters and the fairies together. The flower also has a magical characteristic which opens to the magical and childish side of the story. When hit with Cupid’s arrow this flower transforms from white to purple and when a substance of this flower is placed into an eyelid of a sleeping person, the sleeping person will fall in love with the first living thing it sees. Yes, any living thing so this means a person could fall in love with an animal. Oberon ordered Puck to get this flower so he could punish his wife by shamming her to have an intimate act with a donkey, for not obeying his request. And this side shows the mature and deep side of the story because obviously it contains having an intimate act which is considered for adults. The funny and “fairytale” side of the story emerges when Puck mixed up the human characters who are involved in a “love triangle”. This comes to a cliche fairytale point where the two male characters challenge themselves into a duel in order to get a lady’s heart. Eventually things are resolved by Oberon himself and things went back as they used to be; hinting readers and viewers a happy ending which is a known characteristic of a Shakespearean Comedy.
This work of art is specially appreciated by me because unlike other works of Shakespeare, this one does not involve deaths and dramas with deep grudges and revenge. This is just “lite” but not shallow it is “elegant but simple” which is exactly my taste. The forest setting of this stage play is also well adapted until today and we commonly hear “Mid Summer Night’s Dream” themes in Promenades or Birthdays. I also observed that this play is the only Shakespearean work that could be portrayed by children- and adults at the same time. It would be awful to see children portray Romeo and Juliet or Titus Andronicus, right? So these work has the right formula for me and probably for everyone who appreciates William Shakespeare.