[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] The Inventor of Words, Writer of Tragedies, Master of Flattery – SHAKESPEARE

The man who gave us –

Hopeless lovers,
Stubborn shrews,
Witless men, and
Witches too.

YES! It’s BARD MONTH over here at THE WITHERING and you are all invited to celebrate it with me.

Shakespeare and I go way back because my love for him sprouted from a deep-rooted hatred!

I wasn’t all that little when my mum went to Penguin’s and got me a copy of King Lear – it was white, it was little, IT WAS DOWNRIGHT BORING. It seemed boring at least. I have been judging books by their cover since 2005 so, of course, I treated this little copy like a bad smell – avoiding it at all costs.


I was already reading classics and that’s where my mother got the inspiration to introduce me to the sneaky Bard. But this time she had miscalculated. I hadn’t read a single play up until that point and I was very prejudiced about them.

For some reason, I had developed a strong belief that reading a play wouldn’t get me the kind of satisfaction that comes from reading a novel. BUT BOY WAS I ABOUT TO BE PROVED WRONG!

Mumma started getting strict with me about reading King Lear, and I don’t respond that well to pressure. So I defied, WITH ALL OF MY MIGHT. In response, she took away EVERY SINGLE OF MY BOOKS – except, of course, that rather ugly copy of King Lear.

You see, apart from playing out with friends in the evening and arguing with my brother all day long, I didn’t have much else to do. Summer holidays had already started so no school either.

In short, I was stuck – between reading something I despised or increasing argument time with my brother.

Naturally, I chose the former. The first few pages were – TORTURE, for want of a better word. I hated it – the old man and his three daughters. I HATED THEM. I HATED THEIR GUTS, I HATED EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYTHING in that book. But that was about to change. As the play progressed, I found myself furrowing my eyebrows less and less.

How desperately had King Liar tried to be a FAMILY MAN and how pathetically had he failed!

It was a journey of mixed emotions – frustration prevailed, but so did anger (for his daughters), anticipation, hopelessness, and an unexpected burst of sadness when, in the end, King Lear dies of a broken heart.

Over the years, although I forgot the story a few scenes were still very clear in my memory like when Lear – stricken with the realization that none of his daughters want him – runs out of their house, wanders in the snowstorm – cold and all alone! I don’t know why but that scene – the way I pictured it back then – is still stuck in my mind and sends chills up my spine whenever I think of it.

My adoration for Shakespeare crept up on me stealthily and left me craving for more. I was genuinely surprised by how my views about his writing had changed – from aversion to love – all in a matter of a few pages.

I went on to read his sonnets, Taming of the Shrew, Julius Caesar, and THEN Romeo and Juliet. I was introduced to the rest when I started my Honors three years ago and honestly? It isn’t as much fun reading Shakespeare critically as it was back in school – because back then my ideas, my imagination wasn’t muddied by all those opinionated writers, analyzing his works to their hearts content.

BUT HEYYY! Hang on there, Rain! You are going to do the same as well so away with your bashing. *grins* Yep. That’s true! I will twist and turn his works and present them in a way that’s enjoyable to everyone – literary and non-literary folks alike. Sound good? Okay then.

Here’s to an awesome Bard Month and to start it off on a more collective note, why don’t you guys share your experiences with Shakespeare in the comments?
Your first sonnet? First play? Your favorite one?

41 thoughts on “[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] The Inventor of Words, Writer of Tragedies, Master of Flattery – SHAKESPEARE

  1. Ahhh Another BRILLIANT POST RAIN!!! 😊💜 My first Shakespeare play was Romeo and Juliet and we studied it in school EVERY SINGLE YEAR from year 7 to the end of Year 9 and I ended up HATING IT! 😂🤣 BUT I do enjoy Shakespeare’s Macbeth and my favourite has to be Much Ado About Nothing because it is hilarious! I also love a few sonnets of his that I studied as well! 💕😊💜🥰📚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Much Ado About Nothing is great!!! They don’t teach the comedies enough in school. Probably because the teacher would have to explain all of the dirty jokes 😆.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. AWWWW! Thank you SOOO much, Kat! You always leave such beautiful comments that I just…😭😭🥺 You are AWESOME!

      Oh yes, the tragic lovers! I…actually…I didn’t care about that play. Not until I watched Leonardo DiCaprio’s adaptation! 🤣🤣🤷🏻‍♀️

      And MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING – I remember I read it in 2015 and IT WAS AN AWESOME EXPERIENCE! 🤣🤣 I adored Shakespeare even more after that! 🤣🤣

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re VERY WELCOME, HUN! Awwwhhh SO ARE YOU!!! 😭🥰💕😊😍💜

        😂 Honestly, we had to watch the adaptation a few times! The play does get on my nerves now though!!😂

        AHHHH YES IT IS BRILLIANT! The David Tennant and Catherine Tate adaptation is FANTASTIC!! AHAHA SO FUNNY!! 😂💜🥰💕🤣

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ahhh yess! I saw the pics when I was making the aesthetic! But…I haven’t actually watched the adaptation yet! Definitely on my list now! 😍❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t appreciate or enjoy Shakespeare until college and then I couldn’t get enough. The emotions, the word play, the universality. I wrote some of my best papers on his works ❤️🙏❤️😻🙌

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    1. Hey! I wrote a few papers on his works as well! 😍😍 And I am sooo glad that you came to love him later, Tessa! Out of curiosity, what’s you favorite play by him? 🦋

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Henry IV part 1 and 2 – I felt sorry for Prince Hal – he was so misunderstood. I also liked Othello, Tempest (both have lots of cool elements) and As You Like It (can’t go wrong with a Shakespeare comedy)

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      2. I avoided his historical plays in high school. But when I watched Tom Hiddleston’s interview where he talked about his love for Henry IV, I rushed to read it! 🤣🤣 I will forever be thankful for him for convincing me! 🤣🤷🏻‍♀️

        AND OTHELLO – it was required reading for my second (or was it third?) semester and I JUST LOVED IT TOO MUCH! 😍😍❤️

        Liked by 1 person

    1. MACBETH!! SUCH A GREAT PLAYY! I am glad you love it as well! LOVE LOVE LOVEEE IT SOO MUCHHH!! 😍😍😍😍😍❤️❤️❤️


    1. I love Shakespeare… just don’t read Titus Andronicus. It’s Shakespeare–Game of Thrones style, complete with gang-rape, mutilation, and cannibalism. They don’t teach you that one in high school 😱

      Midsummer Night’s Dream or As You Like It are probably best for beginners in the comedies. For the tragedies, Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. I wouldn’t recommend a newbie start with any of the histories (although Richard III and Macbeth are the best).

      If you like the Elizabethans also check out Christopher Marlowe (esp. Dr. Faustus) and the works of Ben Jonson.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Reading Titus Andronicus was indeed a shocker! I read it in my second year and I just….well. 🤷🏻‍♀️

        Midsummer Night’s Dream is PURE LOVE! 😍 And Much Ado About Nothing tooo!! I love it so much!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hey RAIN do you like other classical theater? Have you read any of the Greek classics? Or the French guys (Moliere, Racine, etc?). I’m a real sucker for old plays. This is a great topic.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Well, it’s not a matter of liking, Rook. It’s just that I have never had the opportunity to get into more theatre, to be honest.

        But why don’t you suggest me a few? I am free these days – too free, if you ask me. 🤣 And I’d love to be a bit *more* productive by reading more plays! Because the only ones I read were either by Shakespeare or some required college reading (which I absolutely hated, by the way) 🤣🤣

        Soooo…suggestions? Maybe I’ll become a fan of them Greek classics too! 🤷🏻‍♀️😉

        Liked by 1 person

      4. They are pretty intense! Let’s see… I know the tragedies the best. Euripedes The Trojan Women is really good. Electra by Sophocles, The Oedipus Cycle (Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonnus, Antigone, in that order) Medea also by Euripedes is good, but it is disturbing.

        Anything by Aristophanes, but you’ll want an annotated version, because he makes a lot of political jokes that can be hard to follow if you don’t know the context. Also lots of dick jokes, but those are pretty easy to catch. (I was once in a production of Aristophanes’ The Birds in college actually, that’s a good one).

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I like the sound of Electra by Sophocles! 😍 How’s that one? I have heard about The Oedipus cycle too…but..I don’t know..back then, the name sort of intimidated me, you know! 🤷🏻‍♀️🤣

        You were?! That’s awesome! I have never heard of Aristophanes or any of his works. Would you recommend The Birds, then?

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yes! Aristophanes does really wacky comedies. They’re allegories for the politics of his time, but you can also just appreciate them as absurdism.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Okay then. I am going to read two of these – Electra and The Bird to begin my journey. And I am going to spam you with my thoughts on them AS SOON AS I AM DONE, I am telling you! 🤣

        Liked by 1 person

      8. I was also in Electra (it wasn’t the full play though, it was a short-scene competition in high school)… that one is super intense. Full of angst and murder!


      9. You read it in high school? Mine never even let us read Julius Caesar in full! 🤣🤣🤣 They trolled us with just a part of it in our textbooks. 🤣🤣

        Murder! I like murder. Electra it is then! 😍

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Hahah!! 🤣🤣🤣 No worries Kelly! But heyyy, why don’t you start with Macbeth or Much Ado About Nothing? THEY ARE TWO OF MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITESSS!! 😍😍LOVE THEM SO MUCHH!!

      And maybe try his sonnets? The first one I ever read was Sonnet 130 and then went on to read em all! I think you’ll enjoy them!

      Or maybe, wait till tomorrow and I’ll educate you with one of my posts that I am SOOO excited to share! 🤣🤣😉❤️🦋

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! Your mum taking all your books away except for King Lear seems quite harsh but I guess it worked?! I think my first encounter with Shakespeare was Romeo and Juliet at school, I didn’t dislike it as such but the meanings can be difficult. I have studied The Tempest and Hamlet twice (college and at university) and by coincidence or not, they are my favourite Shakespeares! I’ve been to the Globe twice, which was really amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🤣🤣🤣 Totally!

      Oh yes! It was a struggle for me too in the beginning! But damn, once you get to know your way around, there is JUST NO GOING BACKKK!! 😍

      Hamlet is AWESOME, no doubt about that! The Globe? Never been! ☹️☹️🥺

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Awwww this post is just heart warming. So!! When I read Shakespeare at school, I loved the teacher so I didn’t mind the experience at all. And I didn’t find the language all that beautiful because I was about thirteen, fourteen and it was prescribed Content. It’s like etched in your mind not to love it. HOWEVER. After that! Recently, I’ve started to be more appreciative of the language if not anything else because I’m seeing all these books I love quote him and I’m loving his humour and his declarations of love and his general other strangely poetical saying.
    Story time you didn’t ask for 🤣😍 Loved your post as always Rain. It’s so fitting your name. I read your posts and I feel the way I would when it rains. And I LOVE the Rain. I’m like an energiser bunny when it rains.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AWWWWW! I just…you made me tear up a little, Ahana! 🥺🥺😭😭 YOU ARE TOOOO SWEEET! Thank you so so soooo much for being so kind and awesomeee. ❤️❤️🦋

      Hahaha! I loveed the storyyy!! 😘 Reminds me of the good old school days! 😍❤️

      REALLY THOUGH?! 😭😭😍😍 That’s just….this comment is IT! THE BEST ONE EVER!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re a lot more wonderful than you think I am!! And kind and lovely. ♥️♥️♥️🥺🥺🥺 you’re also very welcome. Hahahahah right?

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  5. Hahahah it’s fun to hear about your mother’s strategies to get you into reading these and your own internal conflicts that pushed you into defying her, proving her wrong, and ultimately discovering something that sounds like something you never would’ve picked up alone! 😛 I personally never willingly picked up a Shakespeares story and know vaguely some stories that are universally popular and remember having read a couple of pieces before (Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?). Looking forward to everything you have to say for Bard month though. I know I’ll have to visit Shakespeare’s work in the future though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🤣🤣🤣 You are right there! I never would have picked up Shakespeare and loved his writing if it wasn’t for her relentless insistence! 🤣

      OH YESSS!! SHALL I COMPARE THEE TO A SUMMER’S DAY is just soo…SOOO CUTEE!! 😍😍 I love that one.

      Haha….I hope you’ll like the posts, Lashaan! 🦋😇 Thank you soo much for always commenting so thoughtfully. I love that. Thank youuuu! x


  6. I hated Shakespeare the first time I got to his play too — in my defense, the translation doesn’t carry the rhythm, the pentameter, the structure… I just started reading, decided it’s impossible to carry on like that, and didn’t pick the bard up until the university.

    Then I read Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet! Finally in original! It was hard to get used to the archaic language, especially since English is not my first language, but somehow the flow alone made the reading so much pleasant than the Polish version! I was in awe

    Right now though I think I prefer to watch Shakespeare. I loved Hamlet (1996) with all those fancy costumes even though it’s over 4 hours long! And recently I’ve seen A Midsummer Night’s Dream by The Globe on youtube! They have it on whole because of the COVID and I had so much fun!!

    ❤ ❤


  7. I think what got me into Shakespeare is other people being really enthusiastic about his work. When someone is enthusiastic about something I kind of get caught up in it. Before I knew it I was a fan! I took a class in college called ‘Shakespeare Without Tears’ and we covered the comedies and some of the histories, we even got to block out and act a few scenes. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awwww really?! ❤ 🙂 That's…*heart eyes* I love that you picked up his works having been inspired byt others' excitement! THAT'S THE BEST WAYY, NOT GONNA LIE! 😉
      And heeyyy!! That sounds like SUCH A FUN CLASS!! Can I use the ummm…''Shakespeare without Tears'' as a title maybe?! xD xD I don't know! *shrugs* xD

      Thank you soo much for your lovely comment, Lisa! They always make me smile. :)<3

      Liked by 1 person

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