[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.


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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?
I WANNA KNOW EVERYTHING! So, let’s chat!