TV isn’t bad. If not for TV, I wouldn’t have known the 1968 movie adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” which as a little girl I very much appreciated and never forgotten. Perhaps because it’s hard not to forget the passion and the rebellion that the two young lovers have shown just to be together amidst the turbulent war between their families. And of course, their unforgettable suicide that remained embedded in my memory. And this is the only story I know that Shakespeare wrote.
Though I attempted to read one of his works (Merchant of Venice), I easily lost interest because of its English that is hard for me to understand. Since Shakespeare lived more than a hundred years ago, his language was so difficult to grasp I fear that my brain could explode anytime.
Then came this book that my younger brother brought home just recently called the “Illustrated Tales from Shakespeare, A Modern Adaptation from the Charles and Mary Lamb Classic.” It contains the works of Shakespeare, his plays that are transformed into short stories for children (which includes me!) using an easy-to-understand English. And it was here that finally, I was able to read relaxingly and enjoyingly the story of “Merchant of Venice” which became one of my favorites.
Though there are endings that are tragic, I would like to give special mention to the story of “King Lear” which had a profound effect on me. Particularly when King Lear was betrayed and was thrown out of his kingdom by two of his daughters whom he thought were loyal to him because of their sweet words and promises. And the third daughter whom he accused of being unloving was actually the one who truly cared for him and helped him. I also like very much the story of Othello but this is also a story that bothered me.
Othello was a black man who fell in love with a white woman who later became his wife. And though he was a great general and one with a good soul, when it comes to matters of the heart he was weak. Because out of jealousy, he managed to kill his loving wife whom he thought was fooling around. But later on, he would discover that she was faithful to him all the time if only he did not listen to all the hearsay and succumb to his insecurities. And with his wife killed by his own hands, Othello also killed himself.
“Romeo and Juliet” remains an interesting story to know about even in written form. And again, despite its tragic ending, I believe that it is the most interesting love story ever written by Shakespeare. Here are the other titles:
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
As You Like It
All’s Well that End’s Well
The Taming of the Shrew
The Comedy of Errors
Measure for Measure
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark