Top 10 Shakespeare Plays

http://listverse.com/literature/top-10-greatest-shakespeare-plays/
Well, not really.  Whoever made the list apparently knows nothing about Shakespeare, leaving King Lear completely out of the list while including stuff like Taming of the Shrew.
I link it only because of the over 150 comments, most of them outraged, that follow 🙂

Update: You’ll probably be far more interested in this later post where Shakespeare Geek readers offered their own thoughts on the real Top 10 Shakespeare Plays.

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15 thoughts on “Top 10 Shakespeare Plays

  1. You don’t need to read past the first comment – interesting list based on me never having read (or seen?) any of the things listed!

    Mind you – there’s more to the Shrew than most people realise.

  2. Alan – to be fair, there are a bunch of Listverse regulars who will comment no matter what the list is about (I’m a regular myself) – the site does have a strong sense of community about it for many of us. Having said this…the Shakespeare list is not a particularly good one..on many levels; and, despite what the list author is saying (the author is not the owner of the site, BTW), there are a number of commenters who have also expressed differing views to those of the author – which is a part of the enjoyment that the site offers.

  3. Alan, I don’t think anyone would argue that the Shrew is a great play, but it does have its problems from the feminist perspective and the question is does it have what it takes to make the top ten?
    Shall we take up the challenge? It is not easy to limit oneself to 10, and the tragedies tend to squeeze out the rest. I don’t think any two lists should be the same, but I tink it would be interesting to see what is on everyone’s list, what is on nobody’s, and what gets the most votes for top 3.
    Here is my list:
    1. Othello
    2. Lear
    3. Macbeth
    4. Antony & Cleopatra
    5. Hamlet
    6. Julius Caesar
    7. Romeo & Juliet
    8. 1H4
    9. 2H4
    10. Much Ado
    I want to add more comedies and Henry V, but there is no more room.

  4. ahhhh! I’ve been sucked in! I now MUST post my own list! After spending the last twenty years completely immersed in his plays, I have definitely formed opinions about which are the “greatest.” In some cases it may just be because a bit of text within is so sublime that even grievous errors in the rest of the play can’t overshadow the perfection of a few lines. So, here’s my list:

    #1: Hamlet, wait, King Lear, no wait Hamlet..
    #2: King Lear, nahhh, Hamlet, on
    2nd thought King Lear….
    #3: Macbeth
    #4: The Tempest
    #5: Othello
    #6: Romeo & Juliet (ONLY bc of the balcony scene..)
    #7: A Midsummer Night’s Dream ( I know a bank…)
    #8: Twelfth Night
    #9: Richard the Third
    #10: The Winter’s Take (This story takes the cake for me…)

    BTW, did anyone else here see Frances West as Hermione at the Brattle in Cambridge all those years ago – 1989 I think? She was my mentor. I still miss her…

  5. I want to play!

    1. King Lear
    2. Richard III
    3. Hamlet
    4. Macbeth
    5. As You Like It
    6. Othello
    7. A Midsummer Night’s Dream
    8. Measure for Measure
    9. Julius Caesar
    10. Henry V
    11. Richard II
    12. Antony and Cleopatra
    13. King John
    14. 1H4
    15. The Merchant of Venice
    16. Twelfth Night
    17. Romeo and Juliet
    18. The Taming of the Shrew
    19. Cymbeline
    20. 2H4
    21. The Comedy of Errors
    22. 3H6
    23. The Winter’s Tale
    24. Much Ado About Nothing
    25. The Tempest
    26. Coriolanus
    
27. 1H6
    28. Troilus and Cressida
    
29. The Two Gentlemen of Verona

    30. Love’s Labour’s Lost

    31. Pericles

    
32. All’s Well that Ends Well

    33. 2H6
    34. Timon of Athens
    35. Henry the Eighth
    36. Titus Andronicus

    37. The Merry Wives of Windsor

  6. The following list takes into account also plays I delight in watching, not simply their literary merit.

    1. King Lear
    2. Hamlet
    3. Henry V
    4. R3
    5. Much Ado
    6. R&J
    7. Macbeth
    8. Othello
    9. 1H4
    10. Antony & Cleopatra

  7. Can I play, too? I’ll make a list that’s a little bit different. Dividing Shakespeare’s 38 widely-acknowedged plays into tragedies, comedies, histories, and tragicomic “romances,” here are my personal rankings for them all:

    Tragedies
    1. Hamlet (life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans)
    2. Macbeth
    3. Lear (we who are young will never see so much, or live so long)
    4. Othello
    5. Caesar (a trip to the land of Bad Options)
    6. Romeo & Juliet (we all destroy our own children)
    7. Coriolanus (geez, politics is a problem)
    8. Titus (blood will have blood, and then _that_ blood will have blood, and so on until we’re all dead)
    9. Antony & Cleopatra (okay, so I have no taste)
    10. Timon
    11. Troilus & Cressida (I think the Iliad does a perfectly good job of deflating its own heroes)

    Comedies
    1. As You Like It (I love you, Rosalind)
    2. 12th Night (You’re pretty excellent too, Viola)
    3. Merchant (I’ll never work you out, Shylock)
    4. Dream
    5. Much Ado
    6. Love’s Labour’s (a great feast of languages)
    7. All’s Well (hugely under-rated)
    8. Measure (similarities to All’s Well, but less satisfying for me because the Duke could end the game at any time by throwing back his hood)
    9. Errors (excellent farce, but ultimately shallow–no connection to any kind of reality)
    10. Windsor (slander on Falstaff’s name)
    11. Shrew
    12. Two Gents

    Histories:
    1. Henry V (straightforward on a first glance, but deeper and more ambiguous every time you see it)
    2. Henry IV, Part 1 (it would be a great play even without Falstaff)
    3. Richard III (great on its own, even better as the culmination of the tetralogy)
    4. Richard II
    5. Henry VI, Part 3 (You do _not_ want to mess with Queen Margaret.)
    6. Henry VI, Part 2
    7. Henry IV, Part 2 (yeah, it’s got Falstaff in it, but it’s a real low point in the narrative)
    8. John
    9. Henry VIII (as many good elements as there are, it’s an overlong muddle on the stage)
    10. Henry VI, Part 1 (how do they lose France while winning battle after battle?)

    Romances:
    1. The Winter’s Tale (pure magic)
    2. The Tempest
    3. Cymbeline (the original version of The Complete Works (Abridged))
    5. Two Noble Kinsmen
    6. Pericles (that reunion scene is wonderful, but, the play as a whole is kind of a rambling mess)

  8. Craig – You are not playing fair! The whole point is to have to choose among the different genres–that’s what makes it hard. I think you should do it over again and stick to 10. (I can forgive Bill because at least you can ignore everything in his list from 11 to 37).
    –Carl

  9. Well, because you asked, I think this is what my personal “top ten” would be:

    1. Hamlet
    2. Macbeth
    3. Henry V
    4. King Lear
    5. As You Like It
    6. Othello
    7. Julius Caesar
    8. The Winter’s Tale
    9. Twelfth Night
    10. Henry IV, Part 1

    I guess I should feel bad about ranking Lear so low, because it is absolutely magnificent. But that probably is roughly the order in terms of the plays the speak most to me.

  10. I like the taming of the shrew very much, the play is actually very feminist, as Kate’s final monolog is actually sarcastic, and I enjoyed it very much, the again I have played Petruchio. Here is my top 10, hope you like it

    10. Richard III (because of legnth)
    9. The Taming of the shrew
    8. Twelfth night
    7.Julius Caesar
    6. King Lear
    5. Macbeth
    4. THe mercahnt of Venice
    3. Hamlet
    2. Othello
    1. Romeo and Juliet

    Feel free to ask me any questions.

  11. I like the taming of the shrew very much, the play is actually very feminist, as Kate’s final monolog is actually sarcastic, and I enjoyed it very much, the again I have played Petruchio. Here is my top 10, hope you like it

    10. Richard III (because of legnth)
    9. The Taming of the shrew
    8. Twelfth night
    7.Julius Caesar
    6. King Lear
    5. Macbeth
    4. THe mercahnt of Venice
    3. Hamlet
    2. Othello
    1. Romeo and Juliet

    Feel free to ask me any questions.

  12. 1. The taming of the shrew
    2. 3h6
    3.1h4
    4.Midsummer nights dream
    5.2h4
    6. Othello
    7.Macbeth
    8.King lear
    9.Hamlet
    10. Romeo and juliet

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