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Masterdramon writes...

Howdy Greg! Hope that you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving (though at the rate the queue's been filling up lately, you probably won't see this question until 2022, LOL).

I'd like to take a brief break from the flood of YJ questions (with a smattering of Gargoyles and Spidey) to poke your brain as a scholar of the Bard. I know you've stated in the past, most particularly in this post, that you find it impossible to select a single favorite Shakespeare play:


However, I'm curious if you happen to have a LEAST favorite play, or at least ones that excite your senses less than others.

For me, while my scholarship and experience is nowhere near as vast as yours (I've read most, but only seen a couple live...not a lot of Shakespeare festivals in Hawaii, unfortunately), if pressed I would have to say I have difficulty finding much value in TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA.

There's little in it that isn't done better in later, stronger comedies, and Proteus lacks the nuance or poeticism of his other villainous figures, even ones intentionally designed to be odious like Iago or cast as such for political (Macbeth) or cultural (Shylock) reasons.

(Made all the more baffling by the fact that he gets a suitably protagonist-y happy ending, with the woman he cheated on and tried to rape five minutes prior no less.)

Just curious if there's something you feel I'm missing, taking in this play solely from the page. While there are obviously some plays that get my mind whirring more than others, TWO GENTLEMAN is the only one I ever came away from outright disliking.

Well, interested in whatever thoughts you're willing to offer. All the best, Greg!

(YJ: Phantoms to kick ass every week, BTW!)

Greg responds...

Two Gentlemen is not a favorite. You'll notice on the above link I didn't mention it. I'm not a huge fan of Merchant of Venice or Taming of the Shrew, either, though I have seen at least one tremendous production of each, that made me see those plays in a new light. I suppose someday I might see a tremendous production of Two Gentlemen, as well. But I'm not holding my breath.

I'm not a big fan of All's Well That End's Well, although the last production I saw (which was just as problematic as every other production I saw) gave me an idea for what I think I could do with it - so I try to keep an open mind.

I've only seen Timon of Athens once. And it's not pleasant. And I've never seen King John, though I hope to fix that this October in Ashland, Oregon.

And even the plays of Shakespeare that I like the most are all far from perfect. I don't really look for perfection, anyway.

Response recorded on April 29, 2022