Murder, Abandonment, More Deaths and A Happy End- How Shakespeare Surprised Me

Lately I have been really spending a lot of time with my Shakespeare. Ever since I read and actually understood my first Shakespeare tragedy (which was Othello), I was in love.
But who could resist this beautiful language, the thrilling plot and the way how we can feel and understand every single step his characters take?
But this is not supposed to be an Ode to Shakespeare. I mean he was a genius and everyone knows it ( and I am not a fan of the theory that he didn’t write all of this).
This article is about Shakespeare surprised me.

I really started appreciating Shakespeare after reading Othello.
A couple of years before I read Othello I had tried to read Romeo & Juliet in English but not only was I too young to have a high enough level of English but also I never really liked Juliet. I don’t even think I finished it the first time.
But I was always looking forward to reading Shakespeare in school and having someone who could help me to understand and see all the details of Shakespeares’ work.

So now I had to get into this Shakespeare stuff again and I was reading a couple of his works again ( mostly the tragedies).
Actually only his tragedies.
I started to get ready for this by watching some youtube summaries.
And I was shocked. All that happens is murder and death and even more murder and grief and such a mess that you don’t even want to punch the characters but really ask yourself what you would have done and don’t find a better solution.
The one second that you don’t pay attention and another character has made his way to hell or heaven. It’s just crazy. That’s when I realized how much Shakespeare actually escalated.
When you read it, it makes perfect sense and it feels like there is a lot of time between different events- but when you summarize it all and put it all together it’s just one big party for crazy murdering people.
( It’s  still amazing!)

Take Hamlet. Literally everyone in there is mad and also dead in the end. And the only one who seems to have his shit together ( sorry for the expression) is the one who plans to kill everyone.
Hello? Claudius might seem normal but all he does is wandering around to find accomplices for his intrigues .
The only one who survives actually wanted to commit suicide too and only survives because they needed someone to tell the tragedy and to say some sweet words to Hamlet while he is dying.

But then I read The Winter’s tale.
Of course there was murder and abandonment and jealousy too ( I mean that’s one of the main reasons why I love to read this and why it is so entertaining) but then all of a sudden there is a happy end.
I caught myself waiting for another tragedy that causes them all to kill themselves or stab each other but it was just over. Everyone was happy. JUST   LIKE   THAT.
I couldn’t believe it.
Also there wasn’t one truly evil character.
They were all just victims of their feelings but not caused by any intrigue and greed but by being nice and loving each other.
Not even the shepherd couple had to die.
This was too much for me.
But it was a good surprise. When even our beloved,super tragic but also insanely realistic ( in some way) William Shakespeare can find a way to give everyone a happy ending, then we can too.
Because all he does is describing humans and their human range and mess of emotions           (leave the magic and the ghosts for now please!:D). And that’s what we are. Human.
So yaaaay, we aren’t all lost and damned!

Here’s a little “The Winter’s Tale” vs. “Hamlet” for you. So you see the huge difference!

Love and peace in The Winter’s Tale…


Ellis, Edwin John, 1848-1916; Miss Mary Anderson and W. Fuller Mellish in 'The Winter's Tale'
Ellis, Edwin John; Miss Mary Anderson and W. Fuller Mellish in ‘The Winter’s Tale’; University of Reading Art Collection;


And murder, death and corpses in Hamlet…



That’s it for now!
If you have any thoughts on this article  please share them with me!


2 thoughts on “Murder, Abandonment, More Deaths and A Happy End- How Shakespeare Surprised Me

  1. In which way does Ophelia is mad?
    She is just a victim of the events, because she lose her dad and her lover. For her, there is no reason to live anymore, so she becomes crazy and finally die.

    Sorry about any faults (if there are some) guys, i’m not as that good in english.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello there!Sorry it took me so long to answer your question.
    I ment “mad” in the sense of “mad hatter” or crazy and not in the sense of being mad at someone. And as you said she is crazy at the end. Not only her decision to commit suicide but also her way of justice ( through the bouquets and the chosen flowers). I believe that all of them are victims of the events and none of this could have been prevented,but still they all lose their mind or at least the control in some way.
    What makes them crazy, jealousy, greed, grief or whatever else is another.
    Also I believe that suicide is a long-term solution for temporary problem and sure my lover killing my father who turns out to be a murderer drives one slightly crazy.But mad is still mad. Ophelia was from the beginning of the tragedy only someone to obey someone else’s order, so yes indeed, she might be victim number one in this whole thing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s