Originally Posted by Philzilla
Reading the plays is cool, though performance is the best way to experience the Bard
This. I majored in English and by far the toughest class I took was "Shakespeare and His Contemporaries". I love R&J
, but most of the rest of his works are an absolute chore to get through (don't get me started on King Lear).
I'd do as Nick
suggested and tackle the better film adaptations first, and then read the plays. Watching Brannagh's Henry V
, for example, made the text far more enjoyable to read as I could better imagine the setting (the Agincourt sequence is brilliant in the film) and gauge how faithful the film is to text. (As Nick noted the three adaptations of Hamlet are dramatically different in the "staging" of scenes and the depictions of the lead, but they're all drawn from the exact same source. That W.S. can be interpreted in so many different ways is quite beautiful.)