Experts Discuss Shakespeare’s Greatest Plays

by Rachel Baker on May 5, 2014

For most, the thought of having to read and analyze Shakespeare causes cold sweats and anxiety attacks. Since its the end of the school year, and many mid term exams and papers in English Lit classes are due (and odds are, you haven’t actually read all of the Shakespeare you had assigned through the semester), I thought I’d post this great article about what the experts think are the greatest plays by Shakespeare.

For those of you in school: don’t forget to cite correctly…the link, not Old Musty Books.

William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday is upon us, and at The Millions we wanted to celebrate it in 21st century American style, by debating which of his 38 plays is the best. (Actually, we might have been even more of our time and place if we’d tried to denote his worst.) This exercise comes with the usual caveats about how every play is special and to each his own when it comes to art. But waffling didn’t serve Hamlet well and it’s no fun in this situation, either! We asked five Shakespeare experts to name their favorite play and defend it as the Bard’s best, and they certainly made good on that request. Below you’ll find five persuasively argued cases for five different plays. These contributions may not settle the matter once and for all (though I was happy to see a very strong case made for my personal favorite play), but you’ll certainly learn a lot from them and likely be inspired to dust off your Shakespeare reader or take out to theater next time a production of [insert name of best play here] comes to town. And, really, what better birthday present could we give ole William than that?

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