Life Lessons from Cymbeline! Shakespeare on Facebook

During my long project (2 years, 9 months, 18 days) to read the complete works of William Shakespeare, comments about him and his works showed up on my Facebook wall.

I had a lot of fun reading Cymbeline in May of 2013.

Cymbeline is a dude?

Cymbeline is the king of Britain

My impressions of Iachimo:

Iachimo is a weird man

Three things I learned:

Three lessons from Cymbeline

The importance of birthmarks, etc.

The importance of birthmarks

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In Which I Critique! Shakespeare on Facebook

While reading the complete works of William Shakespeare, I made frequent comments about him and his works on Facebook, some of which I here reproduce.

In which I critique Cleopatra.

Facebook post about Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra

In which I mourn a death.

Facebook post about Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra

In which I express a foreboding.

Facebook post about Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra

In which I critique Antony.

Facebook post about Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra

In which I state a fact.

Facebook post about Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra

How Now, Mad Wag!

So, it took me 2 years, 9 months, and 18 days to read the complete works of William Shakespeare.

A little more than a year into my reading, my thoughts about Shakespeare started to show up on Facebook.

It was inevitable.

This was the first indication on my Facebook wall that I had Shakespeare on the brain.

"The Hokey Pokey" written in Shakespearean style

You all remember that catchy song from the musical Kiss Me, Kate, right?

Facebook post about brushing up your Shakespeare

There is no brown cow in Shakespeare, but there is a rat and a mad wag.

Facebook post quoting Shakespeare

After I finished reading the comedies, I looked ahead, and all I could see were Henrys ad infinitum. But it was all good because they were all good.

Facebook post about all the King Henrys in Shakespeare

In For the Long Haul: Part II

Read Part I (How It Began) if you desire.

How It Ended

It has taken two years, 9 months, and 18 days.

I have finished reading this book:

The Complete Works of Shakespeare

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.

It turns out that some of the comedies aren’t that funny, the histories (all those Henrys!) are a whole lot better than I thought they’d be (shout out to King Henry the IV and King Henry the V),  Julius Caesar was just as good as I’d remembered from tenth grade, the tragedies are tragic, and Hamlet is still perplexing.

I originally figured that it would take me three years to read The Complete Works, but I picked up momentum after I made it to Julius Caesar in the spring of 2013—and it was utter serendipity that I read it in March. “Beware the ides of March,” the soothsayer said (soothsaid?).

Conquering the long goal is satisfying. I’m learning to look, think, and plan farther into the future in my goal-setting.

Thanks, Will.

And, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be: for loan oft loses both itself and friend;” is good advice.

So yes, after three years, I will return The Complete Works to my sister, from whom I borrowed it.

In For the Long Haul: Part I

How It Began

I saw a thick, hardbound copy of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare sitting on a bookshelf at my sister’s house. She had found it at the local thrift store.

I picked it up and looked at it. The thought crossed my mind, “How awesome would it be to be a person who had read the complete works of Shakespeare?”

 I had experienced Romeo and Juliet in junior high school—I say “experienced” because not only did I study the play in English class, I was also surrounded by lovestruck, Romeo-quoting female classmates swooning over actor Leonardo DiCaprio as Romeo in the new film adaptation Romeo + Juliet.

I had also studied Hamlet, Julius CaesarA Midsummer Night’s Dream and some sonnets in high school and college. I had seen more than one performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as performances of As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew and All’s Well That Ends Well. And I had seen film adaptations of Twelfth Night and Much Ado About Nothing.

Altogether, a pretty scattershot reading, viewing, and screening of Shakespeare works.

So there I was, holding the book.

My sister kindly let me borrow The Complete Works. I took the book home and checked the table of contents. Then, I did a little math. If I read one play per month and then read all the poems, I would be finished with The Complete Works in three years.

Three years.

That’s a long time. And it was scary to think about being three whole years older and to think about where my life would be three years in the future.

But still.

I told myself, “The time is going to pass anyway.”

Would I rather have three years pass and have done it or have three years pass and not have done it?

I started reading in January of 2011.

Don’t be afraid. Set a long goal. The time is going to pass anyway.

Read Part II (How It Ended).