I quickly finished the first of Shakespeare’s plays and it was very positive. I didn’t do any prep for reading Shakespeare other than to look up a chronology in which they were written. I’m very happy with the approach so far.
Initial impressions were that texts notes to explain archaic idioms and word meanings were helpful. I also found that about half of them were unnecessary for me, which was nice to know about my reading skills with older works. I was also surprised that Joan of Arc was a character in this play. And not just a character but as the story focuses on the English side of war, she was the primary antagonist, even more so than the French nobility.
The story of this play had a climax around a father and son conflict which was one of the only parts with rhyming verse. Essentially the father is a general and about to die because their army is surrounded. He tries to send his son away to escape and live, but basically the son refuses on grounds of the family name. It was really powerful and my favorite part of the play. Also, I initially wondered if Joan of Arc would play a part in the second or third plays, but she ends up being captured and executed in this one.
I’ve started Henry VI Part Two already and it looks like most of these plays will be very quick reads. I also like the division into acts and scenes which helps me pick up and read them as I have short bouts of time to do so. My next two plays after this one will be Richard III, and The Comedy of Errors.