400 years since Shakespeare: Looking beyond Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet

  • Sneha Bengani, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 26, 2016 12:27 IST
William Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616, in Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom. (Facebook/William Shakespeare)

The man needs no introduction. His works have continued to charm, thrill and bewitch generations of readers over centuries. He is as relevant today, 400 years after his death, as he was in his own time.

However, William Shakespeare’s immense popularity gives us the illusion that we know him. But do we, beyond his popular tragedies?

To mark his 400th death anniversary, we bring to you five of his lesser-known plays that are no less brilliant, and hence totally worth your time.

Read: The Bard and language: How Shakespeare changed English forever

Antony and Cleopatra

Read it to understand the subtleties of a mature love that isn’t overwhelming or flamboyant. The historical drama depicts in an arresting, earnest way the struggles of a romance that can see beyond itself.

Merchant of Venice

Popularly touted as a problem play, this romantic comedy explores the grey area in human relationships and is best remembered for giving the world one of its most controversial literary characters in Shylock. You can love him or you can hate him but there is no way that you can ignore him.

King Lear

This disturbing tale of filial ingratitude is sure to sear your heart with its brilliant diction and poignant narration. A classic Shakespearean tragedy, it depicts how a man meets his doom through his own weaknesses and follies.

Read: How well do you know William Shakespeare? Find out with this quiz

The Taming of the Shrew

Denounced widely for being misogynistic and offensive, there is a lot more to the taming of wild Katherine than meets the eye. Do not let the comical subplot deceive you. Look beyond the disguised lovers trying to woo a lady.

Henry IV – Parts 1 and 2

The historical drama has given us Falstaff. Do we need to say more? Full of joie de vivre, Falstaff does not just mock the class system, he lives the joke. Read it for him, if nothing else.

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