Saturday, February 1, 2014

Great Shakespeare Adaptations

What are the best adaptations of Shakespeare to fiction, film, poem, opera, or what you will? If you're reading this post, you'll have to settle for my largely arbitrary and probably temporary favorites. The usual thing in these lists is to pick the ten best. But my list is better, because I've chosen eleven. That's right, this goes to eleven. Look, read, watch, listen, and tell me what you think.

Best Greenish Painting Based on a Shakespeare Play: John Everett Millais' Ophelia, painted in 1852.

Justly famous, and often pictured in editions of the play, Millais' painting translates Gertrude's suspiciously detailed description of Ophelia's suicidal plunge and drift into an image as peaceful as the queen's speech. Ophelia captures Ophelia's haplessness and her helplessness, as well as Gertrude's dreamy beautification of the last moments before she drowns. Millais realized in a visual medium the queen's curious suggestion that self-slaughter can be pretty. The painting's hanging in the Tate.

In case you're sick of Hamlet, here's more Hamlet.