Earlier this year, I paid a couple of bucks to download the entire works of William Shakespeare to my Kindle. While I have seen a number of the plays, I’ve never read through all of them and, now that I’m pushing 40, probably should. So I’m going to tackle it the way I tackle everything: start at the beginning and push through from sheer bloody-mindedness. And I’ll post the occasional update and thought.
I’m going to follow the order in the First Folio from his point on, but the first one I actually read was All’s Well That Ends Well, since the Kindle lists them in alphabetical order. This is one of the so-called “problem plays” since it’s one of his lesser works and of the two leads, one is an asshole and the other is kind of passive. Helena was particularly unpopular in the Victoria era, according to wikipedia, because of her “predatory” nature. So performances, which are rare, try to redeem the couple.
Personally, if I were to put the play on, the theme would be comeuppance. Betram is a fool and a rascal — someone spoiled by wealth, class and, most likely, good looks. He ends up married to a woman he despises who now has his title, his wealth and a much higher standing in the eyes of the King and his mother. I’d let that be the moral — that an arrogant asshole got what was coming to him.