Let Us Assay Our Plot

Observe the following summaries in plain English of some of William Shakespeare’s most famous plays as described from the perspective of the main character:

Romeo and Juliet
I had a major crush on this girl but she doesn’t even seem to notice me. I snuck into a party to see if I could dance with her but I found this other girl who I fell in love with. The only problem is, there’s no way we can date. When I found out she loved me back, we decided to get married. Sounds like happily ever after, right? No such luck….

I can’t believe my luck. My dad died while I was away at school and my mom started dating my uncle. Then I got this weird message from my (dead) dad saying, “Revenge me!” So I’ve taken it upon myself to see what I can do. Only problem is, I kind of drove my girlfriend crazy, killed her dad (and some other people), and made my friends think I’m nuts, too. I just hope I can get my uncle once and for all!

The Taming of the Shrew
My little sister wants to get married but my dad won’t let her until I do (which I have absolutely no intention of doing!). Some guys who like my sister bribed this dweeb to date me. Like, really? There’s no way I’m falling for him. …Right?

The Tempest
I am really upset. My dad used some magic and made this big storm trash a ship. All of the poor people are now stranded on the island. The only good part is that one is this good-looking boy who likes me and asked me to marry him once we get back to his kingdom. My dad has been acting strange recently, toying with some weirdoes and a group of royalty. He keeps mumbling about revenge and talking to air. What’s his big plan?

Henry V
My dad just died and left me the kingdom. Some of my most trusted men started giving my secrets to the French. The king over there thinks I’m weak and asked me to back down. I’m not weak and want to prove it. So I packed up my army and set sail for the continent. We are outnumbered and outgunned but I hope the bravery of my men will prevail.

I was in line for a promotion but was pushed aside in favour of a new kid. Since I don’t like being ignored, I’ve decided to take revenge on the man who hurt me. I’ve planted the rumour that his wife is disloyal to him. I think he is going mad. Oh, this is too much fun!

We just won a big battle. I fought very well, if I say so myself. I was walking in the hills with my friend when we came along this group of really ugly women. They told me I would become king. It’s hard not to believe them when so much of what they said is true. I did become king, but I might have killed someone to get there. I feel really bad about it. What should I do?

King Lear
I am getting old and want to divide my kingdom between my three daughters. I asked them how much they loved me. Two flattered me and they got a good portion of my kingdom. My youngest daughter, however, told me that she loved me “according to her bond”. I became angry and exiled her. I was wrong about my two eldest daughters, though, and they kicked me out of my castle. I am now wandering in the wilderness with a few loyal subjects, slowly losing my mind.

Comedy of Errors
I just arrived in town with my servant. The people are acting really strangely, calling both me and my servant by name, when I don’t know any of them! There is this forceful woman who says she is my wife. But I think I’ve fallen in love with her sister. What is going on?

Twelfth Night
I was just in this huge shipwreck. Since I’m a girl, I didn’t think I’d be able to get a job. I decided to dress as a boy to get a job with the local official whom I have fallen deeply in love with. He asked me to woo this rich woman for him. Just one problem: I think she’s in love with me.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
I am in love with one boy, but my dad wants me to marry another. He took his problem to the local official who told me I could either marry my father’s choice or become a nun. Neither option seemed enticing so I ran away with my boyfriend. Before we left, I told my best friend. She went behind my back and told the other boy about it. He came after my boyfriend and me. My best friend has a crush on him but he doesn’t like her back; she followed him. The four of us got caught in the forest and some strange things happen…

Much Ado About Nothing
The prince and his soldiers just arrived back from war. They are staying at my dad’s house, which is okay with me because I like one of the soldiers a lot. He asked me to marry him. My dad, fiancé, the prince, and I decided to make my cousin and her nemesis fall in love so we can have a double wedding. The prince’s brother, though, is determined to make our lives miserable. Will he succeed?

I married behind my father’s back and when he found out he got really angry. He banished my husband and locked me in my room. He wants me to marry my stepbrother. No thank you very much! My husband’s servant received a letter from his master, telling him to kill me. He told me and helped me run away. I dressed as a boy and hid in the mountains with this nice family. A war started and I found my way back to my father. He doesn’t recognize me and I’m not sure I want to tell him. Oh, wait, is that my husband?!

Richard III
I was very jealous of my brother, the king. I wanted his throne. I arranged for my other brother to die and then the king died. His sons were in line for the throne, but it’s a piece of cake to kill them, too. Now I am king but my few allies are leaving. An upstart is building an army to attack me. I am not losing this throne! I would rather die…

As You Like It
First my uncle banished my father from the kingdom, and now he has banished me. My cousin and I had to leave for the forest. I dressed as a boy so we wouldn’t raise suspicion. My crush walked in on us but didn’t recognize me. He kept talking about loving this woman (me!). I agreed to help him learn how to woo her. He really does love me…

1 thought on “Let Us Assay Our Plot

  1. How INCREDIBLY clever! The only flaw would seem to be that in “Othello,” it appears to be Iago telling the story.

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