Friday Book Recommendation – Shakespeare Comedies

by jeanineoloughlin

Today I’ve got four books for you in a package deal! If you’re a fan of Shakespeare or interested in reading some of his work I would recommend these as a starter set.


A common theme you’ll find among Shakespearean comedies is that of mistaken identity and love. These four play off these themes and tropes in different ways and are all enjoyable. My summaries below are quite simplified to avoid spoilers and allow for the full enjoyment of the plays.

As You Like It – A young woman is cast out of court because of actions of her father. With her cousin she dresses as a man to avoid some rough characters on the road as she strives to find a new home. Along the way she discovers a man she had fallen in love with and puts him through a number of trials to prove his love.

Twelfth Night – A young woman and her twin brother were traveling across the sea when their ship was caught in a horrific storm. Washing up on the shore alone she dresses as a man and becomes the servant of a local lord. Through her service to the lord she inadvertently catches the eye of a local lady and now she must find a way to untangle this mess.

Midsummer Night’s Dream – Four youths who are involved in a love triangle (square?) travel into the woods one night while the fairy queen and king are having quite the quarrel. In order to right the love knot amongst the youths the fairy king enlists the help of Puck to entrap them the young men in love potions. However these potions are misplaced and Puck must try to straighten the lovers out before the night is over.

Much Ado About Nothing – Beatrice and Benedict are amongst the most witty and biting of Shakespeare’s characters. These two are both set against marriage and true love, but when the pending marriage of two of their closest friends is put into jeopardy the two must work together to patch up the situation and find themselves bonding over the experience.

As these plays are meant to be seen and not just read I would highly recommend checking out your local area for Shakespeare in the Park or other such events. If none are available there are some movies which I’ve found acceptable:

As You Like It:

Midsummer Night’s Dream:

Much Ado About Nothing: