WHAT I LEARNED AS A COMPLETIST. After seeing Pericles, I have now seen all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays. Does being a completist make a difference? I think so. For one thing, the plays throw light on each other. Some scenes in Pericles reminded me of issues in The Winter’s Tale, in Measure for Measure, in The Tempest and even in A Comedy of Errors. A lady near us gasped at one point: “It’s Cordelia.”

Putting aside the sonnets and long poems, it is rare for any serious writer to complete 37 works, much less 37 masterpieces. Seeing how one man approached the huge variety in 37 plays illuminates the way that this genius understood life. Marjorie Garber quotes from a letter by John Keats: “Shakespeare led a life of Allegory; his works are the comments on it.”

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