Shakespeare Plays as Taylor Swift Songs

This is part of my Music Monday series on my blog, where I talk all things music, from recommending songs to discussing my favourite music videos to compiling playlists based on prompts.


I don’t think I’m lying when I say this is the most original idea I’ve ever had on my blog.

Yes, hi, hello. I’ve made it my mission to attempt to read all of Shakespeare’s works by the time I’m 25 (currently 20! 5 years left!), which means I’ve read a fair few of his plays the past 2 years.

I’m also a very big Taylor Swift fan. I put two and two together. Shakespeare Plays as Taylor Swift songs. Come fight me in the comments about this, please, I’m desperate.

Also, I’m a Lit student, so if I get weirdly deep in this, please ignore me. Or join in.


ROMEO AND JULIET

style

So my decision is a lot more to do with the idea of fate that I think is present in both the play and the song.

We learn from the get-go that Romeo and Juliet and, in tandem, most young characters in the play, are fated to die, and I think there’s a definite idea of fate in Style, too. The song generally feels quite foreboding, knowing that there’s such a divide in a relationship’s results, and I think there’s part of that in Romeo and Juliet’s relationship, too.

Also, by applying this song to the play, I think it gives Juliet more agency and takes away from the perceived fragility of her character.


Long drive, could end in burning flames or paradise


And I should just tell you to leave ’cause I
Know exactly where it leads but I
Watch it go round and round each time
And when we go crashing down, we come back every time


Takes me home, lights are off he’s taking off his coat (Hm yeah)
I say “I’ve heard that you’ve been out and about with some other girl, some other girl”
He says “What you’ve heard is true but I
Can’t stop thinking about you” and I
I said “I’ve been there too a few times”


JULIUS CAESAR

bad blood

When I told my best friend- whose favourite Shakespeare play is Julius Caesar- that I was picking Bad Blood for this post, she approved my decision with laughter. It just FITS.

Caesar makes me laugh, despite it being a tragedy, because of how convoluted the motivations of characters are. It takes about .2 seconds for Brutus to just go ‘sure’ and agree to kill Caesar, even though multiple characters comment on his allegiance to Caesar, and I really love that about it, and there’s something so… snappish about Bad Blood that fits with the conflicts.

I feel like a lot of Taylor Swift’s songs can be categorised into romance and i’m in danger, so all of her i’m in danger songs really fit this play.


I don’t hate you, but I hate to critique, overrate you
These beats of a dark heart, use basslines to replace you
Take time and erase you, love don’t hear no more
No, I don’t fear no more
Better yet, respect ain’t quite sincere no more


MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

gorgeous

Look. This was the first song to pop into my head after coming up with Bad Blood. Benedick and Beatrice have an amazing enemies to lovers relationship, and I think that’s implied a lot in this song.


You should take it as a compliment
That I got drunk and made fun of the way you talk
You should think about the consequence
Of your magnetic field being a little too strong


You should take it as a compliment
That I’m talking to everyone here but you (but you, but you)


A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

new romantics

I was between New Romantics and  22, until I ultimately went for New Romantics. There’s a wildness, a freedom, to the song that really reminds me of the characters in this play. It’s a massive power struggle with most conflicts arising because of love spells, and Puck in a modern setting would embody the chaos in this song.


Baby, we’re the new romantics
Come on, come along with me
Heart break is the national anthem
We sing it proudly
We are too busy dancing
So get knocked off our feet
Baby, we’re the new romantics
The best people in life are free


MACBETH

I went for two songs for this one! First and foremost is The Archer, which is my current favourite song to have come off the upcoming album. The song is about the contrast of self and how you can embody different traits at one point in time, which I think captures a lot of the characters in this. Macbeth is loyal, to his country but also to his wife and their future, and some things are impossible to escape.


I wake in the night, I pace like a ghost
The room is on fire, invisible smoke
And all of my heroes die all alone
Help me hold onto you


For Lady Macbeth and the three witches, Blank SpaceI am a BIG fan of Lady Macbeth and the amount of power she has in this play, and while, yes, she does descend into madness, I think that only makes her character- and reader/critic analyses of her character- more interesting. There’s a lot of approaches to her, some of them more misogynistic than others, and this song is all about misogyny and the destruction of public image.


I could show you incredible things
Magic, madness, heaven sin


Cherry lips, crystal skies
I could show you incredible things
Stolen kisses, pretty lies
You’re the king baby I’m your Queen
Find out what you want
Be that girl for a month
Wait the worst is yet to come, oh no
Screaming, crying, perfect storm


THE TEMPEST

fearless

Yes, I purposefully finished the last one on storm just to transition seamlessly into The Tempest. Sorry, this is literally the least serious of the post just for the storm references. I, guess, tonally, it has this young-love naivety to it that fits Miranda somewhat.


And I don’t know why but with you I’d dance in a storm in my best dress
Fearless


HAMLET

white horse

Don’t get me wrong, I love Hamlet, and I think his character is incredible. But Ophelia is clearly the best character in that play, and I’m still reeling over how broken she must have felt to be ignored and disregarded by pretty much everyone. She had noone by the end, and I want a retelling of her story one day that has her falling in love with a chamber maid and faking her death to run away before any of that drama happens.


That I’m not a princess, this ain’t a fairy tale
I’m not the one you’ll sweep off her feet,
Lead her up the stairwell


I’m gonna find someone someday who might actually treat me well


+ANOTHER, BONUS RENAISSANCE PLAY

WOMEN BEWARE WOMEN

I can’t explain it, but Should’ve Said No is a Bianca song. She’s very angry , and there’s something distinctly furious about the song that goes with her personality. I have a very unconventional approach to her character in this play- a lot of people see her as more innocent and confused, while I think she’s bitter, angry at men, and the ending of the play is a lot more purposeful in the way I read it.


But do you honestly expect me to believe
We could ever be the same
You say that the past is the past, you need one chance


I can’t resist, before you go, tell me this
Was it worth it


I Knew You Were Trouble is a very Bianca song too. I’m sorry I just have a lot of emotions over what Bianca suffers through, she deserves so much better than what she gets.


Once upon time
A few mistakes ago
I was in your sights
You got me alone


If you liked this post, consider buying me a coffee? Ko-Fi. 

I also currently have a GoFundMe set up to help fund my third year of University, so any stray pound helps ❤

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4 thoughts on “Shakespeare Plays as Taylor Swift Songs

    1. Thank you I honestly loved writing this post, I always assign songs to books I read so doing it for Shakespeare felt great! It would be basic of me to give in like that! Love Story is way too romantic to fit in with how tragic the ending really is

      Liked by 1 person

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