The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works - William Shakespeare, Gary Taylor, Stanley Wells . I've been watching the old BBC An Age of Kings. For those who don't know, this is an old BBC series of Shakespeare's history cycle from Richard II though to Richard III. It has a young Sean Connery as Hotspur and Tom Hardy as Henry V. Judi Dench is there as is Angela Baddley (Mrs. Bridges from Upstairs, Downstairs. It got me thinking about the timeless of Shakespeare.Why does everyone on the planet read Shakespeare? Why does the Bard's work appear on stage, in film, on television? Why does his work inspire other stories? Why can his work be placed in almost any context and still be good (okay, Julius Caesar set in Panama didn't work, but that was the smoky cap guns).Perhaps the answer to the above questions is that Stratford-Upon-Avon needed a good tourist draw. No, of course not. It is because Shakespeare is da bomb. There is something for everyone in Shakespeare. There is love in R&J or any of the comedies. There is murder in several plays. There is family relationships constantly being examined such as in Lear and Hamlet. There are thousands, if not millions, of dirty jokes. And don't forget the sonnet that is only about sex. Shakespeare was a beautiful poet who had a really perverted sense of humor sometimes. I half agree with one of my professors, Titus just might be Shakespeare's attempt at comedy, trying to mock the revenge tradition. It does, as the Reduced Shakespeare Company has shown, make a really good cooking show.I personally find the less well known plays to be the better ones. I love Tony and Cleo. I love Much Ado. Even King John has its high points It is in lesser known plays that the average reader can discover gems. It’s true that Hamlet and the other big plays are wonderful, brilliant, but the reader should also play attention to the others, the ones that haven’t been talked to death. Because it is in those, that in many ways, the reader can reach Shakespeare. If you know what I mean.It’s true that the Bard has had some misses. I don’t think anyone truly, really knows what he was doing with Trolius and Cressida, though I have a soft spot for that play. I read The Phoenix and the Turtle but can’t remember it very well. But Shakespeare is still da bomb.The important thing to remember about Shakespeare is that he wasn't meant to be read, but meant to be seen, to be heard. The plays work best when they come off the page, either though performance or simply reading aloud. It also helps to have a working knowledge of the Bible and mythology.