top of page

Shakespeare For People Who Wish Shakespeare Was as Woke As They Are Now

By Julianna Reidell, who sincerely apologizes for continuously writing parodies that require the audience to have read at least one Shakespeare play to understand them. But really, they are just so fun to satirize:


HAMLET: … Frailty, thy name is woman!

*Enter HORATIO, most with-it white man in Denmark*

HORATIO: Hold on right there, Hater Ham. Did you just say something demeaning about women? Referring especially to your mom?

HAMLET: She married my uncle two months after my father d-

HORATIO: And who are you, exactly, to criticize your mother’s life choices?

HAMLET: … Well, I-

HORATIO: That’s right. She is her own person and is entitled to make her own, autonomous decisions about what makes her happy. If naughty-boy Claudius can give her some sort of satisfaction and marital bliss that dry-as-dirt King Hamlet couldn’t, who are you to judge? Or is that the real problem - that you think she doesn’t deserve to get what she wants, she should just go according to your wishes? I mean, heck, Ham - she put up with you moping around the castle for the last THREE DECADES. Doesn’t she deserve to live a little?

*HAMLET gapes*

HORATIO: Aw. You’re the cutest when you’re not nonstop soliloquizing.

*HORATIO approaches HAMLET and kisses him. OPHELIA enters*

OPHELIA: Whoa, cut it out with the PDA, my dudes! Or are you celebrating my great news?

HAMLET: What news?

OPHELIA: I’m getting me to a nunnery - meaning a convent, not a brothel, obviously. I’ve decided that all the relationships I have with men in my life are toxic, and so instead of continuing to be demeaned by my hopeless troglodyte of a father and bigot brother - OR this hopeless Dane Dude right here - I’m going to do good with a supportive group of equally devoted women!

HORATIO: Oh my GOSH, that is totally LIT, Ophelia! Group hug time!

Romeo and Juliet:

*Scene opens in Fair Verona, where BENVOLIO is staring sadly up at the giant gold statues of Romeo and Juliet. ROSALINE enters.*

ROSALINE: Hey… you’re Benvolio Montague, right?

BENVOLIO: Yeah. And you’re…

ROSALINE: I’m Rosaline Capulet. Ya know, Romeo’s first crush. Juliet’s cousin.


ROSALINE: I’m really sorry for your loss.

BENVOLIO: You too. Um - do you want to grab a cup of ye olde coffee?

ROSALINE: Yeah, that’d be cool.

*Flash forward to - ROSALINE and BENVOLIO, finishing their ye olde coffees*

ROSALINE: This was nice. Thank you.

BENVOLIO: Well, see you around, I guess?


BENVOLIO: Actually - could I call on you sometime?

ROSALINE (smiling): Sure.

*Flash forward to - one week later, at ROSALINE’s house*

BENVOLIO: Hi there! I’m not sure if you’ll remember me, but-

ROSALINE: Of course I remember you! Let’s go for a walk.

*Flash forward to - end of the walk*

ROSALINE: I had a really nice time.

BENVOLIO: I did too. Um - do you mind if I kiss you? I mean, it’s not forbidden for Montagues and Capulets to be together, anymore, and, um, I really like you-

ROSALINE: You may kiss me.

*BENVOLIO gives her a quick kiss*

BENVOLIO: See you later?

ROSALINE: See you later.

*Flash forward to - two years later. BENVOLIO and ROSALINE are on vacation in Venice.*

ROSALINE: Thanks for taking this trip with me. It’s given me a lot of time to think about our relationship.

*BENVOLIO gulps*

ROSALINE: We’ve been together for two years now, and over that time, I think I’ve really gotten to know both your good parts and bad. I feel like I have a deep understanding of who you are as a person, and wouldn’t rush into any hasty decisions simply for the thrill of it, unlike some people I could name. Not to mention that dating for this long has given our families more time to adjust to the idea of us being together. But, um-


*ROSALINE pulls out a ring*

ROSALINE: I’d like to marry you. Will you have me, Benvolio?

BENVOLIO: YES! I love you, Rosaline! I want to be in a steady relationship with you for the rest of my life!

*They kiss vigorously, nearly tipping their gondola *


For there was never a better case for taking it slow,

Than that of Rosaline and her Benvolio!


Lady Macbeth:

When you durst do it, then you were a man;

And to be more than what you were, you would

Be so much more the man!

Macbeth: Hey, wait a second. Are you trying to convince me to murder the king by mocking my masculinity?

Lady Macbeth: Um, yes?

Macbeth: Well, that is just the epitome of unfair! You should know that being held to toxic standards never helped anyone! I am perfectly content with who I am - and not wanting to kill my guests, liking my pink kilts, and occasionally crying doesn’t make me any less of a man!

Lady Macbeth: … Wow, you’re right. I guess I’ve been told how bad women are for so long that I developed a warped view of both masculinity and femininity and wanted to force you into an equally repressive gender role. Maybe we should go to marriage counseling.

Macbeth: And not murder the king?

Lady Macbeth: No, I’m still going to do that. But I’m going to do it as an empowered woman who takes pride in her wicked heart rather than an emotionally repressed pseudo-man. And if you don’t want to - well, that doesn’t make you a sissy, just a coward.

Macbeth: So close… and yet so far.

King Lear:

Regan: Sick, O sick!

Goneril: If not, I’ll ne’er trust med- you know what, screw that. Regan, I totally just poisoned you.

Regan: Excuse me?

Goneril: I, like all Shakespearean villains, happen to carry poison around on my person, and I poisoned you. I’ll admit it - I wanted to have Edmund for myself. What can I say? I like my bastard boys. But looking at you just now, I realized - well, sisters before misters, right? We were such an unstoppable team when we were driving Dad out of our houses and sending servants to kill him while he ran wild on the moors. We should never have let a man come between us like that, especially after all we’d done to defeat the literal patriarchy. It gives women everywhere a bad name.

Regan: You are so right. Thank you. I forgive you.

*Regan collapses and dies*

Goneril: No!

Albany: Maybe we should’ve taken a little less time with the monologue, hmm?

*NOTE: This piece was awarded a Silver Medal With Distinction by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.


bottom of page