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Most popular at the top

  • King Learby William Shakespeare; Dr. Barbara A. Mowat; Paul Werstine

    Simon & Schuster 2015; US$ 5.99

    Shakespeare’s King Lear challenges us with the magnitude, intensity, and sheer duration of the pain that it represents. Its figures harden their hearts, engage in violence, or try to alleviate the suffering of others. Lear himself rages until his sanity cracks. What, then, keeps bringing us back to King Lear ? For all the force of its language,... more...

  • Macbethby William Shakespeare; Dr. Barbara A. Mowat; Paul Werstine

    Simon & Schuster 2014; US$ 5.99

    In 1603, James VI of Scotland ascended the English throne, becoming James I of England. London was alive with an interest in all things Scottish, and Shakespeare turned to Scottish history for material. He found a spectacle of violence and stories of traitors advised by witches and wizards, echoing James’s belief in a connection between treason and... more...

  • The Merchant of Veniceby William Shakespeare; Dr. Barbara A. Mowat; Paul Werstine

    Simon & Schuster 2014; US$ 5.99

    In The Merchant of Venice , the path to marriage is hazardous. To win Portia, Bassanio must pass a test prescribed by her father’s will, choosing correctly among three caskets or chests. If he fails, he may never marry at all. Bassanio and Portia also face a magnificent villain, the moneylender Shylock. In creating Shylock, Shakespeare seems to... more...

  • The Taming of the Shrewby William Shakespeare; Dr. Barbara A. Mowat; Paul Werstine

    Simon & Schuster 2014; US$ 5.99

    Love and marriage are the concerns of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew . Lucentio’s marriage to Bianca is prompted by his idealized love of an apparently ideal woman. Petruchio’s wooing of Katherine, however, is free of idealism. Petruchio takes money from Bianca’s suitors to woo her, since Katherine must marry before her sister by her father’s... more...

  • Julius Caesarby William Shakespeare; Dr. Barbara A. Mowat; Paul Werstine

    Simon & Schuster 2014; US$ 5.99

    Shakespeare may have written Julius Caesar as the first of his plays to be performed at the Globe, in 1599. For it, he turned to a key event in Roman history: Caesar’s death at the hands of friends and fellow politicians. Renaissance writers disagreed over the assassination, seeing Brutus, a leading conspirator, as either hero or villain. Shakespeare’s... more...

  • Henry VI Part 1by William Shakespeare; Dr. Barbara A. Mowat; Paul Werstine

    Simon & Schuster 2014; US$ 6.99

    Henry VI, Part 1 is an uncompromising celebration of early English nationalism that contrasts the English with the French, portrayed here as effeminate and scheming. A boy king, Henry VI, is on the English throne, and the indomitable Talbot leads the English cause in France. Joan La Pucelle (Joan of Arc), who becomes captain of the French, claims... more...

  • Richard IIIby William Shakespeare; Dr. Barbara A. Mowat; Paul Werstine

    Simon & Schuster 2014; US$ 9.95

    In Richard III , Shakespeare invites us on a moral holiday. The play draws us to identify with Richard and his fantasy of total control of self and domination of others. Not yet king at the start of the play, Richard presents himself as an enterprising villain as he successfully plans to dispose of his brother Clarence. Richard achieves similar success... more...

  • Measure for Measureby William Shakespeare; Dr. Barbara A. Mowat; Paul Werstine

    Simon & Schuster 2015; US$ 5.99

    Measure for Measure is among the most passionately discussed of Shakespeare’s plays. In it, a duke temporarily removes himself from governing his city-state, deputizing a member of his administration, Angelo, to enforce the laws more rigorously. Angelo chooses as his first victim Claudio, condemning him to death because he impregnated Juliet before... more...

  • Henry Vby William Shakespeare; Dr. Barbara A. Mowat; Paul Werstine

    Simon & Schuster 2015; US$ 5.99

    Henry V is Shakespeare’s most famous “war play”; it includes the storied English victory over the French at Agincourt. Some of it glorifies war, especially the choruses and Henry’s speeches urging his troops into battle. But we also hear bishops conniving for war to postpone a bill that would tax the church, and soldiers expecting to reap profits... more...

  • Titus Andronicusby William Shakespeare; Dr. Barbara A. Mowat; Paul Werstine

    Simon & Schuster 2015; US$ 6.99

    Titus Andronicus is the earliest tragedy and the earliest Roman play attributed to Shakespeare. Titus, a model Roman, has led twenty-one of his twenty-five sons to death in Rome’s wars; he stabs another son to death for what he views as disloyalty to Rome. Yet Rome has become “a wilderness of tigers.” After a death sentence is imposed on two of his... more...