Four Tragedies

By William Shakespeare; David Bevington (Editor); David Scott Kastan (Editor)
(Bantam Books, Mass Market Paperbound, 9780553212839, 760pp.)

Publication Date: January 1988

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Description

Hamlet
One of the most famous plays of all time, the compelling tragedy of the young prince of Denmark who must reconcile his longing for oblivion with his duty to avenge his father’s murder is one of Shakespeare’s greatest works. The ghost, Ophelia’s death and burial, the play within a play, and the breathtaking swordplay are just some of the elements that make Hamlet a masterpiece of the theater.

Othello

This great tragedy of unsurpassed intensity and emotion is played out against Renaissance splendor. The doomed marriage of Desdemona to the Moor Othello is the focus of a storm of tension, incited by the consummately evil villain Iago, that culminates in one of the most deeply moving scenes in theatrical history.

King Lear

Here is the famous and moving tragedy of a king who foolishly divides his kingdom between his two wicked daughters and estranges himself from the young daughter who loves him–a theatrical spectacle of outstanding proportions.

Macbeth

No dramatist has ever seen with more frightening clarity into the heart and mind of a murderer than has Shakespeare in this brilliant and bloody tragedy of evil. Taunted into asserting his “masculinity” by his ambitious wife, Macbeth chooses to embrace the Weird Sisters’ prophecy and kill his king–and thus, seals his own doom.

Each Edition Includes:
• Comprehensive explanatory notes
• Vivid introductions and the most up-to-date scholarship
• Clear, modernized spelling and punctuation, enabling contemporary readers to understand the Elizabethan English
• Completely updated, detailed bibliographies and performance histories
• An interpretive essay on film adaptations of the play, along with an extensive filmography




About the Author
Arguably the greatest English-language playwright, William Shakespeare was a seventeenth-century writer and dramatist, and is known as the Bard of Avon. Under the patronage of Queen Elizabeth I, he penned more than 30 plays, 154 sonnets, and numerous narrative poems and short verses. Equally accomplished in histories, tragedies, comedy, and romance, Shakespeare s most famous works include Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, The Taming of the Shrew, and As You Like It.

Like many of his contemporaries, including Christopher Marlowe, Shakespeare began his career on the stage, eventually rising to become part-owner of Lord Chamberlain s Men, a popular dramatic company of his day, and of the storied Globe Theatre in London.

Extremely popular in his lifetime, Shakespeare s works continue to resonate more than three hundred years after his death. His plays are performed more often than any other playwright s, have been translated into every major language in the world, and are studied widely by scholars and students.



David Bevington is Phyllis Fay Horton Professor in the Humanities at the University of Chicago.

David Scott Kastan is the George M. Bodman Professor of English at Yale University, USA.
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