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Shakespeare's Tragedies: A Very Short Introduction

Stanley Wells

April 2017

ISBN: 9780198785293

152 pages
Paperback
174x111mm

In Stock

Very Short Introductions

Price: £7.99

Shakespeare's tragedies contain an astonishing variety of suffering, from suicides and murders to dismemberments and grief. Stanley Wells considers how the bard's tragic plays drew on the literary and theatrical conventions of his time. Discussing the individual plays, he also explores why tragedy is regarded as a fit subject for entertainment.

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Description

Shakespeare's tragedies contain an astonishing variety of suffering, from suicides and murders to dismemberments and grief. Stanley Wells considers how the bard's tragic plays drew on the literary and theatrical conventions of his time. Discussing the individual plays, he also explores why tragedy is regarded as a fit subject for entertainment.

  • Analyses nine of Shakespeare's most famous tragedies, including Othello, Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, and Antony and Cleopatra
  • Considers Shakespeare's tragedies in the context of their own time, exploring the influence of contemporary literary and dramatic conventions, and also audience expectations
  • Discusses why grief, pain, misery, and suffering should be regarded as fit subjects for entertainment, and for presentation in playhouses to which people go to enjoy themselves

About the Author(s)

Stanley Wells, Honorary President of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Stanley Wells is Honorary President of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Professor Emeritus at the University of Birmingham, and the author of a number of books about Shakespeare, including Shakespeare, Sex, and Love (OUP, 2010), Shakespeare and Co (Penguin, 2007), and William Shakespeare: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2015). He is General Editor of the Oxford Shakespeare and Penguin Shakespeare and the co-editor of Shakespeare Beyond Doubt: Evidence, Argument, Controversy (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

Table of Contents

    Introduction
    1: Tragedy in Shakespeare's time
    2: Titus Andronicus
    3: Tragedies of English history
    4: Romeo and Juliet
    5: Julius Caesar
    6: Hamlet
    7: Othello
    8: Macbeth
    9: King Lear
    10: Timon of Athens
    11: Coriolanus
    12: Antony and Cleopatra
    13: Why do we enjoy tragedy?
    References
    Further Reading
    Index

Reviews

"... probably never - against the backdrop of so much literary, and other noise, today - has there ever been a greater need for short summaries of such works in an attempt to reach new audiences. So, from King Lear, to Antony and Cleopatra to Macbeth and Hamlet, et. al, the rudiments of all ten tragedies are condensed into just half a dozen pocket-sized pages each. Probably not for the connoiseur but much more likely for reluctant newbies still mystified by all the fuss." - Screentrade Magazine

"cover[s] an impressive amount of literary and historical ground, and convey[s] a suitably sizeable serving of Shakespeare knowledge." - Shakespeare Magazine