A king foolishly divides his kingdom between his scheming two oldest daughters and estranges himself from the daughter who loves him. So begins this profoundly moving and disturbing tragedy that, perhaps more than any other work in literature, challenges the notion of a coherent and just universe. The king and others pay dearly for their shortcomings–as madness, murder, and the anguish of insight and forgiveness that arrive too late combine to make this an all-embracing tragedy of evil and suffering.
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 the Phyllis Fay Horton Distinguished Service Professor in the Humanities at the University of Chicago.
David Scott Kastan is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He is a specialist on Shakespeare and early modern culture. His most recent book is Shakespeare After Theory (1999) and his other publications include Shakespeare and the Shapes of Time (1981), Staging the Renaissance (1991, edited with Peter Stallybrass), Critical Essays on Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' (1995), The New History of Early English Drama (1997, edited with John Cox, and winner of the 1998 ATHE award for the best book on theatre history), and A Companion to Shakespeare (1999).