How subject to interpretation is Shakespeare? The valid options his plays afford can seem infinite; yet in fact they are not. This book seeks to come fully to terms with Shakespeare's openness to interpretation while respecting the primacy of his creative presence. It sees Shakespeare the
theatre-poet as making theatre not only by outlining an imaginary world but by providing guidelines for its enactment and reception, implying in each of his plays a distinctive rapport between the playwright, the players, and the playgoers. These guidelines may be discerned through a study of the
range and limits of the options that a given text affords. The book studies a variety of plays in this way, especially Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth. By doing so it seeks to provide an aesthetic for Shakespeare's theatre-poetry, one that includes the author along with the actors and the
audience in the event that occurs when a play is performed.