This survey of past and present controversies about Shakespearian drama asks about the question: Do the plays hold a mirror up to nature? If so, what is the nature of the "nature" reflected in plays as different as Hamlet and As You Like It?K Is the poet on the side of the angels or, infact, "of the devil's party" in a play like Richard III? Are Hamlet and Cleopatra more to be morally censured than pitied or admired? How seriously should we take the comedies? Rather than attempting to answer these questions, the author here explains why it is that the plays remain open tocritical debate. She concludes that Shakespearian drama provides us with the most artistic challenges to any one-sided account of the ways of the wold it reflects and for this reason, for students and teachers, and for actors and audiences alike, its impact is ultimately liberating.