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|July 1, 2003

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In 1603, James VI of Scotland ascended the English throne, becoming James I of England. London was alive with an interest in all things Scottish, and Shakespeare turned to Scottish history for material. He found a spectacle of violence and stories of traitors…
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|July 1, 2003

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Hamlet is Shakespeare’s most popular, and most puzzling, play. It follows the form of a “revenge tragedy,” in which the hero, Hamlet, seeks vengeance against his father’s murderer, his uncle Claudius, now the king of Denmark. Much of its…
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|January 1, 2004

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In Romeo and Juliet , Shakespeare creates a violent world, in which two young people fall in love. It is not simply that their families disapprove; the Montagues and the Capulets are engaged in a blood feud. In this death-filled setting, the movement from love at…
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|February 28, 2017

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'And when I shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars.' This collection of Shakespeare's soliloquies, including both old favourites and lesser-known pieces, shows him at his dazzling best. One of 46 new books in the bestselling Little Black Classics…
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|January 1, 2004

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Much Ado About Nothing includes two quite different stories of romantic love. Hero and Claudio fall in love almost at first sight, but an outsider, Don John, strikes out at their happiness. Beatrice and Benedick are kept apart by pride and mutual antagonism until…
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|January 1, 2004

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Shakespeare’s King Lear challenges us with the magnitude, intensity, and sheer duration of the pain that it represents. Its figures harden their hearts, engage in violence, or try to alleviate the suffering of others. Lear himself rages until his sanity…
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|January 1, 2004

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In Othello , Shakespeare creates powerful drama from a marriage between the exotic Moor Othello and the Venetian lady Desdemona that begins with elopement and mutual devotion and ends with jealous rage and death. Shakespeare builds many differences into his hero…
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|January 1, 2004

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In The Merchant of Venice , the path to marriage is hazardous. To win Portia, Bassanio must pass a test prescribed by her father’s will, choosing correctly among three caskets or chests. If he fails, he may never marry at all. Bassanio and Portia also face…
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|July 1, 2002

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The Signet Classics edition of Shakespeare's powerful tragedy of divided politics. One of the Bard’s final tragedies, this is the story of an Ancient Roman soldier whose political machinations and military might gain him heroic status, but ultimately lead…
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|April 1, 1998

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The Signet Classics edition of William Shakespeare's controversial comedy. Featuring the tumultuous relationship of Petruchio and the headstrong Katherina, this popular comedy goes beyond courtship to explore what happens after a determined man marries a woman…
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|January 1, 2004

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Love and marriage are the concerns of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew . Lucentio’s marriage to Bianca is prompted by his idealized love of an apparently ideal woman. Petruchio’s wooing of Katherine, however, is free of idealism. Petruchio…
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|January 4, 2005

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As part of the Signet Classics Shakespeare Series edited by Sylvan Barnet of Tufts University, this edition includes commentaries on both plays as well as up-to-date production histories.