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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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Shakespeare may have written Julius Caesar as the first of his plays to be performed at the Globe, in 1599. For it, he turned to a key event in Roman history: Caesar’s death at the hands of friends and fellow politicians. Renaissance writers disagreed over…
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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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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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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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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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The Signet Classics edition of William Shakespeare's timeless story of star-crossed lovers. One of the Bard's most popular plays, Romeo and Juliet  is both the quintessential account of young love and the cautionary tale of the tragedy that can occur…

King Lear

by William Shakespeare

|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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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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Cymbeline tells the story of a British king, Cymbeline, and his three children, presented as though they are in a fairy tale. The secret marriage of Cymbeline’s daughter, Imogen, triggers much of the action, which includes villainous slander, homicidal…
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Readers and audiences have long greeted As You Like It with delight. Its characters are brilliant conversationalists, including the princesses Rosalind and Celia and their Fool, Touchstone. Soon after Rosalind and Orlando meet and fall in love, the princesses and…

Macbeth

by William Shakespeare

|January 1, 1988

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No dramatist has ever seen with more frightening clarity into the heart and mind of a murderer than has Shakespeare in this compelling tragedy of evil. Taunted into asserting his “masculinity” by his ambitious wife, Macbeth chooses to embrace the…