Four Tragedies Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth

ISBN-10: 0553212834
ISBN-13: 9780553212839
Edition: 2005
List price: $7.99 Buy it from $2.89
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Description: HAMLET One of the most famous plays of all time, the compelling tragedy of the young prince of Denmark who must reconcile his longing for oblivion with his duty to avenge his father’s murder is one of Shakespeare’s greatest works. The ghost,  More...

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Book details

List price: $7.99
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 1/1/1988
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 976
Size: 4.25" wide x 7.00" long x 1.75" tall
Weight: 0.990
Language: English

HAMLET One of the most famous plays of all time, the compelling tragedy of the young prince of Denmark who must reconcile his longing for oblivion with his duty to avenge his father’s murder is one of Shakespeare’s greatest works. The ghost, Ophelia’s death and burial, the play within a play, and the breathtaking swordplay are just some of the elements that make Hamlet a masterpiece of the theater. OTHELLO This great tragedy of unsurpassed intensity and emotion is played out against Renaissance splendor. The doomed marriage of Desdemona to the Moor Othello is the focus of a storm of tension, incited by the consummately evil villain Iago, that culminates in one of the most deeply moving scenes in theatrical history. KING LEAR Here is the famous and moving tragedy of a king who foolishly divides his kingdom between his two wicked daughters and estranges himself from the young daughter who loves him–a theatrical spectacle of outstanding proportions. MACBETH No dramatist has ever seen with more frightening clarity into the heart and mind of a murderer than has Shakespeare in this brilliant and bloody tragedy of evil. Taunted into asserting his “masculinity” by his ambitious wife, Macbeth chooses to embrace the Weird Sisters’ prophecy and kill his king–and thus, seals his own doom. 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

William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616 Although there are many myths and mysteries surrounding William Shakespeare, a great deal is actually known about his life. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, son of John Shakespeare, a prosperous merchant and local politician and Mary Arden, who had the wealth to send their oldest son to Stratford Grammar School. At 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the 27-year-old daughter of a local farmer, and they had their first daughter six months later. He probably developed an interest in theatre by watching plays performed by traveling players in Stratford while still in his youth. Some time before 1592, he left his family to take up residence in London, where he began acting and writing plays and poetry. By 1594 Shakespeare had become a member and part owner of an acting company called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, where he soon became the company's principal playwright. His plays enjoyed great popularity and high critical acclaim in the newly built Globe Theatre. It was through his popularity that the troupe gained the attention of the new king, James I, who appointed them the King's Players in 1603. Before retiring to Stratford in 1613, after the Globe burned down, he wrote more than three dozen plays (that we are sure of) and more than 150 sonnets. He was celebrated by Ben Jonson, one of the leading playwrights of the day, as a writer who would be "not for an age, but for all time," a prediction that has proved to be true. Today, Shakespeare towers over all other English writers and has few rivals in any language. His genius and creativity continue to astound scholars, and his plays continue to delight audiences. Many have served as the basis for operas, ballets, musical compositions, and films. While Jonson and other writers labored over their plays, Shakespeare seems to have had the ability to turn out work of exceptionally high caliber at an amazing speed. At the height of his career, he wrote an average of two plays a year as well as dozens of poems, songs, and possibly even verses for tombstones and heraldic shields, all while he continued to act in the plays performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. This staggering output is even more impressive when one considers its variety. Except for the English history plays, he never wrote the same kind of play twice. He seems to have had a good deal of fun in trying his hand at every kind of play. Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all published on 1609, most of which were dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothsley, The Earl of Southhampton. He also wrote 13 comedies, 13 histories, 6 tragedies, and 4 tragecomedies. He died at Stratford-upon-Avon April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. His cause of death was unknown, but it is surmised that he knew he was dying.

HYAM PLUTZIK (1911-1962) was the Deane Professor of Rhetoric and Poetry at the University of Rochester. The author of six volumes of poetry, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1961. DAVID SCOTT KASTAN is the George M. Bodman Professor of English at Yale University and one of the most widely read of American literary scholars.

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