England is forced into war when the French challenge the legitimacy of Johns claim to the throne and are determined to install his nephew Arthur in his place. Political principles, hypocritically flaunted, are soon forgotten as the French and English kings form an alliance based on cynical self-interest. And as the …Read More »
In the Duke's absence from Vienna, his strict deputy Angelo revives an ancient law forbidding sex outside marriage. The young Claudio, whose fiancée is pregnant, is condemned to death by the law. His sister Isabella, soon to become a nun, pleads with Lord Angelo for her brother's life. But her purity so excites Ange…Read More »
An account of the brutal and bloody rise of King Richard III to the throne, Shakespeare’s play depicts the short-lived monarch’s ruthless campaign for power, which resulted in the deaths of two of his brothers. Disfigured, hunchbacked, and cruel, King Richard’s unpopularity with the nobility crippled his reign, resu…Read More »
Shakespeare's only thoroughly English comedy, created an archetypal literary figure in the shape of the devious, irrepressible John Falstaff. This edition celebrates the play as a joyous exploration of language, but also places elements of its plot firmly in a continental, specifically Italian, tradition of romantic…Read More »
In this striking tragedy of political conflict, Shakespeare turns to the ancient Roman world and to the famous assassination of Julius Caesar by his republican opponents. The play is one of tumultuous rivalry, of prophetic warnings—'Beware the ides of March'—and of moving public oratory—'_Friends, Romans, countrym…Read More »
Sir Patient Fancy, a hypochondriacal old alderman, has taken a second wife, Lucia, a young and beautiful woman who, although feigning great affection and the strictest conjugal fidelity, intrigues with a gallant, Charles Wittmore, the only obstacle to their having long since married being mutual poverty. However, th…Read More »
Desperate for a son and heir, King Henry VIII risks both his realm and his immortal soul when he divorces Katherine of Aragon in favour of Anne “Bullen.” The last of Shakespeare’s histories, Henry VIII remains famous for more than just its subject matter—a mishap during the performance of the play resulted in the or…Read More »
It is the seventh year of the Trojan War. The Greek army is camped outside Troy and Achilles - their military hero - refuses to fight. Inside the city Troilus, the Trojan King's son, falls in love with Cressida, whose father has defected to the Greek camp. In an exchange of prisoners the couple are split - they beli…Read More »
Hilarious fun, this early comedy is filled with the merry violence of slapstick and farce. When two sets of twins, separated and apparently lost to each other, all end up in the rowdy, rollicking city of Ephesus, the stage is set for mix-ups, mayhem, and mistaken identity–plus the timeless puns, jokes, gags, and su…Read More »
The King of Britain, enraged by his daughter's disobedience in marrying against his wishes, banishes his new son-in-law. Having fled to Rome, the exiled husband makes a foolish wager with a villain he encounters there - gambling on the fidelity of his abandoned wife. Combining courtly menace and horror, comedy and m…Read More »
Don Carlos, Governor of Cadiz, has been contracted to Julia, currently married to the rich old Francisco, and in order to gain her, mans a captured Turk galley; and whilst she and her husband are taking a pleasure trip in a yacht, are boarded and made prisoners by the supposed corsairs, who carry them off to a count…Read More »
Prospero, sorcerer and rightful Duke of Milan, along with his daughter Miranda, has lived on an island for many years since his position was usurped by his brother Antonio. Then, as Antonio's ship passes near the island one day, Prospero conjures up a terrible storm…
A short and juicy play that encapsulates man…Read More »
Helena, a ward of the Countess of Rousillion, falls in love with the Countess's son, Bertram. Daughter of a famous doctor, and a skilled physician in her own right, Helena cures the King of France—who feared he was dying—and he grants her Bertram's hand as a reward. Bertram, however, offended by the inequality of th…Read More »
Two friends, Valentino and Proteus, move temporarily from Verona to Milan for their studies and their development towards adulthood. Valentino has barely arrived in Milan as he falls in love with Silvia, the daughter of the local duke. Proteus dwells still in Verona, where he has sworn eternal fidelity to his belove…Read More »
Love's Labour's Lost is one of William Shakespeare's early comedies, believed to have been written in the mid-1590s for a performance at the Inns of Court before Queen Elizabeth. It follows the King of Navarre and his three companions as they attempt to foreswear the company of women for three years of study and fas…Read More »
Richard II is one of Shakespeare’s finest works: lucid, eloquent, and boldly structured. It can be seen as a tragedy, or a historical play, or a political drama, or as one part of a vast dramatic cycle which helped to generate England’s national identity. Today, to some of us, Richard II may appear conservative; but…Read More »
Renowned as Shakespeare's most boisterous comedy, The Taming of the Shrew is the tale of two young men, the hopeful Lucentio and the worldly Petruchio, and the two sisters they meet in Padua. Lucentio falls in love with Bianca, the apparently ideal younger daughter of the wealthy Baptista Minola. But before they can…Read More »
A magnificent drama of love and war, this riveting tragedy presents one of Shakespeare's greatest female characters–the seductive, cunning Egyptian queen Cleopatra. The Roman leader Mark Antony, a virtual prisoner of his passion for her, is a man torn between pleasure and virtue, between sensual indolence and duty …Read More »
Displaying the bold vision and growing skill of a young playwright, these are Shakespeare’s first three history plays, covering some sixty tumultuous years of English history. Their pageantry, violence, and stirring speeches excite audiences with action as well as character, and midway through the final play in this…Read More »
The Merchant of Venice is one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies, but it remains deeply controversial. The text may seem anti-Semitic; yet repeatedly, in performance, it has revealed a contrasting nature. Shylock, though vanquished in the law-court, often triumphs in the theatre. In his intensity he can dominate…Read More »
Henry V is the most famous and influential of Shakespeare's history plays. Its powerful patriotic rhetoric has resounded down the ages, gaining eloquent expression in Laurence Olivier's renowned film. Henry himself, astute and charismatic, who led his 'band of brothers' to victory in the Battle of Agincourt, could i…Read More »
King Lear, one of Shakespeare's darkest and most savage plays, tells the story of the foolish and Job-like Lear, who divides his kingdom, as he does his affections, according to vanity and whim. Lear’s failure as a father engulfs himself and his world in turmoil and tragedy.
Being an account from Lycidus to Lysander, of his voyage from the Island of Love: from the French / by the same author of The voyage to the Isle of Love.
An embittered Roman General returns from war, having captured the Queen of the Goths and her three sons. Sacrificing the eldest, in memory of his own sons killed in battle, he provokes the queen's unending hatred.
Sil. Why–I would have thee do–I know not what– Still to be with me–yet that will not satisfie; To let me–look upon thee–still that's not enough. I dare not say to kiss thee, and imbrace thee; That were to make me wish–I dare not tell thee what.
Perhaps the most popular from all of Shakespeare's comedies, humorously celebrates the vagaries of love. The approaching wedding festivities of Theseus, Duke of Athens, and his bride-to-be, Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, are delightfully crisscrossed with in-again, off-again romances of two young pairs of Athenian…Read More »
A wealthy citizen of ancient Greece, Timon delights in entertaining his friends and lavishing them with extravagant gifts. His largesse ultimately exceeds his means, and when creditors begin to press him for repayment, the open-handed host is devastated to discover that the guests — who gladly accepted everything he…Read More »
Materially founded upon George Wilkins' popular play, The Miseries of Enforced Marriage. Sir Timothy himself is moulded to some extent upon Sir Francis Ilford, but, as Geneste aptly remarks, he may be considered a new character. In the older drama, Clare, the original of Celinda, dies tragically of a broken heart….Read More »
The action is set in Sicily, where Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon, has recently defeated his half-brother, the bastard Don John, in a military engagement. Apparently reconciled, they return to the capital, Messina, as guests of the Governor, Leonato. There Count Claudio, a young nobleman serving in Don Pedro's army, fa…Read More »
Set in Florence, and preoccupied with the collision of rampant sexuality and women’s virtue, Behn's second play parodies the aristocratic attitudes of Charles II's court, comically exploring the effects of depravity and decadence in the highest echelons of society. The main plot concerns Prince Fredrick's erotic pur…Read More »