This book is a study of four of Shakespeare's major tragedies - "Hamlet", "Othello", "King Lear" and "Macbeth". It looks at these plays in a variety of contexts - both in isolation and in relation to each other and to the cultural, ideological, social and political contexts which produced them.
List of illustrations. Acknowledgements. Foreword. Introduction. Part One: Shakespeare's England
1. Religious and philosophical developments. 2. Government and authority. 3. Elizabethan and Jacobean society
4. `Words, words, words': Shakespeare's English. 5. Plays into print. Part Two: Shakespeare and the theatre of his time. 6. Elizabethan and Jacobean tragedy. 7. Shakespeare's theatre 8. Plays and audiences Part Three: Critical Analysis 9. Hamlet. 10. Othello. 11. King Lear. 12. Macbeth. Postscript: What lies beyond tragedy?
Part Four: Reference Section Short biographies. Further reading. Appendix: The theatres of Shakespeare's London. Index