Shakespearean Tragedy brings together fifteen major contemporary essays on individual plays and the genre as a whole. Each piece has been carefully chosen as a key intervention in its own right and as a representative of an influential critical approach to the genre. The collection as a whole, therefore, provides both a guide and explanation to the various ways in which contemporary criticism has determined our understanding of the tragedies, and the opportunity for assessing the wider issues such criticism raises.
The collection begins by considering the impact of social semiotics on approaches to the tragedies, before moving on to deal, in turn, with the various forms of Marxist criticism, New Historicism, Cultural Materialism, Feminism, Psychoanalysis, and Poststructuralism.
"The cumulative effect of these essays is to destabalise the apparent firmness and cohesion of the concept of 'tragedy' itself, to liberate the texts of Shakespearian drama from such universalising categories, and to return the texts to history, to criticism and to theory."- Times Educational Supplement