Now in its third edition Shakespeare: The Basics is an insightful and informative introduction to the work of William Shakespeare. Exploring all aspects of Shakespeare’s plays including the language, cultural contexts, and modern interpretations, this text looks at how a range of plays from across the genres have been understood. Updates in this edition include:

  • Ecocritical, queer, presentist and gendered discussions of Shakespeare’s work
  • Studies of new performances including Tennant and Tate’s Much Ado About Nothing
  • Critical discussions of race and politics in Othello and King Lear
  • Case studies of modern film versions of Shakespeare’s works
  • A chronology of Shakespeare’s work and contemporary events

With fully updated further reading throughout and a wide range of case studies and examples, this text is essential reading for all those studying Shakespeare’s work.

chapter |9 pages


part I|107 pages

Understanding the Text

chapter 1|35 pages

Shakespeare's Language

chapter 2|25 pages

Shakespeare's Theatre

chapter 3|17 pages

Shakespeare on Stage

chapter 4|28 pages

Shakespeare on Film

part II|133 pages

The Genres

chapter 5|6 pages

Shakespeare's Genres

chapter 6|6 pages

Understanding Comedy

The Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, As You Like It and Twelfth Night

chapter 7|29 pages

Understanding History

King Richard II, King Henry IV Part 1, King Henry V and King Richard III

chapter 8|31 pages

Understanding Tragedy

Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth and Othello

chapter 9|22 pages

Understanding Romance

The Winter's Tale and The Tempest

chapter |3 pages


The Future of Shakespeare Studies