Four Tragedies

Front Cover
Bantam Books, Jan 1, 1988 - Drama - 760 pages
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.


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.


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

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - moe.k - LibraryThing

If you have never read any books by William Shakespeare, you have to read this. Four tragedies in this book are great. I like Hamlet the best. I think that Hamlet is not so much the Prince of Denmark as a human being. Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (1988)

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564. In London, Shakespeare became the principal playwright and shareholder of the successful acting troupe the Lord Chamberlin's men (later, under James I, called the King's men) which built and occupied the Globe theater. In 1616, he died in Stratford after having written 37 plays, sonnets, and other poetry which would become crucial to the cannon of English literature.

DAVID SCOTT KASTAN,editor, is the Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. He is the author of SHAKESPEARE AND THE BOOK (Cambridge, 2001), SHAKESPEARE AFTER THEORY (Routledge, 1999) and he is the editor of A COMPANION TO SHAKESPEARE (1999), and co-editor of THE NEW HISTORY OF EARLY ENGLISH DRAMA (1998 award winner for the best book on theater history). He is general editor of the Arden Shakespeare (the first American ever to serve in this capacity in the Arden's hundred-plus year history). He serves on the board of the Folger Institute, the executive committee of the MLA Division on the Teaching of Literature, and on the editorial boards of a number of scholarly journals. Kastan is the Chair of the English Department at Columbia, and in 2000 he won the University's Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching and in 2004 became the first winner of the Faculty Mentoring Award.

DAVID BEVINGTON, editor, received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1959. He has been teaching at The University of Chicago since 1967. He is a Professor of English and Comparative Literature, in the Committee on General studies, and Phyllis Fay Horton Distinguished Service Professor in the Humanities. He is the director of undergraduate studies in comparative literature. He was one of three editors of THE COMPLETE WORKS OF BEN JONSON (Cambridge UP, 2003), senior editor of THE NORTON ANTHOLOGY OF RENAISSANCE DRAMA (2002), senior editor of the Revels series, and senior editor of the Revels students editions. He edited THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SHAKESPEARE, HarperCollins, fifth edition (Longman, 2003).

Bibliographic information