Tragedies of Shakespeare: Timon of Athens

Timon of Athens is a problematic Shakespearian play in that it appears to have been left unfinished and the thrust of its underlying thematic nature is contested. It may have been written at more or less any period of Shakespeare’s career, although its lack of linguistic elegance and complexity suggests an earlier rather than a later period (although this has persuaded some people that this is because it was written someone other than Shakespeare or by him in partnership with someone else). It is one of Shakespeare’s least known, least loved and least performed plays.

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Tragedies of Shakespeare: Coriolanus

Coriolanus is the last written of Shakespeare’s tragedies and the one which most clearly pits the struggle between different classes as being an important part of the reason why things change. In many ways, Coriolanus prefigures Marxist analysis of society and history in that it depicts the conflict between the working classes of Rome with the aristocratic class that Coriolanus depicts as being the reason why things happen.

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Tragedies of Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra

Of all of Shakespeare’s plays, Antony and Cleopatra is the one that probably divides opinions the most. Few people can be sure of whether the two protagonists behave in a defensible way, given that they appear willing to privilege their personal desires over the needs of the people of their nations and empires.

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Tragedies of Shakespeare: Macbeth

Macbeth is Shakespeare’s shortest, most visceral and most disturbing tragedy. It was written in or about 1606, during the reign of King James I (VI of Scotland) and prudently places the current monarch as one of the line of good and justified kings deriving from Banquo, which is what the Stuart house itself to which James belonged also claimed.

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Tragedies of Shakespeare: Othello

Othello is one of Shakespeare’s great tragedies and was written, in 1603, at the full height of his powers as a dramatist. The play has provoked strong emotions over the years and has been staged on many occasions. Controversy, on the stage, has focused on the central figure of Othello, a black man, and the differing ways in which he has been represented.

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Tragedies of Shakespeare: Hamlet

Hamlet is probably the greatest single work of art in the world. The tragedy was written by Shakespeare in or around the year 1600. It concerns the Prince of Denmark, the eponymous Hamlet who is mourning his father, who has recently, died as well as marking the rapid remarriage of his mother Gertrude to his uncle Claudius.

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