The Complete Works of William Shakespeare is a work that has had such far reaching effect in the English speaking world and outside that it can barely be overstated. One might legitimately claim that it would be impossible to understand the world, without understanding Shakespeare. He changed our turn of phrase, our story telling traditions and immortalised his characters. Othello brought us Iago, a villain who is as pathetic as he is terrifying and plausible. Anthony and Cleopatra is a story so powerful that it has pulled our contemporary understanding of history into its orbit, her panache, his conflict and the world burning around them. Less famous but no less stunning is the story of Imogen’s doomed love for Posthumus, a beautiful telling of a captivated father, an evil stepmother and a pair of star-crossed lovers. Another less known gem is the story of the classic damsel in distress, Marina turns a tragic situation around and regains a chance at true love in the collaborative work, Pericles. This book is challenge and remedy all in one volume.
Shakespeare is often imitated but never bettered. He provided us with a penetrating lens through which to assess love, class, jealousy, abandon and power. Not only have these works allowed us to understand ourselves but they have allowed us to consider what we should be. As an immeasurable improvement on earlier morality plays, Shakespeare takes on a relatively secular lens and a creative method of illustrating his points to the audience. He is enjoyable for those looking for an engrossing story but with no shortage of meaning and humour for those digging deeper.
This volume contains the plays Othello, Anthony and Cleopatra, Cymbeline and Pericles.