A new type of study aid which combines lively critical insight with practical guidance on the critical writings skills students need to develop in order to engage fully with Shakespeare's texts. The book's core focus is on language: both understanding and enjoying Shakespeare's complex dramatic language, and expanding the student's own critical vocabulary as they respond to the play.
The book explores several different approaches to Shakespeare's language. It looks at how the subtleties of Shakespeare's language reveal the thought processes and motivations of his characters, often in ways those characters themselves don't recognise; it analyses how Shakespeare's language works within or sometimes against various historical contexts, the contexts of stage performance, of genre and of discourses of his day (of religion, law, commerce, and friendship); and it explores how the peculiarities of Shakespeare's language often point to broad issues, themes, or ways of thinking that transcend any one character or line of action. Each chapter includes a "Writing Matters" section, giving students ideas and guidance for building their own critical response to the play and the skills to articulate it with confidence.