Posts Categorized: Inside-the-plays


Losing the name of action: Hamlet reconsidered

During this global pandemic, when the whole world is quarantined to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Hamlet seems like a character perfectly suited to our present moment. He’s also stuck at home, unable to return to school, despondent after suffering great loss, and so distraught by governmental change and the behavior of family… Continue Reading »





Cursing Coriolanus and combating cornhoarders

In 1608, famine plagued England. Preachers responded with sermons begging the gentry to show compassion for the poor, King James I responded with royal proclamations against grain hoarding, and Shakespeare responded with Coriolanus, a Roman revenge-tragedy. Likely composed in 1608 and staged c. 1609-1610, Coriolanus opens with starving citizens storming the stage with rakes, pikes,… Continue Reading »


The Queen of the Night: The infinite variety of Cleopatra

In the image above, Constance Collier, magnificent as the dying Cleopatra, sits on her throne in a dimly-lit room, light sparkling off her crown, belt and spangled train. This 1906-07 London production of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra is considered a high point in the stage history of that play, with director/actor Herbert Beerbohm-Tree sparing no… Continue Reading »




Lady Percy and Lady Mortimer in Henry IV, Part 1

In Henry IV, Part 1, Shakespeare created Lady Percy and Lady Mortimer out of the fragments of history, giving them voices that appeal freshly to us today.