William Shakespeare: Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies : The Great Courses: English Literature

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Peter Saccio
  • Series: The Great Courses: English Literature
  • 18 hrs and 7 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Shakespeare's plays - whether a comedy like A Midsummer Night's Dream, a history like Henry IV, or a tragedy like Hamlet - are treasure troves of insight into our very humanity. These 36 lectures introduce you to Shakespeare's major plays from each of these three genres and explain the achievement that makes him the leading playwright in Western civilization.
As you'll see, the key to Shakespeare's massive achievement is his "abundance," according to Professor Saccio; not only in the number and length of his plays but in the variety of experiences they depict, the multitude of actions and characters they contain, the combination of public and private life they deal with, and the richness of feelings they express.
All the major plays are here for you to dive into, explore, and enjoy: The Taming of the Shrew (with its realistic look at bourgeois marriage customs), Measure for Measure (which shows Shakespeare breaking out of comic conventions), Richard III (the source of one of the Bard's most entertaining and frightening historical villains), Henry V (which raises questions about the morality of warfare), Macbeth (with its piercing look into the consciousness of a man hungry for power), and more. As the richness of each of these and other plays is revealed, you'll also touch upon the far-ranging philosophical and theological implications behind them. By the last lecture, you'll have a true understanding of why these comedies, histories, and tragedies endure even to this very day.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Excellent insights to the Shakespearean world

loved this book. The narrator is excellent and his Shakespearean acting skills really come across.

If you want more than the plots this is an excellent listen. You get a real feel for all the plays.

The balance was great on how much time was spent on each play. Though the author could have talked longer and I could easily have listed much longer.

keep teaching :)
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- Mark Kelly

Good details.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Not really sure. I think so, but the guy reading stutters and makes mistakes over and over again.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Not really suited to this book. Hamlet.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

He stuttered and stammered the whole time. It was quite distracting.

If this book were a film would you go see it?


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- Conrad

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-07-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses