Who is mad? Who is sane? Who decides? Welcome to the Dorothy Fish, a hospital in North London. N has been a patient for thirteen years. Day after day she sits smoking in the common room and swapping medication. Like the other patients, N's ambition is never to be discharged. Then in walks Poppy Shakespeare in a short skirt and snakeskin heels. Poppy is certain she isn't mentally ill and desperate to return to her life outside and, though baffled, N agrees to help her. But in a world where everything's upside down, are they crazy enough to upset the system?
There is no more important author in Western literature than William Shakespeare. And his 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. Shakespeare: Comedies, Histories, Tragedies introduces you to Shakespeare's plays and explains the achievement that makes Shakespeare the leading playwright in Western civilization.
Shakespeare's seven great tragedies contain unmistakable elements that set them apart from any other plays ever written. In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare embodied in the character of Juliet the world's most impressive representation ever of a woman in love. With Julius Caesar, the great playwright produced a drama of astonishing and perpetual relevance. In Hamlet, Shakespeare created a character with the most brilliant mind in all of literature. And the character of Iago in Othello has been the very archetype of the villain ever since. King Lear presents audiences with unparalleled emotional and intellectual demands. Macbeth is a play of ruthless economy in which Shakespeare forces his audience into intimate sympathy with a man not far from being a mass murderer. Finally, in Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare created something entirely new: a vast political and historical conspectus involving the whole world.