York Notes Companions: Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama

Hugh Mackay  
Pearson Longman
Total pages
June 2010
Related Titles

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York Notes Companions: Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama
16.70 approx. 7-9 days


This Companion brings Renaissance drama to life by considering such classic plays as Hamlet, Othello and Dr Faustus from the perspective of contemporary theatre-goers.

Discussions of Shakespeare’s masterpieces are accompanied by examinations of the work of lesser known playwrights and commentators, while chapters on “Madness and Subjectivity”, “Rhetoric and Performance” and “Nation-Building” provide a variety of key critical perspectives.


  • Analysis of key texts and debates
  • Extended commentaries provide further in-depth analysis of individual texts
  • Notes contain extra context and explanations of literary terms
  • Historical, social and cultural contexts explored in introductory chapters and alongside discussions
  • Modern critical theory and perspectives in practice
  • Timelines and annotated further reading

Table of Contents

Part One: Introduction


Part Two: A Cultural Overview


Part Three: Texts, Writers and Contexts


  • Shakespeare’s comedies of eros: A Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like It

                        Extended commentary: Twelfth Night


  • Chronicles of virtue – Shakespeare’s history plays: Richard III and Henry IV Part 1

                        Extended commentary: Henry V


  • Tyranny and terror – Tragedy on the English Stage: Dr Faustus, Othello and Macbeth

                        Extended commentary: Hamlet


  • Shakespearean tragicomedy: Philaster andAll’s Well that Ends Well              Extended commentary: The Tempest


  • Comedies of Humour, Comedies of Pain: Every Man in his Humour and The Fawn

                        Extended commentary: Volpone


  • Jacobean Revenge drama: Revenger’s Tragedy and Women Beware Women

                        Extended commentary: The Duchess of Malfi




Part Four:  Critical theories and Debates


Madness and Subjectivity


Rhetoric and Performance


Women at the Edge




Part Five: Resources




Further reading



Back Cover

The York Notes Companion to Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama brings widely studied plays such as Hamlet, Othello and Dr Faustus to life for students, by considering them from the perspective of contemporary theatre-goers. Placing Shakespeare’s masterpieces in the social and historical contexts of the period and examining them alongside the work of his lesser known contemporaries, the Companion provides detailed commentaries on a range of plays, and guides students through key literary theories and debates.  Connecting texts with their scholarly and historical contexts, this is essential reading for any student of Renaissance drama.


Each York Notes Companion provides:

  • Analysis  of key texts and debates  
  • Extended  commentaries for further in-depth analysis of individual texts  
  • Exploration  of historical, social and cultural contexts
  • Annotations clarifying literary terms and events in history
  • Modern  theoretical perspectives in practice  
  • Timelines  and annotated further reading

Hugh Mackay has a PhD in early Jacobean drama from the University of Southampton, where he has taught on a range of undergraduate courses.



Dr Hugh Mackay completed his Phd on early Jacobean drama in 2003 at the University of Southampton, under the supervision of Professor Kathleen McLuskie, Director of the Shakespeare Institute. From 2002 to 2007 he taught various undergraduate courses at Southampton, ranging from ‘Literature and History’, ‘Shakespeare’s Histories and Comedies’ to ‘Critical History’ and ‘Marxism and Psychoanalysis’. He has a paper on ‘Lust’s Dominion and the Readmission of the Jews’, published in the Review of English Studies, and has co-organised and presented at several conferences.