This stimulating and accessible book is intended for instructors at the junior high school, high school, and undergraduate levels who present some of Shakespeare's most familiar works to students who are largely unfamiliar with them. Acclaimed teacher of drama Victor L. Cahn begins with a general introduction, then examines seven of Shakespeare's plays: THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, TWELFTH NIGHT, RICHARD II, HENRY IV, PART 1, and THE TEMPEST. With attention always directed towards inspiring student interest and response, Professor Cahn provides an overview or "spine" for each work, then proceeds scene by scene, focusing on salient characters, details of language, and major themes. The volume not only is entertaining and clear, but also raises provocative points of interpretation as well as numerous questions for discussion. Underlying the project is the conviction that although the plays are most effective in performance, they can nonetheless prove compelling in the classroom, where students can appreciate that although these works are set in a distant time and place, their issues and implications remain universal.
Victor L. Cahn is Professor Emeritus of English at Skidmore College. He is the author of fifteen books (seven on Shakespeare), as well as numerous plays that have been presented Off-Broadway and regionally.