Since Elizabethan times, Western theater has witnessed four centuries of family dramas—a few great, many dreadful. But still no playwright matches Shakespeare's archetypal but unsentimental visions of that most treacherous human institution. Whether rendering it comic, tragic, or as history, he exposes the absurdities that bring families together and the inevitable rifts that tear them apart (often in the same play). Beyond all the missing lockets, identity thefts, and dynastic struggles, Shakespeare guides us to hauntingly primal scenes of familial suffering, uncovering the power battles and psychological anguish of kin desperate to find, recognize, or... More >>>