A balanced editorial approach, a highly respected editor, and comprehensive glosses, footnotes, and historical and cultural essays make this the most reader-friendly introduction to Shakespeare available today. The sixth edition of this comprehensive anthology addresses the two key issues confronted by readers approaching Shakespeare today: a lack of knowledge about the historical period and difficulty with the language of Shakespeare's plays. A richly illustrated general introduction offers insight into Shakespeare's England and background on the literary and cultural contexts in which Shakespeare wrote and produced plays. Each play is introduced by a descriptive essay designed to help the reader appreciate the cultural contexts and interpretive issues raised by the play without dictating their interpretations. Thoroughly revised and updated notes and glosses provide additional support to understanding the language of Shakespeare's time.