This lively and innovative introduction to Shakespeare promotes active engagement with the plays, rather than recycling factual information. Covering a range of texts, it is divided into seven subject-based chapters: Character; Performance; Texts; Language; Structure; Sources and History, and it does not assume any prior knowledge. Instead, it develops ways of thinking and provides the reader with resources for independent research through the 'Where next?' sections at the end of each chapter. The book draws on up-to-date scholarship without being overwhelmed by it, and unlike other introductory guides to Shakespeare it emphasizes that there is space for new and fresh thinking by students and readers, even on the most-studied and familiar plays.