Thursday, December 31, 2009

Watching Richard III

Watching the film versions of Richard III, you see the weaknesses and the strengths - not only of Richard, but of Shakespearean playwriting in general.

The weakness is definitely that Richard has no equally matched opponent. The story basically is a moralist checklist story - the more murders he checks off on his way to kingship, the more the list grows and the fewer friends he has to support him, until he has done himself in. It’s a lesson, not a drama.

The strengths are the language and the all-out evil character of Richard.

The two main film adaptations are the 1955 Laurence Olivier version and the 1995 Ian McKellen version. (The only important versions I missed were the 55-minute silent version from 1912 with Frederick Warde, the BBC television versions and, sadly, the horror versions: “Tower of London” with Basil Rathbone from 1939 and it’s remake in 1962 with Vincent Price, and “Theatre of Blood,” also with Price, about a theater actor who goes on a killing spree using Shakespearean methods, including one Richard III-murder - I assume it’s the wine barrel murder.)
McKellen is the most fun to watch, just because of the spectacle of this great actor chewing up the scenery: His Richard is all-out, over the top, grinning monster. McKellen was having a ball.

However, Olivier’s is still the best. He plays Richard as a simmering, controlled, over-articulated, slightly effeminate schemer. Ironically, what makes Olivier’s version better is that he plays Richard as a play, not a movie.

Let’s face it, Shakespeare wrote for a very limited, artificial and static stage. McKellen tries too hard to adapt the language to the dynamic of moving pictures, where everything moves, where everyone interacts, where you’re always thinking: Could it really happen this way?

Alas, it could not really happen this way. When two people are talking to each other, the one person does not go on and on, it’s a discussion. On real life, people don’t go off on monologues. That's the main problem with Shakespeare today: the style comes off as un-modern and stilted.

Shakespeare wrote speeches, not dialogues, even in scenes where two or more people are present. McKellen thought he could get around this by making someone nod or raise his eyebrows every couple of lines, or by accompanying a monologue with other interaction: He signs a paper while he talks, he wanders through a building, nodding to people, while he talks, the result is the feeling that his is fake. That the director isn’t doing his job: Why isn’t that guy reacting? Why is Richard going on and on as if no one else is in the room? It was a nice try, but it feels more artificial the more he tries to add a sense of pseudo-realism.
Olivier’s version is artificial and theatrical. He lets his Richard just stop the action and speak for minutes on end to the audience; his dialogues are really monologues; he declaims in a loud, over-articulated, theatrical voice instead of mumbling as per “The Method.” He embraces the formalism of Shakespeare and it brings it off: This is the kind of acting that Shakespeare wrote for. It’s poetry, not dialogue. Here, you feel all the nuances; you see the beauty of it. Where McKellen cuts monologues into snippets to disguise their monologue-ness, Olivier gives Shakespeare the full time and breadth that he needs. You feel the luxury of the language.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

4. Richard III

1. Sentences That Eat Themselves

The opening of Richard III is an example of my favorite kind of sentence: Sentences that eat themselves. “Now is the winter of our discontent” sounds pretty depressing and threatening, but by the second line it turns into something else: positive. It continues: “…made sunny and bright by York’s ascension to the throne” or something like that. (My book is behind me as I write and I’m too lazy to get it – it’s the first part of the sentence that is famous enough to quote from memory).

Of course, the first part of the sentence remains, even after it is negated, negative – Richard is discontented. You’re supposed to have that impression. I just love a sentence that unexpectedly changes meaning in midstream.

2. At last, strong language

There is a light year of difference between Henry VI (1-3) and Richard III, which some scholars assume were the first plays Shakespeare wrote. The difference is so great and so easy to see that some scholars think Shakespeare didn’t write the Henry VI plays, or only a very small part of them (most likely there was at least one other collaborator involved). The language in Richard is immensely strong and clear. Shakespeare is absolutely confident here, you can feel it. It’s hard for me to say exactly how he does it, but every sentence that Richard speaks in his monologues and throughout the play is not only loaded with evil, which is what most people notice about it, but with strength and clarity. It’s the language itself, the choice of words, the ways Shakespeare puts the sentences together – it is as if in Henry VI he was goofing around, trying things out, laying with the hammer and nails instead of using them; in Richard III every nail is pounded in with a single beat of the hammer, it’s amazing.

The contrast works not only comparing Richard III to the Henry VI plays – it works within Richard III as well. The dialogue of the other characters, the Yorkists he is about to murder, is uncertain and blathering, like it was in Henry VI. It’s like the characters themselves inspire Shakespeare or not: Richard inspired him and Richard’s language is stunning; the Lancastrians and Yorkists in general did not inspire him, and their language is indecisive, repetitive and moaning.

3. Court of Weaklings

Did I mention that all the other Yorkists and Lancastrians – the court of the king that Richard III murders – are a bunch of whiney indecisive fawning wordy boring shallow spineless moaning slackers? It’s not only that Shakespeare paints them this way, to contrast with Richard, they were this way in the Henry VI trilogy and they are just bring to see on stage. From the viewpoint of the audience, that has to sit through all their “sweet cousin” s and “your most loyal servant” s, they all deserve to die. If I were the stage director I would just let a piano fall on them from the rafters in the middle of their speeches and get it over with.

4. Where’s the Antagonist?

What this means is that Richard has no antagonist that can be taken seriously.

I’ve always loved the idea of stories without a “bad guy.” The reason, I suppose, is that I grew up on Hollywood movies, most of which have a clear antagonist/bad guy, and in action moves that bad guy not only follows goals that are somehow disadvantageous to our hero, they are personally evil. That’s one of the reason I am fascinated by the Nibelungenlied: It does fine without a bad guy. All its characters that fight each other are all about the same in terms of good/evil and in terms of whether their cause is just. There is no moral reckoning there. No one spends a lot of time biting the heads off chickens; they’re just caught up in a major conflict of interest. It’s a purely political story.

Richard III manages to do without an antagonist and at the same time be a moral tale.

Sure, Richmond pops up in the end to defeat him in battle, yes, but he’s just the means to defeat in the end, not a player all the way through the play. It is clear to us by then that Richard is his own worst enemy: The reason Richmond defeats him is that all his allies have fled to Richmond’s side. Richard’s sheer evil-ness carried him to the throne, but it also destroyed him. Caesar would have turned around after conquering his enemies and showered them with gifts and shown the world what a nice guy he is and been generous and bought all his former allies; Richard is not evil for the sake of power, he is evil for the sake of evil, and that is his undoing. Thus, Richard III is a morality play in an almost Protestant sense: “Look at him, he is evil, do not follow in his footsteps.”

5. Minor character steals the show

One morning, I woke up bitter and depressed – things weren’t going as fast or as good as they should and I was feeling old and as if everything was passing me by; I felt like I was treading water, I felt like a failure.

Then I read Queen Margaret.

Up to now, Margaret has not been a very fascinating character. In the Henry VI trilogy, she is basically the bitchy wife for whom Henry can never do anything good enough and who takes things into her own hands but isn’t really very effective either. In Richard III, she appears to complain about her loss and woe and about everyone else, and that’s really all she does. You can’t take her seriously because you think: Why is she still hanging around? She never really liked it here in the first place, and all she’s doing now is complaining. She’s like a ghost.

But now, after Richard III is crowned and kills the two cousins in the Tower and everyone knows he is evil, Elisabeth and the Duchess come to the Tower to mourn the boys’ death and Margaret pops up. Now, of course, instead of despising her, the Duchess and Elisabeth have a lot in common with her, and they listen.

What comes now really surprised me. Margaret has a long overblown speech about how everyone is so nasty and then the other two women says: Wow, you’re really good at moaning and groaning, teach us how to do that. And in a very short – to short – speech, Margaret maps out how to complain:

Forbear to sleep the nights and fast the days;
Compare dead happiness with living woe;
Think that thy babes were sweeter than they were,
And he that slew them fouler than he is:
Bettering thy loss makes the bad-causer worse.
Revolving this will teach you how to curse.

Image: Queen Margaret of Anjou

It’s like an tiny instruction manual about blowing up your own woe into a thing so big everyone has to notice, whether there’s any reason to or not. I had to think of the RAF – the German terrorist group Red Army Fraction – who went grew up in and lived in a wealthy, democratic, well-functioning society without any real cares and hated every minute of it. The only thing they were right about was: 1) German society in the 70s was capitalistic, but already then it was very clear that life under Communism was much worse and 2) there were still a lot of Nazis around and the Nazi generation had never come clean and said Mea Culpa and asked their grandchildren for forgiveness.

Comparing that to life, say, in Africa, those two complaints are pretty minor. Sure, the young generation had a feeling that the media and political structures were so overbearing and rigid that they would never change without some kind of radical solution, and that was partly true, but calling for a revolution in order to point out that the older generation was a bunch of Nazis – that seems like taking a bazooka to swat a fly.

And you can say the same thing about a thousand different complaints all around the world – the actual injustice that people are complaining about is often miniscule compared with the excitement and indignation the protesters get caught up in.

That’s the Margaret Syndrome: Take some grievance you have and completely exaggerate it as well and as loud and as long as you can and you will get attention. Make it your hobby, make it the contents of your life, make it your cause and the philosophy of your soul. (It’s not that Margaret wasn’t right about Richard being evil – it was that she was no better, and that the Duchess and Elizabeth probably could have stopped Richard long ago if they had wanted, but they didn’t make a move, and now their only recourse is to play the victims.)

I read this, thought of my complaints about my own bitter failed life, and said to myself: This is not what I want to be.

6. The Asides

Here’s one of Shakespeare’s weaknesses: He’s in love with himself.

All writers are, of course, and all writers are afraid that the reader won’t notice how brilliant they are, how ironic, how subtle, so they find ways to repeat their subtlety until the reader finally gets it, and to point out their irony so the reader doesn’t pass it over. Shakespeare also does this.

In Richard III he shows how evil Richard is and then Richard pretending to be god and righteous and even quoting scripture to fool all his enemies into trusting him. We see him do it. We’re not stupid, we know he’s dissembling, we know he’s pretending to be good while being evil and doing it well. Then he turns to the audience and tells us how evil he is and that he’s just pretending to be good and isn’t it clever that he, such an evil guy, is quoting scripture to pretend to be good?

I say, without characters fame lives long
[aside] Thus, like the formal Vice, Iniquity,
I moralize two meanings in one word.

That’s the writer thinking: I wonder if they got the irony? I’d better point it out to them, just in case.

7. Why this murder scene and not another?

It’s interesting to see what Shakespeare chooses to show and what not. Early on he has a very moving and beautifully-written scene where Clarence is murdered in the Tower. Clarence is imprisoned, he wakes up from a nightmare and relates it in detail to his jailor, then is murderers come in and he tries to reason with them and they even show a bit of conscience (there’s even some humor here – they are the Laurel and Hardy of assassins),and then Clarence dies.

A few scenes later, the two young princes are also murdered in the Tower. As victims, these boys are much more emotionally involving than Clarence, but we don’t see the scene: It is reported. (To be fair: Clarence is Richard’s brother, but to see, onstage, two little kids pleading for their lives – that’s 50% more ticket sales right there.) There are more murders to come, and we don’t see any of them. Shakespeare chose to show the first one and just report the others.

The structural reason of course is so that he doesn’t repeat himself the whole time. You see one murder, you’ve seen them all. But why show Clarence and not the far more emotional murder of the boys? Was it chance? Did Shakespeare just say: We show the first murder, then no others. Was it the audience? Was Shakespeare writing for a political-savvy audience that knew about Clarence’s historical reputation as a politician? (Clarence existed, played an important role in the War of the Roses, was tried for treason and drowned in a vat of wine – though Shakespeare’s audience might not have known all the details, they knew about him and that he was an important historical character.)

Maybe he didn’t want the play to dip from political into sentimental, with the murder of young innocents being just too sob-worthy for his adult audience to take seriously. One way or the other, it makes the play a bit more adult: After all, in writing his historical plays, one of the goals Shakespeare is trying for it to tell a little bit about history in some way. Going for a politically important character treats the whole thing a little more seriously.

Image: George of York, Duke of Clarence

8. Two Nightmares

There are two dreams (or waking-up-from-dreaming passages) that are handled differently and are very interesting.

The other is early on: Clarence relates his nightmare to his jailor about drowning and seeing all kinds of things underwater. Bloom loves this passages, and it’s a great passage, one of the three or four best in the play.

The second right at the end: Richard wakes up on the eve of the final battle with self-doubts and questions who he is and why he is evil and is a bit confused. It’s his dark hour.

The difference is interesting for writers: Clarence’s nightmare is stronger, because it’s more concrete and has more tactile imagery – it’s full of fish eating eyeballs out of eye sockets and all that. Richard’s dream on the other hand is pure abstraction, it’s like he just got out of therapy. He’s all, “Who am I?” etc.

It’s what the Germans call “Bauchnabelschau” – navel-gazing. (Hey, we English-speakers call it that too!) And that’s the second problem with it: First, it’s too abstract without sensory images, and second, it’s nothing special. We all feel sorry for ourselves all the time, we all indulge in navel-gazing, and seeing it on the stage is nothing special. Seeing Richard in the beginning scenes talk about destroying the entire world – that was abstract too, but it was interesting. It’s something we don’t all do every day. But navel-gazing – we know all about that already, thanks.

There’s something else about that last dream.

Bloom hates it. I wasn’t so sure t was that bad the first time I dead it: I read it in Bloom’s synopsis of the play before I read the play itself, so I read the dream passage out of context, and it seemed okay to me. Then I read it in the context of the play and saw that true, it’s bad. The problem is: It breaks character, it even destroys character.

The whole time, we love and hate Richard, we’re fascinated by him. But all of a sudden, he gets up on the stage and tells everyone that he himself is a horrible person and empty inside and that – in moral terms – he deserves to die. What happened to the evil gut chewing up the scenery? That’s the guy we love. We want to see him brawling and cursing and generally being hubristic to the very end. But with this dream, Shakespeare wrote a very Protestant moral ending. It’s like his “asides”, in which he tells the audience what to think. He’s saying: “Dear audience, even Richard, in the end, sees that he himself is a horrible person, so don’t think for a minute that just because you loved him up to now that anything he’s done was worth it. Don’t do this at home!”

9. The Build-Up

I gotta say I really like the almost-end. The last page was a let-down, but the four or five pages before that were elegant and somehow rewarding.

It’s the final battle on Bosworth Field. The two armies gather and we see them the night before the battle. It’s set up so we see them parallel to each other – there are even stage instructions that specify that Richard’s tent is on one side of the stage and Richmond’s on the other. Then they talk to their men, they monologue, they dream.

Shakespeare really takes his time doing this – it’s the build-up and at the same time a kind of elegiac preparation for doom. Build-up for Richmond, doom for Richard. Nothing else in the play is this elegant – there’s symmetry to it, there is poetry in the scene itself (Shakespeare has written better language elsewhere) and it’s very satisfying.

I don’t know if it was really necessary to send eleven – count ‘em, eleven – ghosts to haunt Richard’s dreams, and of course in the morning he wakes up and his monologue (see above: Nightmares) is a let-down, but the simple fact of the symmetry of the scene and the fact that the battle afterwards (it’s almost non-existent) is far less important to Shakespeare than the build-up before makes this beautiful. It’s the first time he does something this pleasingly-constructed on stage.

It’s the final scene of the War of the Roses – after tomorrow’s battle, the War will be settled for good. It’s not the climactic battle Shakespeare savors, but the peace before the storm. That moment of introspection, that moment where no one on earth knows what the outcome will be, but is determined to take that final step – Shakespeare seems to have chosen that moment as the most human of moments, and it’s certainly the most human in the four War of the Roses plays.

10. Sucking up to Queen Elizabeth

The end deteriorates. From Richard’s dream to the final battle and Richmond’s crowing victory, it becomes clear that Shakespeare has become a patriot. We get preaching about what this means for England. How the terrible day are over at last. And how a new era now begins. It’s the Elizabethan era – Richmond, the Lancastrian, paved the way for the Tudors.

The Richard portrayed by Shakespeare was far more evil than the historical Richard, and the reason is probably that Shakespeare was working from a pro-Tudor/pro-Elizabeth history book, which portrayed Richard as horribly as possible in order to justify his overthrow (he was king, after all) and the ascension of the Tudors. So in retrospect the entire War of the Roses project was really about legitimizing the Tudors, which Shakespeare does most clearly in Richard. He’s sucking up to his queen.

I can imagine that this was very self-affirming for many in Shakespeare’s audience, not only the audience member attached to Tudor politics. It’s patriotic. There’s nothing wrong with that. But it doesn’t age well: Now, the end is just dreary, a let-down, a cop-out.

Friday, August 28, 2009

1-3. Henry VI, parts 1-3 (The War of the Roses Trilogy)


You can say what you will about Henry VI – “It doesn’t stand up to Shakespeare’s better works, it’s clumsy and repetitive, it’s so bad that maybe Shakespeare didn’t write it himself,” etc. (Bloom calls all three plays simply “tedious”.) But for a play, it still manages to give you a certain image of war, which must have been writing-wise, the main challenge.

The problem with a play about war, as opposed to a war movie, is that you can’t show the battles, not really. It’s too much and even if you put a lot of guys on stage fighting back and forth, it’s just a lot of confusion. It only get dramatic when you can identify the individual characters, and so you are more or less reduced to showing a series of duels.

But Shakespeare manages to get around this by narration. He brings is characters onstage, out of breath and just out of reach of the thick of the battle, and they describe to each other what they just went through. It’s war second-hand. But it still works. There are sections where you do get an idea of how the battle was.

There are even one or two sections that really bring it home – the language is clear and dramatic, the imagery is extreme and tactile. Here’s an example:

The army of the queen hath got the field:
My uncles both are slain in rescuing me;
And all my followers to the eager foe
Turn back and fly, like ships before the wind,
Or lambs pursu’d by hunger-starved wolves.
My sons, God knows what hath bechanced them:
But this I know, they have demeaned themselves
Like men born to renown by life or death.
Three times did Richard make a lane to me,
And thrice cried, “Courage, father! Fight it out!”
And full as oft came Edward to my side
With purple falchion, painted to the hilt
In blood of those that had encountered him:
And when the hardiest warriors did retire,
Richard cried, “Charge! And give no foot of ground!”
Edward, “A crown, or else a glorious tomb!
A scepter, or an earthly sepulcre!”
With this we charged again: but out alas!
We budged again; as I have seen a swan
With bootless labour swim against the tide
And spend her strength with over-matching waves…

He’s basically narrating to us what can’t be staged. It’s not great, but it works. It is a bad play(s), but the fact that he tackled this difficult challenge of staging an epic on a tiny space is impressive.


Let’s talk about overplotting.

Shakespeare is not known as a plotter, he’s known for character. But the Henry VI is almost only plot. In fact there’s too much plot.

The plot is continually going back and forth: The Lancasters are on top, then the Yorks are on top, then the Lancasters are on top. It never ends. That’s why it’s so tedious. At some point, we don’t really care.

The question is: Did Shakespeare write it that way because he thought we’d gasp every time fate changes course (of course, we do a little, it’s true, but there are so many characters, and for us today at least there are no clear sympathies with either the Yorks or the Lancasters, so we don’t quite suffer with any of their ups and downs)? Or did he say: “It has to be this way, this is how the War of the Roses went historically, I have to stick to the facts, I have no choice.”

That’s possible. It’s hard to imagine Shakespeare not having the guts to change history if he wanted to, but this is early Shakespeare. (I’m not a guy who respects history enough to say its portrayal in art has to be accurate - I know enough about history to know that you never get it right anyway, and I know enough about writing to know that the writer’s first responsibility is to the story, not the facts.)

On the other hand: I’m not sure the plays would have worked better if they had been less complicated.


And the main reason for that is: The characters are not all that fascinating. Henry VI, the Lancastrian, is mealy-mouthed and weak-kneed; York is tentative – he wants to usurp the throne but he has his moral limits. He won’t murder, he won’t break a vow, he takes a long time warming up before he goes for the throat. Queen Margaret is probably the strongest character here, and she waffles too – she’s big on words but in the end she remains ineffective.

Don’t get me wrong: Shakespeare paints a humanly-accurate portrait of a bunch of weak-kneed wanna-bes thrashing half-heartedly at each other until finally something happens, but wanna-bes are generally not that interesting. Not even Shakespeare can make us love them. No one can. You just can’t make an indecisive character interesting. Everyone says that literature portrays mankind as it really is and gives us truth, but the truth is, some parts of mankind don’t translate into literature and thus are never really well-portrayed, and the wanna-be is one of them. There may be truth about mankind in Henry VI, but it’s truth no one will ever know because no one wants to see the plays.

But wait – that might not be true. Shakespeare will return to the character-as-waffler later in his greatest play, Hamlet. There’s the rub, if you ask me: Why did he fail to make the Lancasters and Yorks, who after all changed the history of England, interesting, while succeeding with a little worm like Hamlet?

Images: Henry VI of Lancaster (above) and Edward of York (below). They both look like waffelers - in fact, they look exactly alike.


Image: Joan of Arc

Then there are the minor characters. If the Henry VI trilogy is interesting at all, it’s because of the minor characters, mainly Joan of Arc and the scary rebel John Cade. Shakespeare is clearly fascinated by these characters and he makes them fascinating, giving them more space than is really necessary. And that’s good, because they are the best part. It’s John Cade who gets off the best line in the plays: “Kill all the lawyers”.

To get off a great line like that, you need a great character to do it. A character like Henry VI can’t utter a line like that. He’s a king – he can’t be crazy at the same time.

That’s always the problem, in any story. The audience wants to identify with the hero, the good guy, the guy who finds happiness. But the interesting characters are the bad guys, or the losers, or the servants and fools who have nothing to lose and thus can afford to be cynical and funny. That’s why Shakespeare always has these great minor characters and great villains: They’re more interesting. Like the old adage about morality and fiction: Evil is always more interesting that goodness. Like Tolstoy said: “All happy families are the same, all unhappy families are different.”

It is these three characters that Shakespeare invest great lines, he goes crazy with them, pulls out all the stops, even though they are minor characters and really, the plays could do well without them. A character could come onstage and say: John Cade is rebelling… Now he’s defeated... Now he’s been captured and is dead.” We wouldn’t notice the missing scenes.

This is one of the most difficult problems with writing. It’s really hard to make a main character or hero as interesting as these guys – the all-out-evil villains or the little guys who have nothing to lose and can make fun of everything. Detective novels try to do it by giving their heroes some kind of weakness – they are alcoholic, they are sad, their wife was killed and they did nothing to stop it, etc. The amazing TV shows The Shield and Dexter did it by turning the villains in the main characters, as Shakespeare did with Richard III. Comic books try to do it by investing their superheroes with weird and interesting superpowers that would be interesting even if there were no supervillains around – it’s just as nice to watch Hulk punching a building as it is to watch him punching a bad guy. But in general it’s hard to make a main character interesting.

Which brings us to Richard III. This – the Henry VI trilogy - is where Shakespeare discovered and introduced Richard III, here as a minor character but already chewing up the scenery. He is as interesting as John Cade and Joan of Arc, but for different reasons: He is clearly evil.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Order of Reading and Bloom

I am reading Harold Bloom's "Shakespeare - the Invention of the Human" alongside the plays, as I like his theory that humanity began with Shakespeare.

I am also following Bloom's estimated chronology of the 38 plays, which is of course uncertain.

In his book, Bloom does not tackle the plays chronologically, but I will, as would like to see if I can notice some kind of progress or change in Shakespeare's writing over time. (That means I am reading Bloom out of order!)

Thus my order of reading is going to be:

1. Henry VI, Part 1 (1589?)
2. Henry VI, Part 2
3. Henry VI, Part 3
4. Richard III
5. The Two Gentlemen of Verona
-- A Lover's Complaint (narrative poem)
-- Venus and Adonis (narrative poem)
-- The Passionate Pilgrim (narrative poem)
6. The Comedy of Errors
-- (Sonnets 1589 - 1609)
-- The Rape of Lucrece (narrative poem)
7. Titus Andronicus
8. The Taming of the Shrew
9. Love's Labour's Lost
10. King John
11. King Richard II
12. Romeo and Juliet
13. A Midsummer Night's Dream
14. The Merchant of Venice
15. King Henry IV, Part 1
16. The Merry Wives of Windsor
17. King Henry IV, Part 2
18. Much Ado About Nothing
19. King Henry V
20. Julius Caesar
21. As You Like It
22. Hamlet
-- The Phoenix and the Turtle (narrative poem)
23. Twelfth Night
24. Troilus and Cressida
25. All's Well That Ends Well
26. Measure for Measure
27. Othello
28. King Lear
29. Macbeth
30. Anthony and Cleopatra
31. Coriolanus
32. Timon of Athens
33. Pericles
34. Cymbeline
35. The Winter's Tale
36. The Tempest
37. Henry VIII
38. The Two Noble Kinsmen (1613?)

My text: "The Arden Shakespeare - The Complete Works" (1310 pages). All images from