The theme of the great Shakespearean tragedies is the fall from grace of a great man due to a flaw in his nature.
Whether it is the ruthless ambition of Macbeth or the folly of Lear, the irresolution of Hamlet or the suspicion of Othello, the cause of the tragedy - even when it is the murder of a king - is trifling compared to the calamity that it unleashes.
Despite his flawed nature, however, the tragic hero has a nobility that emphasizes the greatness of man.
From this paradox the audience is brought to a greater understanding of - and sympathy with - suffering.
The four tragedies in this collection are accompanied by notes and an introduction to each text, making this edition of particular value to students and theatre-goers.