• How do Shakespearean plays sustain clashing values within them, or imposed on them? Is Shakespeare anti-Semitic? Can Shakespeare be a feminist? How is value subject to context, to market, and demand? A wide range of moral, political, and aesthetic values—profitable or heartening or threatening from case to case—have been associated with Shakespeare, and those values have changed over time. And conflicting values may coincide at different levels of discussion of a given play, at once driving diversity in entertainment industries and sustaining traditional aesthetic principles, or in some other concatenation.

    This volume’s special section of essays on “Shakespeare and Value” explores these questions through general enquiry and case studies of complex moral designs that resist easy profiling in the plays. Instead of following formulae or jumping to conclusions, the contributors urge us not to flatten out the contradictory sets of values in these designs, but to set these clashes at the heart of action and inquiry.