Shakespeare's late plays are a 'mixed bag' with a common theme: from the fiendishly jealous Leontes to the saintly Pericles; from the ineffectual Cymbeline to the omnipotent Propspero; from the 'sprites and goblins' of The Tempest to the famous bear of The Winter's Tale, the characters have excited wonder and contempt while the range of incident is almost irresponsibly extravagant. Was Shakespeare losing his grip, or his interest, or both? Was he striking out in some bold new theatrical direction?
This Guide provides a critical survey of the major debates and issues surrounding the late plays, from the earliest published accounts to the present day. Nicholas Potter offers a clear guiding narrative and an exploration of literary history, focusing on how criticism of these remarkable works, and attempts to make sense of them, have developed over the years.