Book Announcement: Politics and Romance in Shakespeare’s Four Great Tragedies

Politics and Romance in Shakespeare’s Four Great Tragedies now available from Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Hardback, pp155, £58.99 / $99.95

Cambridge Scholars Publishing is pleased to announce the publication of Politics and Romance in Shakespeare’s Four Great Tragedies by Kenneth Usongo.

This study of the political and romantic impulses of Shakespeare’s tragic characters – including Macbeth, King Lear, Hamlet, Othello, and Iago, among others – discusses the overblown ambition of these characters as they embrace cunning and evil in order to acquire power and romance. The excessive ambition shown by these characters fuels action in the plays and significantly contributes to their downfall.

In other words, the book interrogates, in a pluralist critical frame, the forces behind the quest for power and romance by Shakespeare’s protagonists, and explores how these forces propel the demise or fall of the heroes and heroines. While Edmund in King Lear, for example, is analysed as a crafty villain who exploits any opportunity to politically aggrandise himself, Claudius in Hamlet is portrayed as a diabolical schemer who acts mostly independently in his bid to secure the Danish throne. On the other hand, Macbeth’s killing of Duncan is considerably invigorated by the ambition of Lady Macbeth to become queen and the prophecy of the witches that Macbeth shall be king. However, Iago is seen to display the scheming and ruthlessness of a traditional stage villain in his mission to unseat Cassio and overthrow Othello. The study contends that most of the politically and romantically driven characters of Shakespeare in the Four Great Tragedies are avaricious, artful and callous. As a result, the actions of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Claudius, Edmund, Iago, for instance, are activated by their excessive political and romantic cravings, which subvert the norms of Elizabethan and Jacobean England. In depicting these characters, Shakespeare decries unorthodox methods of realising one’s dreams, and demonstrates attempts to challenge Elizabethan and Jacobean orthodoxy.

To read a full summary of the book and to read a 30-page sample extract, which includes the table of contents, please visit the following link:

Politics and Romance in Shakespeare’s Four Great Tragedies can be purchased directly from Cambridge Scholars, through Amazon and other online retailers, or through our global network of distributors. Our partners include Bertram, Gardners, Baker & Taylor, Ingram, YBP, Inspirees and MHM Limited. An e-book version will be available for purchase through the Google Play store in due course.

For further information on placing an order for this title, please contact

About the Author

Kenneth Usongo received a PhD in Comparative literature from the University of Denver, USA, and a doctorate in English Literary Studies from the University of Yaoundé 1, Cameroon. In addition to his books, Art and Political Thought in Bole Butake, Ruminations of Ipome, and The Rising Sun and Boma, he has also published two dozen essays in English, postcolonial, and American literatures in various journals and edited collections. He is currently Associate Professor of English at Texas College, USA.

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