Lear The Great Image of Authority

King Lear is perhaps the most poignant character in literature. The aged, abused monarch is at once the consummate figure of authority and the classic example of the fall from...

Falstaff Give Me Life

Falstaff is both a comic and tragic central protagonist in Shakespeare's three Henry plays: Henry IV, Parts One and Two, and Henry V. He is companion to Prince Hal (the future...

Iago The Strategies of Evil

In all of literature, few antagonists have displayed the ruthless cunning and unscrupulous deceit of Iago, the antagonist to Othello. Often described as Machiavellian, Iago is a...

Ruin the Sacred Truths Poetry and Belief from the Bible to the Present

Harold Bloom surveys with majestic view the literature of the West from the Old Testament to Samuel Beckett. He provocatively rereads the Yahwist (or "J") writer, Jeremiah, Job,...

Macbeth A Dagger Of The Mind

From the ambitious and mad titular character to his devilish wife Lady Macbeth to the moral and noble Banquo to the mysterious Three Witches, Macbeth is one of William...

Cleopatra: I Am Fire and Air

Cleopatra is one of the most famous women in history—and thanks to Shakespeare, one of the most intriguing personalities in literature. She is the lover of Marc Antony, defender...

How to Read and Why

Harold Bloom is Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University, Berg Professor of English at New York University, and a former Charles Eliot Norton Professor at Harvard. He...

Shakespeare The Seven Major Tragedies

Shakespeare invented characters in a new kind of way. He not only gave them personality and depth, he gave them life. Not a life that went simply from point to point, but one...