Jonathan Bate is a passionate advocate of Shakespeare and his introductions are full of striking and convincing observations ... footnotes at the bottom of each page gloss unfamiliar items of vocabulary, paraphrase tricky meanings and uncover bawdy puns. There is a universe to be found in these annotations - the Renaissance world of power and fate, sex and death, language and philosophy.' (The Times Educational Supplement). From the Royal Shakespeare Company - a fresh new edition of Shakespeare's enduringly popular comedy. This edition includes an illuminating introduction to The Merry Wives of Windsor by award-winning scholar Jonathan Bate. The play - with clear and authoritative explanatory notes on each page. A helpful scene-by-scene analysis and key facts about the play. An introduction to Shakespeare's career and the Elizabethan theatre. A rich exploration of approaches to staging the play featuring photographs of key productions. The most enjoyable way to understand a Shakespeare play is to see it or participate in it. This unique edition presents a historical overview of The Merry Wives of Windsor in performance, recommends film versions, takes a detailed look at specific productions and includes interviews with two leading directors and an actor - Bill Alexander, Rachel Kavanaugh and Simon Callow - so that we may get a sense of the extraordinary variety of interpretations that are possible, a variety that gives Shakespeare his unique capacity to be reinvented and made 'our contemporary' four centuries after his death. Ideal for students, theatre-goers, actors and general readers, the RSC Shakespeare plays offer an accessible and contemporary approach to reading and rediscovering Shakespeare's works for the twenty-first century.