This ground-breaking study reveals the prophetic, revolutionary vision at the heart of Shakespeare's four greatest tragedies: Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth. Shakespearean Tragedy engages with each of these titanic masterpieces as a singular, complete work of dramatic art with its own distinctive concerns and critical challenges. Through compelling new readings of the plays, couched in lively, accessible prose and grounded in close analysis of their language and form, Kiernan Ryan transforms our understanding of Shakespearean tragedy by revealing the radical egalitarian perspective from which it is conceived and written. In recent decades criticism has striven to entrench these plays in the culture of the distant past from which they sprang. This book frees them to show how Shakespeare dramatises the tragic realities of his world from the standpoint of the transfigured future that our world still awaits.