Shakespeare's plays. . . . Stuffy, convoluted, long-winded? Sure, for some out there - especially the arrogant, ivory-tower intellect who can't utter a single word that can be understood by the average Romeo, who refuses to put out a book that weighs less than Lear's sword, and who, in the manner of a Hamlet, insists on dissecting, analyzing, scrutinizing and, worse yet, squabbling over every jot and tittle the Bard ever wrote. Hence, the purpose of this book - to quickly and painlessly acquaint readers and so-called "nonreaders" alike with Shakespeare, his world, his words, and his most noteworthy works. In this day and age, who has the time or patience to pore over long, drawn-out books? Enter Scarab, its aim being to provide a non-stuffy, non-convoluted, non-long-winded solution, one that lets you become a Shakespeare connoisseur in a fraction of the time it might take your stiflingly snobbish bookworm brother-in-law. Imagine, in 15 minutes flat, being able to be clued in on a play's key plots, characters and commentaries. And suddenly, you've been appointed the office genius! These condensed, crash-course, water-cooler renderings offer up the highlights of Shakespeare's masterpieces, without all the "fluff." A "Shakespeare at a Glance" chapter up front includes a brief biography, excerpts from some of his greatest poems, samplings of his rapier wit and levelheaded wisdom, and a cruelly fun section titled "Shakespearean Name-Calling: The Art of Archaic Insults," which unlocks a door into the playwright's psyche by letting you unleash your own playfully biting barbs.