William Shakespeare is rightly regarded as the greatest playwright of the English language. And King Lear, his searing meditation on family, political life, and sanity, is perhaps his crowning work. Renowned Shakespeare expert James Shapiro here explains its power and reveals that the Bard was also a brilliant businessman and a commercial creator with his finger on the pulse of his age. His work demands to be seen, not read, says Shapiro. The 400th anniversary of his death this year offers tremendous opportunities to do just that.
Octavian Report: What sparked your interest in Shakespeare?
James Shapiro is the Larry Miller Professor of English at Columbia University. His books include Shakespeare and the Jews (1996), 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare (2005), Contested Will (2010), the anthology Shakespeare in America (2014), and The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606 (2015).