Preface to the third edition; Preface to the second edition; Preface to the first edition; Introduction: plea for an inductive science of literary criticism; Part I. Shakespeare Considered as a Dramatic Artist, in Fifteen Studies: 1. The two stories Shakespeare borrows for his Merchant of Venice. A study in the raw material of the romantic drama; 2. How Shakespeare manipulates the stories in dramatising them. A study in dramatic workmanship; 3. How Shakespeare makes his plot more complex in order to make it more simple. A study in underplot; 4. A picture of ideal villainy in Richard III. A study in character-interpretation; 5. Richard III, how Shakespeare weaves Nemesis into history. A study in plot; 6. How Nemesis and destiny are interwoven in Macbeth. A further study in plot; 7. Macbeth, Lord and Lady. A study in character-contrast; 8. Julius Caesar beside his murderers and his avenger. A study in character-grouping; 9. How the play of Julius Caesar works up to a climax at the centre. A study in passion and movement; 10. How climax meets climax in the centre of Lear. A study in more complex passion and movement; 11. Othello as a picture of jealousy and intrigue. A study in character and plot; 12. How The Tempest is a drama of enchantment. A study in dramatic colouring; 13. How the enchantment of The Tempest presents personal providence. A study in central ideas; 14. How Loves Labour's Lost presents simple humour in conflict with various affections and conventionalities. A further study in central ideas; 15. How As You Like It presents varied forms of humour in conflict with a single conventionality. A study of more complex dramatic colouring; Part II. Survey of Dramatic Criticism as an Inductive Science: 16. Topics of dramatic criticism; 17. Interest of character; 18. Interest of passion; 19. Interest of plot: statics; 20. Interest of plot: dynamics; Appendix; Index.