This book takes a new approach to Shakespeare’s plays, exploring them as dream-thought in the modern psychoanalytic sense of unconscious thinking.

Through his commitment to poetic language, Shakespeare offers images and dramatic sequences that illustrate fundamental developmental conflicts, the solutions for which are not preconceived but evolve through the process of dramatisation. In this volume, Meg Harris Williams explores the fundamental distinction between the surface meanings of plot or argument and the deep grammar of dreamlife, applied not only to those plays known as ‘dream-plays’ but also to critical sequences throughout Shakespeare’s oeuvre.

Through a post-Kleinian model based on the thinking of Bion, Meltzer, and Money-Kyrle, this book sheds new light on both Shakespeare’s own relation to the play and on the identificatory processes of the playwright, reader, or audience. Dream Sequences in Shakespeare is important reading for psychoanalysts, playwrights, and students.

1. The Individual and the Group: Richard II and Julius Caesar  2. The Reason of Love Objects: A Midsummer Night’s Dream  3. Dreamlife and Adolescent Identity in Hamlet and Ophelia  4. Dreams of Dark Corners: Legalism at Play in The Merchant of Venice and Troilus and Cressida  5. Explorations in Minus K: Macbeth and Othello  6. The Turbulence of Aesthetic Conflict: King Lear  7. Love and the Evolution of Thought: Antony and Cleopatra  8. The Organ of Consciousness in Cymbeline  9. A Dream of Reparation: The Winter’s Tale  10. The Birth of Ideas: The Tempest