Readers and playgoers who are new to Shakespeare (and even more seasoned veterans who would like to appreciate him more than they do) often find themselves puzzled: what is going on? His characters speak in verse rather than in the patterns of everyday speech. They are figures that ordinary humans seldom encounter kings, queens, dukes, cardinals, and generals. Some of the plays are set in places even the most seasoned traveler is unlikely to have visited Bohemia, Illyria, and the ancient Greek cities of Asia Minor and in times from the distant past imperial Rome, medieval Venice, Homer's Troy. What's more, the plots pursue events that seemingly have little to do with the daily round of modern lives contention for a royal crown, assassination, shipwreck, occult visitation. Robert Fallon's small book is designed to dispel some of this apparent strangeness. It shows readers that what may at first seem unfamiliar to them is in fact close to their own lives. Kings and queens emerge as recognizable fathers and mothers, dukes and earls as squabbling siblings of any era. Exotic locales might be any present-day village or city block. And the plots resemble stories to be found in the pages of our morning newspaper. Shakespeare's language takes some getting used to, but even a brief acquaintance with its cadence and imagery will offer a glimpse of its glories. In How to Enjoy Shakespeare, Mr. Fallon explores Shakespeare's familiarity in five sections dealing with language, theme, staging, character, and plot, each abundantly illustrated with episodes and quotations from the plays. He writes in easily accessible prose in a book designed to make modern readers and audiences feel comfortable with the Bard.