Shakespeare's plays explore a staggering range of political topics, from the nature of tyranny, to the practical effects of Christianity on politics and the family, to the meaning and practice of statesmanship. From great statesmen like Burke and Lincoln to the American frontiersman sitting by his rustic fire, those wrestling with the problems of the human soul and its confrontation with a puzzling world of political peril and promise have long considered these plays a source of political wisdom. The chapters in this volume support and illuminate this connection between Shakespearean drama and politics by examining a matter of central concern in both domains: the human soul. By depicting a bewildering variety of characters as they seek happiness and self-knowledge in the context of differing political regimes, family ties, religious duties, friendships, feuds, and poetic inspirations, Shakespeare illuminates the complex interdynamics between self-rule and political governance, educating readers by compelling us to share in the struggles of and relate to the tensions felt by each character in a way that no political treatise or lecture can. The authors of this volume, drawing upon expertise in fields such as political philosophy, American government, and law, explore the Bard's dramatization of perennial questions about human nature, moral virtue, and statesmanship, demonstrating that reading his plays as works of philosophical literature enhances our understanding of political life and provides a source of advice and inspiration for the citizens and statesmen of today and tomorrow.