What is the significance of Shylock's ring in "The Merchant of Venice"? How does Shakespeare create Gertrude's closet in "Hamlet"? How and why does Ariel prepare a banquet in "The Tempest"? In order to answer these and other questions, "Shakespeare and material culture" explores performance from the perspective of the material conditions of staging. In a period just starting to be touched by the allure of consumer culture, in which objects were central to the way gender and social status were experiencedbut also the subject of a palpable moral outrage, this book argues that material culture has a particularly complex and resonant role to play in Shakespeare's employment of his audience's imagination.