b /b b i The Death of the Actor /i /b reveals the tragicomic impotence of the actor confronting Shakespeare's dramatic text. Because actors are absent from the site of Shakespeare's meaning, Martin Buzacott argues, the illusion of their centrality is sustained only by a rhetoric of heroism, violence, and imperialism. This book examines those myths through which Shakespearean actors sustain their authority, and launches an all out attack on contemporary theatre practice and performance theory which identify the actor, rather than the director, as the key creative force in the performance of Shakespeare. br br Contemporary studies of Shakespeare in performance are influenced, Buzacott suggests, by the current vogue for identifying actors as respectable social and political figures, rather than thieves and vagabonds, as they were viewed in Shakespeare's time. In contrast, he defends Romantic critics like Lamb and Coleridge for their presumed preference for reading Shakespeare's plays rather than seeing them performed.