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Macbeth [Mass Market Paperback]

William Shakespeare
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 1 2003 Folger Shakespeare Library
Each edition includes:

• Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play
• Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play
• Scene-by-scene plot summaries
• A key to famous lines and phrases
• An introduction to reading Shakespeare's language
• An essay by an outstanding scholar providing a modern perspective on the play
• Illustrations from the Folger Shakespeare Library's vast holdings of rare books

Essay by Susan Snyder

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeare's printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit www.folger.edu.

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Review

"The explosive and overwhelming effect of a truck bomb...this horrific, riveting "Macbeth" ought to be seen by as many people as possible." -- Terry Teachout, "The Wall Street Journal"

About the Author

William Shakespeare was born in April 1564 in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, on England’s Avon River. When he was eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway. The couple had three children—their older daughter Susanna and the twins, Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son, died in childhood. The bulk of Shakespeare’s working life was spent, not in Stratford, but in the theater world of London, where he established himself professionally by the early 1590s. He enjoyed success not only as a playwright, but as an actor and shareholder in an acting company. Sometime between 1610 and 1613, Shakespeare is thought to have retired from the stage and returned home to Stratford, where he died in 1616.

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Thunder and lightning. Enter three Witches. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Handy Edition with Puzzling Introduction Jan. 4 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A handy little paperback pocket edition of the great play you've read and seen many times. The 1994 Penguin Popular Classic edition is interesting because it includes twenty-two pages of introductory material about Shakespeare, his times, and the play itself, all written by an unnamed editor who uses the first-person and discusses editorial choices made in this version. The editor emphasizes the fact that there are weaknesses and holes in the text, caused by Shakespeare's writing on a short deadline in 1606 and by the fact that later editors and actors and compilers probably cut-and-pasted large sections. The result, counsels the editor, is that some scenes (including Hecat's speech in III-v, and the witches' appearance in IV-i) is "probably not by Shakespeare".
This is rather a large leap. It may be true, but we have no way to know for sure. Other credible scholars (Levi, Bloom) note that these sections are unique, but do not aver that they are not by Shakespeare. In any event, it is rather interesting that this editor devotes so much space to this notion, and misses the opportunity to discuss other --more important-- elements of the play, such as the subtle poetry of Macbeth's speeches, the "post-Christian" religious significance, the blood-darkness-water themes, the parallels to Lear, or the political connections between Scottish Thanes and British Earls.
Another quibble is with the notes: all the text notes and vocabulary are at the end of the book, so an interested reader is constantly riffling back and forth. Penguin should have followed Folger's admirable lead and put the text notes on the same pages as the text itself.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite Shakespeare... Dec 12 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am a fan of Shakespeare, and I have a lot more reading to do until I've completed all his works. However, I have to say out of the plays I have read, Macbeth is one of my least favorite. I feel like you know almost everything that is going to happen after the three witches appear. I understand the themes, but sometimes I feel like they are so blatant, and hardly masked by the characters and the rest of the story. I think people should read Macbeth, but I don't think it's his best work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Original Gangster Sept. 16 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Macbeth is the original Scarface. A man murders his way to the top and loses his mind and his loved ones in the process. Shakespeare at his best!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  41 reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece "To the last syllable of recorded time." April 10 2005
By CJ Mackelvane - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Macbeth" comes out as one of William Shakespeare's darkest and murkiest plays, most likely as a result of being written during one of Shakespeare's darkest times in his own life. This play strays away from the more common Shakespearean formula that contains a hero and his demise resulting from a specific tragic flaw. In "MacBeth", the title character is not a hero, but rather a villian. MacBeth murders the king of Scotland to bring truth to a prophecy given to him by three witches (the famous "toil and trouble" sisters). After assuming the throne, MacBeth returns to the witches and requests to hear the circumstances of his own death. The witches tell MacBeth he cannot be killed by any "man of woman born." Under a false assumption of near immortality, MacBeth relaxes his gaurd and perhaps displays his own tragic flaw of over confidence.

Focusing on the power corrupt and merciless villain MacBeth and his dastardly and influential wife Lady MacBeth, this play works as a twisted look into a mind poisioned with greed and hate. Though pessimistic and disturbing, this play must not be dismissed. It contains some of the most poetic language and beautiful lines ever to be written. It is no mystery that MacBeth stands as one of the most quoted works in literature. It is however a mystery that Shakespeare could create something so magnificient in a period when he saw life as "...a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yale's may be the best edition of Macbeth Dec 30 2005
By kaream - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Virtually all editions of Macbeth will have at least some annotations. Rummaging through five different editions, I preferred the Yale University Press version, edited by Burton Raffel, as having the most comprehensive and comprehensible notes, as well as an excellent introduction to Shakespeare's play. Raffel not only explains the meanings of obscure words, but also gives brief notes pertaining to relevant history, geography, stage directions, etc, that are rarely addressed as fully by other editors. In addition, Raffel frequently gives the proper way to stress the syllables in a line when reading it aloud, which can be extremely helpful. (However, in most places these stresses need to be very subtle, so that you don't sound like "taDUM taDUM taDUM".) And Yale's page layout is among the clearest that I've seen.

(To find this edition: at Avanced Search, enter ISBN 0300106548; or, enter Macbeth as title, and either Raffel as author or Yale as publisher.)

As a bonus, this edition includes at the back a long essay on the play by Harold Bloom. This is not an uninteresting commentary, but Bloom desperately needs a good editor. His essay is not only at least three times longer than it should be, but is startlingly repetitious. Yale would have been wise to have asked Bloom for a rewrite.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Macbeth does murder sleep... Dec 9 2010
By Rodolfo Lazo de la Vega - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Macbeth" is Shakespeare's most compact and perfectly constructed play. It's wordplay, emphasis on 'equivocation,' 'manhood,' and on 'murdered sleep' are interwoven into a rich tapestry of architectonic poetry and psychological insight dazzling even for its author. The dramatic work it most closely resembles in this regard is Sophocles' "Oedipus Tyrannus," which the poet most likely studied closely in Latin translation. Sigmund Freud thought that the central motif of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" was "the curse of childlessness." Unable to have children, Macbeth murders them. Lady Macbeth tells us that she has "given suck, and know how tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me." Yet when the heroic MacDuff is confronted with the loss of his wife and children his only explanation for the enormity of the crime is to say of Macbeth, "He has no children." We must thus assume that Lady Macbeth's child was from a previous marriage (this accords with Shakespeare's historical sources) and that the witches' prophecy about Banquo's succession has confirmed for him that Fate has indeed placed upon his head a "fruiltess crown" and into his hand "a barren scepter." The relationship between Macbeth and wife is one of the most intriguing, loving, yet dreadful in Shakespeare and the psychic evolution of the two as they drift apart is striking for how unforeseen yet truthful it strikes us. The hitherto strong-willed Lady Macbeth collapses with guilt while the weak-willed Macbeth, by his attempts to reclaim his masculinity through the achievement of power, becomes so bloodthirsty that he almost tames and thoroughly familiarizes himself with the dark powers that consume his unprepared wife.

Macbeth's soliloquies rival Othello's as the most powerful poetry Shakespeare has ever placed into the mouth of one of his characters. The entire work is a stunning poem. Among my favorite lines are Macbeth's haughty salutation of the witches, "How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags!," his "Tomorrow and tomorrow" speech and the Sophoclean

"Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red."

"Macbeth" greatly rewards many re-readings and stands alongside "Oedipus Tyrannus," "King Lear," "Prometheus Bound" and "Othello" as one of the half-dozen great plays. It is a psychologically powerful work about evil, how a destructive action injures in the attempt to soothe, and the desires born of one's own weaknesses to obliterate the presence of others in order to make room for oneself. The New Folger Library edition is strongly recommended.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Handy Edition with Puzzling Introduction Jan. 4 2004
By Richard R - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A handy little paperback pocket edition of the great play you've read and seen many times. The 1994 Penguin Popular Classic edition is interesting because it includes twenty-two pages of introductory material about Shakespeare, his times, and the play itself, all written by an unnamed editor who uses the first-person and discusses editorial choices made in this version. The editor emphasizes the fact that there are weaknesses and holes in the text, caused by Shakespeare's writing on a short deadline in 1606 and by the fact that later editors and actors and compilers probably cut-and-pasted large sections. The result, counsels the editor, is that some scenes (including Hecat's speech in III-v, and the witches' appearance in IV-i) is "probably not by Shakespeare".
This is rather a large leap. It may be true, but we have no way to know for sure. Other credible scholars (Levi, Bloom) note that these sections are unique, but do not aver that they are not by Shakespeare. In any event, it is rather interesting that this editor devotes so much space to this notion, and misses the opportunity to discuss other --more important-- elements of the play, such as the subtle poetry of Macbeth's speeches, the "post-Christian" religious significance, the blood-darkness-water themes, the parallels to Lear, or the political connections between Scottish Thanes and British Earls.
Another quibble is with the notes: all the text notes and vocabulary are at the end of the book, so an interested reader is constantly riffling back and forth. Penguin should have followed Folger's admirable lead and put the text notes on the same pages as the text itself.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite of the tragedies. Jan. 22 2005
By S. Schwartz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have always loved the story of Macbeth. Yes, it is bleak, but there is still hope expressed throughout. The comic breaks within the play are memorable. Who can forget the drunken porter? What about the three witches stirring their cauldron? Shakespeare's little gems throughout his tragedies are the soliloquies, and Macbeth has a number of memorable ones. The play explores the nature of ambition and the complexities of moral responsibility. It is a story of a nobleman driven to murder at the bequest of his power-hungry wife. Then we follow these two as each of them slips deeper and deeper into madness. Shakespeare sets the scenes so well in this play - the cold, draughty castle, the lonely moors. Because this play is so short, the action moves along quite quickly. And this also has the effect of showing Macbeth's descent into madness very quickly too, which makes it seem so much more horrible. Wonderful!
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