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Macbeth


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"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"

From the Back Cover

One of the great Shakespearean tragedies, Macbeth is a dark and bloody drama of ambition, murder, guilt, and revenge. Prompted by the prophecies of three mysterious witches and goaded by his ambitious wife, the Scottish thane Macbeth murders Duncan, King of Scotland, in order to succeed him on the throne. This foul deed soon entangles the conscience-stricken nobleman in a web of treachery, deceit, and more murders, which ultimately spells his doom. Set amid the gloomy castles and lonely heaths of medieval Scotland, Macbeth paints a striking dramatic portrait of a man of honor and integrity destroyed by a fatal character flaw and the tortures of a guilty imagination.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Thunder and lightning. Enter three Witches. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael from Montreal on July 14 2009
Format: Paperback
Can't complain about the price, but the cover illustration is wrong (wrong publisher), there are no 'textual notes', 'modern perspective' or 'further reading' etc. and the book is 84 pages, not 221+ (as according to 'Click to look...' nor 96 as stated in the product description section). Don't show me the 2004 Simon & Schuster edition if what you are selling (1993 Dover Thrift Edition) isn't even close to what you're advertising.
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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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By K. Bentley on July 21 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's finest accomplishments. It is a good vs evil tale about a man, Macbeth, who apparently sees three witches, who are said to be prophets. He starts out as noble, serving the King of Scotland, and a brave and ruthless warrior ("unsealed him from the nave to the chops"). Repeated meetings w/ the three witches would have a profound effect on Macbeth, and his wife, Lady Macbeth. He slowly becomes deranged and hungry for power, and the entire play showcases his manipulative rise to the top, all the way to the point where he becomes the King of Scotland, and his eventual decline (also predicted accurately by the witches). It is full of awesome motifs, moral and interesting themes, great dialogue, action, and believable characters. The only reason I gave this 4 stars is because I had to read this my sophmore year of high school, and I had to analyze this book page by page, line by line, and the student teacher who taught it to us was obsessed with symbolism (like my sophmore teacher already was), and it diminished the appeal of the book to me, albeit slightly. Forget my past encounters in reading this book, because chances are they will not be helpful, but Macbeth is worth reading and analyzing, and it is easily one of Shakespeare's best plays.
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By A Customer on July 14 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is very difficult to read, not just because of the play's main theme -murder- as because of the main characters' stupidity, that baffles me. Blood and murder reign everywhere, as much as stupidity does. Nietzsche wanted to interpret Macbeth's evil as positive rebelliousness. But Nietzsche was too concerned to prove his rather boring Dyonisiac view of human nature to care about grasping the ironies of Shakespeare's genius. Rather than a celebration of ambition and evil, Macbeth is a play about the foolishness of a foolish couple who place too much faith in prophecy and turn to crime in desperation since, despite their love and lust for one another, Macbeth can't have children.
This is why it is Lady Macbeth who, because of her own unfulfilled motherhood, tries to lead her husband to murder somebody else's child, so as to restore his manliness to her eyes. And so she says to him: "Art thou afeard/ To be the same in thy own act and valour,/ As thou art in desire?"
The logic of Lady Macbeth is rather simple: "if you wish to do evil, how are you not "man" enough to do it?" Of course Macbeth does not want to look like a loser in front of his sexy wife, and, simply because of this vanity and his little intelligence, he leads himself into the hellish spiral of crime and murder that means the end of them both.
That Lady Macbeth is a hysterical woman with unsatisfied lustful desires is obvious when she becomes mad. That Macbeth is a fool is obvious in that he becomes a murderer for the only reason that he does not want to admit to himself that he is unfertile and that his wife is unsatisfied because of this.
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Format: Paperback
"Macbeth," the play by William Shakespeare, is definitely one literary classic that still holds its own as a vital and engaging piece of art. Despite being a stage play, it also works superbly as a reader's text apart from a theatrical setting.
The plot begins thus: Scottish warrior Macbeth is told by three witches that he is destined to ascend the throne. This fateful prophecy sets in motion a plot full of murder, deceit, warfare, and psychological drama.
Despite being a lean play, "Macbeth" is densely layered and offers the careful reader rewards on many levels. Woven into the violent and suspenseful story are a host of compelling issues: gender identity, the paranormal, leadership, guilt, etc. In one sense, the play is all about reading and misreading (i.e. with regard to Macbeth's "reading" of the witches' prophecies), so at this level the play has a rich metatextual aspect.
Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's most unforgettable tragic characters. His story is told using some of English literature's richest and most stunning language.
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