on July 28, 2001
Without a doubt, this is the worst audio book I have ever heard. One of the things we take for granted in any movie, radio broadcast, or audio book is that we will be able to hear what the actors are saying. Not so with this disastrous recording of Macbeth.
The players in this production, demonstrating the worst kind of over-acting, spend half the time shouting at the top of their lungs, and half the time whispering so softly you can't hear them. Worse yet, they alternate between the two, for no apparent reason, constantly. The audio engineers, who could have rescued us from this tragedy, chose to do nothing. You will spend the entire duration of this play with your hand on the volume control. Yet you will be unable to hear most of what is said. You will spin the volume up and up in utter frustration, only to be nearly deafened by the next bout of bellowing.
These comments are based on the Harper Audio CD, introduction by Harold Bloom. Hopefully, these criticisms will not apply to other recordings of this superb play, although Amazon may show these comments on the page next to other recordings.
on May 31, 2001
For centuries, Shakespeare's plays have been praised as incredible masterpieces. They are awful, and Macbeth is a good example. It's just completely stupid.
Near to the end, Macduff goes to England to find Malcolm to get an army. Never mind the fact that Malcolm had fled, and therefore would have no power in another country. The main thing is that they get an army, and go to Scotland. If you were living at this time would you really drop everything and risk your life to kill some king in a foreign country when you are not even going to take control of that country? Of course not.
Also, why didn't Macbeth just use the Scottish army to stop Macduff's army? They successfully stopped previous English attempts to invade Scotland (in real life this is) so why couldn't they do the same now?
Finally, the most stupid scene is when Macduff's army camouflages with branches. Surely someone would have noticed them walking through the rest of Scotland to get to the castle.
As well as the completely unnatural dialogue (if you've just been told that your father has died, you don't start talking about birds) it's too corny to be raised above "terrible". The plot is a standard "Good Guy ruling wisely, Bad Guy kills Good Guy and becomes Evil Overlord, gets killed by another Good Guy and they all live happily ever after."
In short, this is unbelievably bad. I only know it so well because it has been forced down my throat for over a year.
on December 15, 2000
My one star is not directed toward OTHELLO, which is one of Shakespeare's greatest dramatic achievements, but is directed toward Ms. Sean Ares Hirsch, who is either one of the dumbest readers I know of or one of the most facetious (I pray the latter). She refers to this minor piece as "Shakespeare's slump" and elaborates by saying that the play's characters, minus Iago, are flat. Looking at the fairly impressive amount that Ms. Hirsch has read (possibly in the WORLD CLASSICS FOR CHILDREN series), it is unthinkable to conclude that she is actually as mentally challenged as she appears. She contradicts nearly 400 years of criticism in slighting OTHELLO, something that I recall a couple of well-known drug users in one of my high school English classes doing 25 years go. I must admit that I occasionally become concerned that Ms. Hirsch is actually being candid when reading her reviews, which are rather unimaginative and when grouped into three categories (works she doesn't like, works she likes fairly well, and works she loves) and then read, all begin to repeat themselves in trite groups of three. Yet, considering the fact that if Ms. Hirsch were to turn in one of her reviews (especially the ones on OTHELLO and TWELFTH NIGHT, which is, though AS YOU LIKE IT is a close second, probably Shakespeare's greatest comedy) to even a kindergarten teacher, she (Ms. Hirsch) would be thoroughly laughed at, I must conclude that these reviews are largely sarcastic-possibly clever parodies of those of the average construction-worker critic. OTHELLO is, as I am sure Ms. Hirsch actually believes, one of Shakespeare's greatest plays, though not, of course, quite matching LEAR or HAMLET. I would like to try my hand at one of Ms. Hirsch clever parodies. Don't judge me too harshly. Be kind. I am not as skilled as she is. Here we go: ............. Review of AS YOU LIKE IT: "My only complaint about this play is that Shakespeare overtly forced himself to include Rosalind, Jacques, Touchstone, Orlando, Duke Senior, and above all Phebe. Had he excluded the aforementioned figures from the action, he could have indeed much improved this so-called "problem play". Although this play lacks the hilarious tone of Webster's WHITE DEVIL or the superb construction of Carlos Williams's RED WHEELBARROW, it is a fine play. Duke Senior's defiant usurpation of the woodlands and Rosalind's atavistic reversion to conspicuous, though hardly narcissistically cogent, transvestitism do not effect the play's nefarious, wholly phallic destruction. The play's conclusion at the joyous feast of Hemline rectifies all wrongs and negates our suspicions concerning Shakespeare's sexual unrest or "rough and all-unable pen" (certainly a Freudian reference). If you read this, knowing not to expect a virile Bard, you may find it a very pleasant play."
David Lawrence, D.D.T. (email@example.com)
on January 6, 2000
This play is truly sickening. The villain, Iago, is actually a fairly common person in real life, the kind of person whose greatest joy is seeing others in misery, who loves to turn people against each other and laugh. I used to work with an Iago. You probably did too. Shakespeare deserves a lot of credit for creating this villain. But the play itself is too much. As I'm sure you know, Othello's sweet wife Desdemona, well maybe I shouldn't spoil the horrid ending if you actually don't know it. Iago convinces Othello that his wife is cheating on him. Othello believes the wrong person. The Iagos of the world are very persuasive, particularly when they are smarter than the people they are lying to.
on July 14, 2009
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.
on July 14, 2009
Can't complain about the price, but the cover illustration is wrong (wrong publisher), there are no 'notes, 'sources', 'index' and too many more to mention, and the book is 92 pages, not 469+ (as according to 'Click to look...' nor 112 as stated in the product description section). Why do you show me the 2006 Oxford University Press edition if that's not what you're selling me? The fact that you mention you're showing me another edition of the book does not make this any less misleading.
on May 3, 2003
This version is horrible. I was looking for one of those Shakespeare versions that footnoted the words and phrases you didn't understand, so you could piece together the meaning yourself. Instead, this version gives you very a very simplistic interpretation of the text, every step of the way. I wouldn't recommend this edition to anyone.
on December 7, 1999
These editions of Shakespeare by New Folger Library are absolutely awful. They dumb down the Bard, as if people couldn't possibly understand Shakespeare unless they have plot summations. Frankly, they disgust me. I'm not saying Shakespeare's a breeze, but to read him in this watered down format is a travesty.
on October 29, 2003
I cannot say I truly like the main focus this reviewer stuck to. Not to be rude, and I do see your point, but Shakespeare, being a an, is naturally going to have a masculine out look in some of his stories. But I believe the story was genius not through anything else but the character of Dogberry. I know you're probably thinking "He had barely any dialogue and the dialogue he did have was ridiculous" but the fact is that his stupidity and his unique perception of reality not only provided a bases of humor into the story but also the salvation of the story. I do not wnat to give the play away so I will not say how but...this is a wonderful play and not because Shakespeare wrote it...but because of its absurd genius. Thank you. And I only give it a 1 because I haven't read this book yet for the play I am merely just expressing my own opinion of the actual play itself.
on October 15, 2003
Look, here it is. I know everyone says how great and everything Othello is and that this Shakespeare guy is like a genius. But what it comes down to is it is just like this white guy from Ireland who never went to Italy and stuff and like all his plays all take place there and stuff. I mean, did Shakespeare actually know someone named Romeo? But that's not the point. This whole play sucks. I didn't get involved at all and I couldn't relate to none of the characters. Plus when my teacher said that Othello is actually black, I, as a white person, took offense to it. So to all you out there in cyber space, just avoid this no matter what. And if you were like assigned it for class say that you won't tolerate racial prejudice. Or read the Cliff Notes, like I did.