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TOP 100 REVIEWERon February 20, 2016
Even though the text in this particular book is available online, this side by side Elizabethan English and modern English translation of Macbeth is well worth owning. Aside from the extremely well-done translations of the old text, there are excellent explanations of what some of the lines are about. Most, as in 90% of students in high school, will struggle with Shakespearean plays, so this guide and definitive translation is a welcome addition to tools students can use to not only survive but also thrive in their English/Literature class. Obviously, for English majors, Shakespeare will also reappear in post secondary institutions, so again, this guide/translation may come to the rescue.
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on June 7, 2016
I'm not rating Macbeth, of course. It's a great play. What I'm rating is this edition of the text.

This is a good one. So far as I can see, the difference between good and bad eEditions of Shakespeare is first and foremost a question of whether the lines of the poetry have been preserved. Not all editions do this, which leaves the reader with a weird mishmash of paragraphs with capital letters sprinkled throughout the text. This approach - let's call it the Approach of Sloth - leaves a text that's unreadable.

But this text is fine. It's a safe choice.
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Macbeth by the great William Shakespeare is such a stupid book, when you really think about it. I remember being young, asking my parents who Shakespeare is, and later asking if his plays were interesting, in their opinions. My dad liked Hamlet, but no one ever said anything about Macbeth. And then I discovered that I would be reading it for English class in tenth grade, and they both admitted that it's dumb. I didn't believe them, because Shakespeare is one of my favourite writers and I love the way he plays with words. And then I actually read this interesting story about greed and pride, and I discovered that they were completely right. Being a tragedy and all, we readers could immediately understand what to expect with this story: Macbeth is a tragic hero, therefore he dies, and others will die too, because of his great tragic flaw. It couldn't have been more dumber—but I was intrigued by this stupidity and the predictability of this great play. In the end, I must say that it was seriously great.

Many people have issues enjoying/reading books that are required for them to read because of school. I rarely have had that issue, because I find that my English teachers are doing a good job with choosing books for the curriculum that people my age would actually enjoy/relate to. Macbeth isn't totally relatable, as we don't live in a period of time where Canada/America has a king or queen, but we always do undergo these phases of greed or jealousy. This tragic play by Shakespeare explores supernatural aspects in the midst of a time setting of royalty and power in Scotland.

"See, see, our honour'd hostess.—The love that follows us sometime is our trouble, which still we thank as love. Herein I teach you how you shall bid God yield us for your pains and thank us for your trouble."

It's a simple yet complex plot. Macbeth is a Thane of Glamis in Scotland, being successful in battle and being known as the courageous man in their land. He has a high reputation, and is admired by King Duncan. After three witches approach Macbeth and his friend Banquo and tell him that he will become Thane of Cawdor, and later King, Macbeth strives to make these prophecies come true. Banquo thinks that the witches were all in their heads, being hallucinations, but Macbeth is naïve enough to know that this is no joke. He murders Duncan, and becomes King, of course, keeping a hidden identity as a murderer/assassin.

Of course, that's the climax moment. As every Shakespearean tragedy, the protagonist (or antagonist, as Macbeth is) undergoes this downfall or deterioration. That was the most interesting part of the play, in my opinion. Although I hated Macbeth's character so much as well as his utter stupidity compared to his kick-ass wife, Lady Macbeth, he was the highlight of the play and I felt that it was very important to pay close attention to his character. I was correct. Throughout the play, even though Shakespeare's use of language is very complex and nuts, compared to your average authors of modern day, or even other playwrights, I was so interested. Thank goodness my teacher did not give my class a pop quiz on who said what line. I would've died of fear.

"What, sir, not yet at rest? The king's abed. He hath been in unusual pleasure and sent forth great largess to your offices. This diamond he greets your wife withal, by the name of most kind hostess, and shut up in measureless content."

Macbeth is not as good as Romeo and Juliet, as I always look forward for some romance in the novels/plays I read, though I really enjoyed it. I felt a tight connection to the characters, and as soon as I realize how much I liked their character, they die. This kind of had the Game of Thrones vibe, I must say. From the start of the play, I had a feeling that I would rate this five stars, but that deteriorated a little in the middle where I couldn't stand Macbeth and his actions. Yes, that was supposed to occur, but it kind of got on my nerves, as intended.

William Shakespeare always knows how to derive his stories from a perfect setting, well mostly because he was fortunate to have been living in that particular time period as well. No author could mix up a perfect play like this and mould such a good setting into it as Shakespeare has. With the ghosts, witches, royalty and different themes, I was in love.

Macbeth has always been known as a classic, but I definitely see why. I ended up writing a comparative essay on this lovely story and you will find inspiration through this, too, even though it is quite predictable. All in all, there are no other stories like this in the whole world, and even if one does pop up, we will know what the original is. Get ready to love-and-hate this as well as one of the most popular antagonists in all of literary history, Lord Macbeth.
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on February 12, 2014
i am beyond please with this book. i was having a hard time with the original writings but this made it easier to understand and appreciate the writings of Shakespeare. i recommend the no fear versions to anyone that struggles with anything written in old english.
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on May 23, 2015
For $5, this is a pretty good find, but if you are not already well-versed in Shakespearean English, or you are purchasing this version to use with a class of students, don't bother. It lacks the helpful footnotes offered in other versions - this copy has a few supplementary notes for each page, but other versions have WAY more explanations and details, making them much easier and more enjoyable to read. Opt for an Oxford copy.
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on January 4, 2014
I used this as a companion to the script in the rehearsal for a professional theatre production. Very helpful and informative during those times when actors and the director need a boost. Easy to understand and very relatable.
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on June 10, 2014
I have read "The Scottish Play," a few times, but wanted a Kindle version. This was a great choice. Included with the play, are papers explaining different aspects, vocabulary and even suggestions for reading it- in iambicpentameter.
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In the theater, people apparently don't call Shakespeare's "Macbeth" by its actual name -- it's usually called "MacB" or "The Scottish Play." The dark superstitions that hover around this play really show its power: it's a harrowing portrait of a weak man who spirals into a personal hell of ambition, murder and madness.

Shortly after a victory in battle, Macbeth and his friend Banquo are traveling home across a heath when they encounter three witches -- who greet him with "All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor! All hail, Macbeth! that shalt be king hereafter!"

When MacBeth is made Thane of Cawdor, he naturally begins to think that being king might be next in line. And when King Duncan visits his castle, Lady MacBeth goads her husband into murdering the king and framing a couple of innocent servants for the deed. As the witches predicted, MacBeth becomes king of Scotland.

But the witches also prophesied that Banquo would be the father of kings, so MacBeth starts tying off loose ends by hiring assassins to kill Banquo and his young son, as well as a wily thane named MacDuff and all of his family. But though MacBeth believes himself to be safe from everyone, his fear begins to grow as madness and guilt torment him and his wife...

One of the most fascinating things about "Macbeth" is how evil it is -- mass murder, insanity, bloody ghosts, a trio of manipulative witches pulling MacBeth's strings, and a nice if weak man who becomes a raving murderous paranoiac. Shakespeare starts the story on a dark note, and it gets darker and bloodier as the story winds on to its bleak climax.

In fact, the entire story is a two-part spiral -- things get tighter and more intense, even as MacBeth and Lady M. get crazier and more violent. Shakespeare litters the story with brutally intense scenes (Banquo's ghost crashing the dinner, Lady M. trying to scrub her hands clean) and powerful dialogue ("Shake off this downy sleep, death's counterfeit,/And look on death itself! up, up, and see/The great doom's image!").

The one flaw: Shakespeare's handling of the "no man born of woman" prediction is a bit lame. I mean, didn't that count as "born" back in Elizabethan times too?

Honestly, MacBeth is both a fascinating and repulsive character. He starts off as a nice ordinary thane with no particular ambition, but his weakness and his wife drive him to some pretty horrible acts. Before long, he's become somebody you desperately want to see diced into little pieces. And Lady Macbeth is little better, although there's a slight disparity between her ruthless ambition and her later insanity.

"MacBeth" is a story filled with stormy darkness and all-consuming fire -- a powerful depiction of evil and how easily we can be seduced. Just don't say its name in the theater.
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on January 31, 2013
If you are a student, this version of Macbeth is very helpful because it has the original text of the play, but also in the margins are explinations about what Shakespeare is refering to, what the metaphores and similies mean and definitions that make the Shakespeare style of english a bit easier to understand. I highly recommend this version to anyone who is new to reading Shakespeare.
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on June 10, 2004
Macbeth is the story of a general in the army of King Duncan of Scotland, who is approached by three witches, who plant the seeds of ruthless ambition in his mind, by predicting that he will be made King of Scotland.
He invites King Duncan to his castle, where encouraged by his, wife, he murders him.
He manipulates events to become King, and embarks on a reign of bloody tyranny, having all killed who stand in his way, or who he suspects may do so.
Macbeth is the story of tyranny and ambition. It is also the story of inner struggles and of Macbeth's own diseased imagination.
The primary villains of the play are the three witches. They do not simply predict, but indeed their soul aim is to sow evil and destruction wherever they can: " Fair is foul and foul is fair. Hover through the fog and filthy air."
Their motto seems to be an apt encapsulation of the dominant 21st century worldview. Indeed Orwell and Kafka where to predict a similar world where truth would be lies and lies would be truth, good would be evil and evil would be good, war would be peace and peace would be war. This twisted view of the witches is the worldview of Bolshevism and leftism today, where terrorists and dictators are lauded as 'revolutionary heroes' and those who defend against the former are vilified and reviled.
The three witches of today are academia, the media and the United Nations.
Lady Macbeth is but a pale shadow of the witches. She encourages her husband in his evil, but is destroyed by her own guilt.
She needs to call on the evil spirits to 'unsex' her and fill her with the direst cruelty, but at the end 'all the perfumes of Arabia' cannot wash away the guilt of her deeds.
The plea to be unsexed is relevant to the sexlesness of the cruel Bolshevik women of the last century and of women terrorists and women leftwing academics. These are generally sexless and totally cruel in pursuing revolution and the destruction of Judeo-Christian civilization.
Lady Macbeth was outwardly beautiful but most of these unsexed women of the revolution have not. Unlike Lady Macbeth they have achieved the being of the three witches for whom they resemble.
The play is indeed full of rich irony- how Macbeth persuades the three murderers that Banquo is responsible for their misfortunes, twisting the truth to suit his unholy ends as the media so often does today.
Macbeth is brought to justice for his deeds. His arrogance is his downfall.
The benevolent influence though, in this story is the doctor of physic - the voice of compassion and religion who says while attempting to heal Lady Macbeth- "More she needs the divine than the physician-G-D, G-D forgive us all"
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