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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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on April 22, 2000
When I first saw this copy of Macbeth, I was amazed--it wassothick that it looked more like a novel than a play. The reason forthis is 100 pages of introductory essays plus footnotes more thorough than most people would ever want. The introduction also has some very nice pictures, and the essays are insightful and the product of hideously scrupulous scholarship. The margins are slightly larger than average, allowing sufficient room for notes of your own (and it doesn't have that horrible newsprint-quality paper that makes it impossible to write on, like the Folger Shakespeare does). The only disadvantage to this edition is that...only about a third or so of the plays available from the New Cambridge Shakespeare, that it would be quite... impractical to use their texts for all your Shakespearean needs. However, for the student who needs a compact copy of the play to take to class, the New Cambridge Shakespeare is the best I've seen. (Of course, I haven't seen the Arden editions, which are also supposed to be very good.)
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on January 21, 2000
Shakespeare's shortest and bloodiest tragedy, MACBETH is also possibly the most serious. Macbeth is a warrior who has just had his greatest victory, but his own "vaulting ambition," the spectral promises of the three weird sisters, and the spurring on of his wife drive him to a treason and miserable destruction for which he himself is completely responsible. The ominous imagery of the fog that hovers over the first scene of the play symbolizes the entire setting of the play. Shakespeare's repeated contrasts of such concepts as fair and foul, light and darkness, bravery and cowardice, cut us to the quick at every turn. MACBETH forces us to question "what is natural?" "what is honor?" and "Is life really 'a tale/ Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury/ Signifying nothing?'" Few plays have ever illustrated the torments of guilt (especially how it deprives one of sleep) so vividly and stirringly.
I have read this play curiously as a child, excitedly as a teenager, passionately as college student, and lovingly as an adult and graduate student. Like all of Shakespeare's work, it is still as fresh, and foreboding, and marvelous as ever. As a play it is first meant to be heard (cf. Hamlet says "we shall hear a play"), secondarily to be seen (which it must be), but, ah, the rich rewards of reading it at one's own pace are hard to surpass. Shakespeare is far more than just an entertainer: he is the supreme artist of the English language.
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on October 10, 2002
This version basically served all of my needs. For those who are reading this for a class, don't expect a Cliff-Notes, but then it doesn't leave you stranded either. The margin notes are contiguous from Chapter and Act to Chapter and Act, allowing you to read it from cover to cover or over the course of days and still have a clear understanding of the metaphors and other figurative language present in the play. The extra materials were also worth looking at. The beginning gives you a good jumping off point if this is your first dabble at Shakespeare, but has some information my teacher didn't even know about! The section at the end of the book is filled with teacher materials such as study notes, re-caps, guidlines and the like. NB: the margin translations are very specific and very helpful if you are not accustomed to reading the Bard's works.
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on January 6, 2000
A disillusioned warrior is sick and tired of life and says Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time, and all our yesterday's have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Out out brief candle. Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Now that's a monologue!
This is a tale of ambition and murder, leading to civil war. The chief villain is Lady Macbeth, a real little over-achiever. She is one of the greatest villains in all literature. There's enough action and magic here to keep you on the edge of your seat, except for the fact that you already know the story inside out.
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on June 6, 2001
This play is my favorite of all the Shakespeare plays I have read, which is only 5 or so, but still, I love it. I was the only person in my quasi-remedial English class that felt sorry for the guy. I wrote poems about it--it's just inspiring. My only complaint is that Macbeth slipped too easily into rancor without as much resistance as I thought he should have had, but who am I to criticise the character development of a master? ^_^ In short--I'm the kind of person who likes plays and tragedy, so that could be why I love this so much. But for anyone with the same sentiments, I reccomend that you read this--although it's probably more fun to act out with some wannabe thesbian friends.
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on February 16, 2001
These comments are primarily about the New Penguin Shakespeare's 'Macbeth', rather than the play proper. (Classic literature has enough folks on the case without me throwing in my two-cents-worth.)
This is a good edition to act from. The book is cheap to buy, but well-made, with a good binding, print, and paper, AND the commentary is at the end, so the play's pages are clean and clear. The introduction is good, and somewhat witty. The Commentary is pretty good, too, but not as complete as I would have it. Everyone in the play should get a copy of this book, but the director will need more resources, I would think.
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on March 10, 2000
I read Macbeth a little while ago, and realized that it mirrored modern-day life a little too well. We have all known a Macbeth, who backstabs Banquo at the height of his power, or a Lady Macbeth who knows exactly how to move her chessmen on the board of life. One always has acted selfishly and asks the question "Was it worth it?" Sometimes, the ends truly justify the means, but, it often catches up to you, as it did Macbeth. I also found Richard III to be somewhat similar.
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on December 10, 1999
Macbeth is not one of my favorite Shakesperean plays, but it was still good. The characterization was great and revelation of Macbeth's inner thoughts was well-written and understandable. I'm still wondering about the indentity of the third murderer.
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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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