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Showing 1-10 of 29 reviews(4 star). See all 141 reviews
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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on January 28, 2016
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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 September 12, 2002
Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's more gloomy plays. It is downright grim. It starts grim and only gets blacker... ...It is one of Shakespeare's better plays
Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's more ambiguous main characters. Motivation is always a big question with him. Sure, he is hungry for power. Yet he also needs prodding from several quarters to take most of his actions.
Lady Macbeth is really no different. She comes off as eager for evil early on, but is utterly shocked by its repercussions. Her attempt to go against nature leaves her absolutely unhinged and thirsting after guidance--only to find despair. In this regard, Shakespeare anticipates the psychology of Dostoevsky.
Macbeth is also one of Shakespeare's most supernatural plays. Regardless of whether one wants to debate the reality of Banquo's ghost, there are forces at work in Macbeth that are often unseen, but which drive the plot. The witches and all the unnaturalness come up against the forces of nature (the trees) and the divinely appointed King.
The most remarkable thing about this play is, for me at least, that it becomes a true tragedy only in its last moments. Only when all the stuff has hit the fan, and he has realized his doom is eminent, does Macbeth show the courage and nobility of a true tragic hero.
Macbeth is a great place to start if you are new to Shakespeare. It is a fun place to return if you're not.
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on July 21, 2003
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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on April 1, 2000
I don't feel "Macbeth" quite matches "Hamlet" or "King Lear." Nevertheless, it is a phenomenal piece of literature. The witches add a chilling demonic feature. It is interesting that even though they deceive Macbeth, they do not tell complete falsehoods. Except for the crimes of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, they are actually a real likeable couple. They stand by each other and cover each other's mistakes. We can see that their marriage is a successful one. Also, unlike Richard III or Goneril, they do not have the gift of blankness. They clearly regret their actions and suffer for them. Duncan is well drawn as a benevolent and virtuous king who is too trusting. Malcolm is fine as a sharper version of his father. King James' ancestor Banquo is well drawn as a virtuous general who is sharp enough to see through the witches' flattering promises, and eventually returns from the dead to confront his killer. Macduff and Siward are fine as the 2 Dimensional champions of good. The drunken porter offers us a few welcome laughs. Ross and Angus are interesting in that their gradual change from being supporters of Macbeth to enemies of Macbeth emphasize Macbeth's degeneration. Seyton is fine as the man who remains loyal to Macbeth to the end. Lennox is interesting as the man who never swallowed the 'official story' of Duncan's death. He says that Duncan was murdered by: "Those of his chamber, AS IT SEEMED...." (2.3.119). Being the cautious man he is, he waits until an absurd 'official story' of Banquo's death comes out before he becomes an enemy of Macbeth. So we have chilling images, lots of action, 3 D protagonists, good characters, evil characters, suspicious characters, naive characters, malignant forces, historical foundations, memorable passages, and even some comic relief. If you like this play, I suggest the B & W production with Orson Welles as Macbeth.
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on December 10, 2002
I first read this play in high school
but have never seen it played.
It has lost none of the bite it takes from you by time.
After reading Cymbeline which takes place in even earlier times,
one grows to appreciate the beauty of the poetry and
the craft of the writing in this master work.
I think that Shakespeare must have changed much in his
productions at the actors requests, so that one part has more speaking
length than another even when it doesn't seem to do the play any real good,
but I think it is the witches and the ghost who steal the show
in Macbeth. What chance have mere mortals when spirits compete?
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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 August 4, 2000
Just what the world needs: ANOTHER opinion on MacBeth. Even if you ARE reading this, chances are you already know at least a little bit about this play, which is (for good reason) yet another plume in Shakespeare's hat.
Long before I was familiar with Macbeth, I knew and appreciated the most powerful line in the play: "Out out, damn spot!" This frantic plea is delivered by Lady Macbeth, while sleepwalking, in a scene near the end of the play, as her psychological guilt and paranoia surface in her subconscious by night.
The guilt, of course, is the result of the play's most significant action, Macbeth's murder of the Scottish King, Duncan, carried out with the intention of seizing the throne for himself. But as both Lord and Lady Macbeth (who coerced him into and was party to the murder) find out, such actions do not bring closure to a problem -- they simply establish more serious ones.
As in all the Great Shakespearean Tragedies (TM), of course, there is a tragic hero with a tragic flaw, which will result inevitably in his downfall. In this case, Macbeth seems to be the tragic figure (making this the only play in which the protagonist becomes the villain), and his tragic flaw is the burning ambition for power which leads him to kill. What is most unusual about Macbeth is the audience's inclination to sympathize with Macbeth, even in murder -- the motive is a good one, and the resulting course of action is all too plausible, and we sympathize because there is a Macbeth in each of us.
Like the better portion of Shakespeare's work, it's hard to attempt a serious criticism of this text now... it's been an established masterpiece for far too long. And, as usual, not without reason.
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on September 1, 2002
Yes, it's great - a big, bloody free-for-all replete with heroic speeches and stunning falls from grace; the kind of book that begs to be read aloud... but I'm left with a few disappointments.
First of all, why does Lady Macbeth get all the credit for being the evil, pushy madam behind her husband's misdeeds? He is himself consumed with ambition and bent on murder from the time he hears the witches' prophecy ... Lady M only plays a minor part in shoring up his determination when the knife briefly trembles in his hands. From then on, he's off and running with no need of encouragement.
Second of all, why is Macbeth remembered as a tormented man racked by guilt? Aside from brief mention (eg, the appearance of Banquo at the feast) I did not see much evidence of M's guilty conscience, as the body count skyrocketed and he continued to hack apart every man, woman, and child who stood between himself and the throne. Lady M, who ends up wandering the halls of her castle and muttering about the blood on her hands while her husband is still off fighting doggedly for his own survival, is much more the guilt-ridden of the two.
I have the sense that popular culture has distorted the original plot, as often happens. Not quite what I expected... but still terrific.
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