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Macbeth (Folger Shakespeare Library) Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Series: Folger Shakespeare Library
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743477103
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743477109
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"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"

About the Author

William Shakespeare was born in April 1564 in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, on England’s Avon River. When he was eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway. The couple had three children—their older daughter Susanna and the twins, Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son, died in childhood. The bulk of Shakespeare’s working life was spent, not in Stratford, but in the theater world of London, where he established himself professionally by the early 1590s. He enjoyed success not only as a playwright, but as an actor and shareholder in an acting company. Sometime between 1610 and 1613, Shakespeare is thought to have retired from the stage and returned home to Stratford, where he died in 1616.

More About the Author

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in April 1564, and his birth is traditionally celebrated on April 23. The facts of his life, known from surviving documents, are sparse. He was one of eight children born to John Shakespeare, a merchant of some standing in his community. William probably went to the King's New School in Stratford, but he had no university education. In November 1582, at the age of eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, eight years his senior, who was pregnant with their first child, Susanna. She was born on May 26, 1583. Twins, a boy, Hamnet ( who would die at age eleven), and a girl, Judith, were born in 1585. By 1592 Shakespeare had gone to London working as an actor and already known as a playwright. A rival dramatist, Robert Greene, referred to him as "an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers." Shakespeare became a principal shareholder and playwright of the successful acting troupe, the Lord Chamberlain's Men (later under James I, called the King's Men). In 1599 the Lord Chamberlain's Men built and occupied the Globe Theater in Southwark near the Thames River. Here many of Shakespeare's plays were performed by the most famous actors of his time, including Richard Burbage, Will Kempe, and Robert Armin. In addition to his 37 plays, Shakespeare had a hand in others, including Sir Thomas More and The Two Noble Kinsmen, and he wrote poems, including Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. His 154 sonnets were published, probably without his authorization, in 1609. In 1611 or 1612 he gave up his lodgings in London and devoted more and more time to retirement in Stratford, though he continued writing such plays as The Tempest and Henry VII until about 1613. He died on April 23 1616, and was buried in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford. No collected edition of his plays was published during his life-time, but in 1623 two members of his acting company, John Heminges and Henry Condell, put together the great collection now called the First Folio.

Customer Reviews

Overall, Folger Library has again successfully annotated and published another Shakespeare play.
J. Lynn
"MacBeth" is a story filled with stormy darkness and all-consuming fire -- a powerful depiction of evil and how easily we can be seduced.
E. A Solinas
If you enjoy reading Shakespeare, but find the archaic language hard to grasp at times, this is a good series for you.
Pastor JR

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By CJ Mackelvane on April 10, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Macbeth" comes out as one of William Shakespeare's darkest and murkiest plays, most likely as a result of being written during one of Shakespeare's darkest times in his own life. This play strays away from the more common Shakespearean formula that contains a hero and his demise resulting from a specific tragic flaw. In "MacBeth", the title character is not a hero, but rather a villian. MacBeth murders the king of Scotland to bring truth to a prophecy given to him by three witches (the famous "toil and trouble" sisters). After assuming the throne, MacBeth returns to the witches and requests to hear the circumstances of his own death. The witches tell MacBeth he cannot be killed by any "man of woman born." Under a false assumption of near immortality, MacBeth relaxes his gaurd and perhaps displays his own tragic flaw of over confidence.

Focusing on the power corrupt and merciless villain MacBeth and his dastardly and influential wife Lady MacBeth, this play works as a twisted look into a mind poisioned with greed and hate. Though pessimistic and disturbing, this play must not be dismissed. It contains some of the most poetic language and beautiful lines ever to be written. It is no mystery that MacBeth stands as one of the most quoted works in literature. It is however a mystery that Shakespeare could create something so magnificient in a period when he saw life as "...a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By kaream on December 30, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Virtually all editions of Macbeth will have at least some annotations. Rummaging through five different editions, I preferred the Yale University Press version, edited by Burton Raffel, as having the most comprehensive and comprehensible notes, as well as an excellent introduction to Shakespeare's play. Raffel not only explains the meanings of obscure words, but also gives brief notes pertaining to relevant history, geography, stage directions, etc, that are rarely addressed as fully by other editors. In addition, Raffel frequently gives the proper way to stress the syllables in a line when reading it aloud, which can be extremely helpful. (However, in most places these stresses need to be very subtle, so that you don't sound like "taDUM taDUM taDUM".) And Yale's page layout is among the clearest that I've seen.

(To find this edition: at Avanced Search, enter ISBN 0300106548; or, enter Macbeth as title, and either Raffel as author or Yale as publisher.)

As a bonus, this edition includes at the back a long essay on the play by Harold Bloom. This is not an uninteresting commentary, but Bloom desperately needs a good editor. His essay is not only at least three times longer than it should be, but is startlingly repetitious. Yale would have been wise to have asked Bloom for a rewrite.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rodolfo Lazo de la Vega on December 9, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Macbeth" is Shakespeare's most compact and perfectly constructed play. It's wordplay, emphasis on 'equivocation,' 'manhood,' and on 'murdered sleep' are interwoven into a rich tapestry of architectonic poetry and psychological insight dazzling even for its author. The dramatic work it most closely resembles in this regard is Sophocles' "Oedipus Tyrannus," which the poet most likely studied closely in Latin translation. Sigmund Freud thought that the central motif of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" was "the curse of childlessness." Unable to have children, Macbeth murders them. Lady Macbeth tells us that she has "given suck, and know how tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me." Yet when the heroic MacDuff is confronted with the loss of his wife and children his only explanation for the enormity of the crime is to say of Macbeth, "He has no children." We must thus assume that Lady Macbeth's child was from a previous marriage (this accords with Shakespeare's historical sources) and that the witches' prophecy about Banquo's succession has confirmed for him that Fate has indeed placed upon his head a "fruiltess crown" and into his hand "a barren scepter." The relationship between Macbeth and wife is one of the most intriguing, loving, yet dreadful in Shakespeare and the psychic evolution of the two as they drift apart is striking for how unforeseen yet truthful it strikes us. The hitherto strong-willed Lady Macbeth collapses with guilt while the weak-willed Macbeth, by his attempts to reclaim his masculinity through the achievement of power, becomes so bloodthirsty that he almost tames and thoroughly familiarizes himself with the dark powers that consume his unprepared wife.Read more ›
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Richard R on January 4, 2004
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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