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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: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"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.

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Customer Reviews

This is a superb theatrical play, and quite possibly one of the all-time greatest.
Eric S. Kim
It provides explanatory notes , an introduction to understanding Shakespearean language and a key to famous lines and phrases.
alexandra josephine
Overall, Folger Library has again successfully annotated and published another Shakespeare play.
J. Lynn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 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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5 of 5 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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18 of 23 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 Bridget Wood on January 8, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Shakespeare surprises me again with another one of his classics, Macbeth. The story takes place in Scotland, ruled by the Scottish King Duncan. Macbeth, the main character of the play, and Banquo are the Kings generals. They were very successful with defeated two armies, one from Ireland and one from Norway. The king praised his brave generals, but that was enough for Macbeth. He wanted to be king. So he sets his mind to do so. Macbeth is not the only one who wants him to be in power. Lady Macbeth, being his wife wanting the wealth and attention, has the same dream. A dream to have King Duncan murdered. Macbeth stabs Duncan in his sleep, but plan to blame it on the chamberlains. But how do they do it? By getting the chamberlains drunk, so when they wake up the next morning, their memory would be gone. Giving Macbeth the right to assume the kingship. But there is still an obstacle in the way. Banquo is just as worthy to become king as Macbeth is. So what does Macbeth presume to do? He hires three murders to kill Banquo to assure he becomes the king of Scotland. The murders were also ordered to kill Banquo son, Fleance, but he escapes into the night before they could reach him. Macbeth’s rage grows inside, as he is still afraid his kingship is in danger. The Macduff and Prince Malcom, family of King Duncan, finds out about Macbeth’s whereabouts from Fleance, they want to challenge Macbeth’s forces. Macduff and Prince Malcom’s forces were much stronger against Macbeth’s. Macduff approached Macbeth, then proceeds to kill and then behead Macbeth, giving the power over to the Prince. Shakespeare gives us examples of tragedy throughout this whole play. Macbeth showed selfishness and greed, giving us a life lesson to appreciate the things we have and have to come to us in the future.
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