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Macbeth (The Pelican Shakespeare) Paperback – February 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Revised edition (February 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140714782
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140714784
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By kaream on December 30, 2005
Format: 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 sinbad on January 11, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am reviewing the Kindle format of this text, specifically.

The book quality is fine, and readable. But the footnotes (meaning: the links that explain the meaning of Shakespearean English phrases) are almost _all_ broken.

That means when you click the link to see what in the world is meant by the term, "rump-fed ronyon", you are taken to the wrong entry. So you still don't know what "rump-fed ronyon" means, unless you tediously thumb through the footnotes to find the correct page on your own.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James D. Crabtree VINE VOICE on September 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
As it has been a while since I've read Macbeth I'm glad that I read this edition. It was compact but easy to read. The material at the beginning of the book was excellent and helped put the play in context. And of course, as one of Shakespeare's works this is not just one of the most well-known but one of the easiest reads as well. Tragic, but worth reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. Wilfong on August 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
"Macbeth" boasts Shakespeare's most terrifying villain in that Macbeth is the Shakespearean villain that most reminds us of ourselves! Macbeth makes that first mistake, the murder of his king, and then he slides down the slippery slope killing more and more in order to cover up his original deed. What makes Macbeth so horrible is that he has guilt about his actions, unlike Shakespeare's other villains. However, he finds himself so ensnared in the web of murder and deceit that he can't ever get out. His murderous tentacles stretch out to engulf his best friend, an innocent women and her children, and others. It is in that terrifying feeling of a guilty conscience and no escape that we all can share, and thus Macbeth is truly frightening! We recognize him!
This play, while one of Shakespeare's shortest, boast two of his finest creations in Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The couple sizzles with sexuality, unlike most Shakespearean marriages, and the scenes where Lady Macbeth drives along her husband's weakening ambitions are as exciting as they come.
The supporting cast in this play is rather one note (with a few exceptions, the Porter chief among them) and I think Shakespeare intended it that way. This is an intimate study in evil, and its power over decent individuals, and the supporting cast is meant to merely back up these assertions about the leading couple, not distract from them.
Lady Macbeth tells her husband that if he "screws his courage to the sticking place, we will not fail." Bad advice, but we the reader get to go along for the nihilistic ride that follows.
A note on the Pelican edition...its opening essay by Stephen Orgel is a quick read, and an illuminating one. I have always preferred these editions to other Shakespeare editions. Nicely priced and well researched.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By BebopBoomer on November 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are completely familiar with Shakespeare's language and require no assistance with unfamiliar words or grammar and syntax from 400 years ago, then this might be a satisfactory text. But if, like myself, you are not so knowledgeable, you will probably share my irritation and disappointment with the Kindle version of the Pelican edition. I cannot get the footnotes into any sort of reasonable relation to the text; it's impossible to tell when there is a footnote, or where it is. I read using a Kindle app for my PC; perhaps this might work better on a standard Kindle. I would definitely not purchase this version if you have any doubts on these points.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Addison on June 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was such a promising e-book, but my experience was awful. With Shakespeare, it is critical that the links to the footnotes / end notes work properly. In this e-book, these end notes were not mapped correctly and they take you to the wrong note. I would like a refund or a fixed e-book. I can't use this one in the state it is in.
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Format: Paperback
A Friend and I continue to alternate between Pelican and RSC editions. I have the Pelican for Macbeth, and while it is good, once again it proves second best to the RSC version. Here's why. The Pelican text is very readable and extremely well footnoted. For $6.00 on Amazon one is tempted to say a steal. Except the RSC edition is only a dollar more and seems to have more enjoyable content plus a text as well laid out and annotated.

There is a scene-by-scene breakdown in the RSC version which is handy and to my taste features more readable and penetrating commentary. The RSC version (unsurprisingly) focuses on the theatrical qualities of the play, whereas the Pelican gives great shrift to the historical or literary. Frankly the emphasis on a power-hungry parricide and his blood thirsty wife is far more engaging then whether James I of England believed in witches.

The clincher though again, (as with the RSC edition of Lear) was the history of RSC performances--Pelican has a pleasant blurb for its edition from actor Patrick Stewart. RSC discusses Patrick Stewart's performance as Macbeth. To me, that made all the difference. So, well-done Pelican. But still not the best.
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