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Macbeth (Folger Shakespeare Library) Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 2003
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""Macbeth" is a blast...ghoulish...beguiling...sardonic...an expression of how captivating an evening of crackling Shakespeare can be." -- Peter Marks, "The Washington Post"
"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—an older daughter Susanna and twins, Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son, died in childhood. The bulk of Shakespeare’s working life was spent in the theater world of London, where he established himself professionally by the early 1590s. He enjoyed success not only as a playwright and poet, but also as an actor and shareholder in an acting company. Although some think that sometime between 1610 and 1613 Shakespeare retired from the theater and returned home to Stratford, where he died in 1616, others believe that he may have continued to work in London until close to his death.
Barbara A. Mowat is Director of Research emerita at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Consulting Editor of Shakespeare Quarterly, and author of The Dramaturgy of Shakespeare’s Romances and of essays on Shakespeare’s plays and their editing.
Paul Werstine is Professor of English at the Graduate School and at King’s University College at Western University. He is a general editor of the New Variorum Shakespeare and author of Early Modern Playhouse Manuscripts and the Editing of Shakespeare and of many papers and articles on the printing and editing of Shakespeare’s plays.
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Top customer reviews
The play is set in Scotland. The king is Duncan. His not faithful lord, called “thane” in Scotland at the time, is Macbeth. And he has a wife who has become a symbol of all wives who relentlessly push their husbands to be “successful,” and who is normally addressed with the misnomer of “Lady.” (“That’s no lady, that’s my wife”...but I digress). As Cliff Notes will tell you, Duncan is murdered in his sleep, with those proverbial “long knives.” Macbeth skillfully diverts the blame to his body guards, who are conveniently also killed (a death man tells no tales) while also casting suspicion on Duncan’s sons, who have fled for their lives to further shores. How many times, throughout all the cultures and civilizations of the world, has this scenario basically unfolded?
Throughout many of his plays Shakespeare utilizes elements from the ancient Greek plays, such as prophecy and a “chorus” that predicts future events, often esoterically. In this play, Shakespeare uses three witches around a cauldron, stirring, and if there is one line that most people remember from the play, it is the first line of their chorus: “Double, double, toil and trouble.”
A fellow Amazon reviewer noted a quip that Shakespeare’s plays are simply quotes strung together, a humorous way of noting that many portions of the play have entered the popular, albeit intellectual portion, of our culture. For example, after the first Iraq War (yeah, I know, it is hard to say which one was the first one now), the cover to the “The Economist” featured the line: “When the hurlyburly’s done.” My first high school reading failed me, and I had no idea this was a reference to a line in Macbeth’s opening scene, with the second line being: “When the battle’s lost and won.” And is that battle lost or won? Proving the enduring relevance of Shakespeare in so many settings, later in the same scene he writes: “Her husband’s to Aleppo gone, master o’ the Tiger.” I haven’t seen “The Economist” use that line to refer to its British citizens going to fight for ISIS.
Another quote that I remembered, and life experience has proven to be so true: “Sleep that knits up the ravel’d sleeve of care.” Hum. Another quote that life experience proves true: “Lechery, sir, it provokes and unprovokes: it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance. Therefore much drink may be said to be an equivocator with lechery: it makes him, and it mars him... makes him stand to and not stand to...” Finally, so that I literally don’t quote the entire play, another classic scene that personally resonated, due to my travels, was Lady Macbeth’s efforts to wash the blood off her hands, and she proclaims: “All the perfume of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.”
Another excellent, still so relevant play of Shakespeare, that needs to read more than twice. 5-stars, plus.
Still, this is a great book. But because the kids are having a hard time with it, I whipped out the LEGO Shakespeare tragedies book and the Gareth Hinds Macbeth book to coax them along.
It makes a convincing case that Edward de Vere was the author. I will never read or look at performances of Macbeth in the same way.
If you are interested in Macbeth and Shakespeare, this is a must read. Frank.
It may be tough to get into Shakespeare at first, but after some persistence it pays off!
Overall this is a good way to read Shakespeare and has helped me pick up nuances that I didn't pick up in the original text.