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Macbeth Paperback – June 20, 2015
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Macbeth full title The Tragedy of Macbeth is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare and is considered one of his darkest and most powerful works Set in Scotland the play illustrates the damaging physical and psychological effects of political ambition on those who seek power for its own sake The play is believed to have been written between 1599 and 1606 and is most commonly dated 1606 The earliest account of a performance of what was probably Shakespeare s play is the Summer of 1606 when Simon Forman recorded seeing such a play at the Globe Theatre It was first published in the Folio of 1623 possibly from a prompt book It was most likely written during the reign of James I who had been James VI of Scotland before he succeeded to the English throne in 1603 James was a patron of Shakespeare s acting company and of all the plays Shakespeare wrote during James s reign Macbeth most clearly reflects the playwright s relationship with the sovereign
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Pelican produced a great cover and fit and finish on this book. It's engaging and looks great on the shelf. I'm dying to pick up all of them because as a series they will utterly dominate a shelf. Very striking, and the line illustrations are gorgeous.
Unfortunately, it's more of a mixed bag on the inside. Small margins and cheap paper feel disappointing. I'm going to spend the most time on the inside, so why would I buy a poor-quality interior? The Barnes and Noble series of Shakespeares, though much uglier on the outside, have really helpful notes and references throughout, and are printed on a spacious layout and great-quality paper.
Up to you whether cover or interior rules, but for me, I think I'm sticking with the B&Ns. It's a shame though, wish these were nicer on the inside.
In the end, I think Horatio should have become president of Denmark, and we could have saved a bunch of centuries figuring socialism out.
It has everything I have come to expect and enjoy from Oxford Shakespeare: an excellent introduction that covers all aspects of the play from history to production notes, and challenges actors have and may face. The annotation, footnotes, references, and more are all there. It can be read in total or just the play itself (the annotation providing semantics).
I am no expert on bookbinding or paper. With that said, the jacket and binding seem to be very durable. The paper, although not stated (that I could find) as "acid-free" is certainly of higher quality than the newsprint paper currently popular with many publishers. Unless you are looking for a "quick-read, throw-away" I feel confident you will not be disappointed.
The general introduction also includes: a survey of sources and analogues, enlivened by a summary of Freud's interpretation of the three caskets; a brief account of the 'myth' of Venice, particularly its reputation for impartial justice; an estimate of the play's date (1596-7); and a helpful critical analysis which gives prominence to the theme of "bondage and bonding".
Halio's annotation of the text is generally proficient and admirably frank in rendering sexual double entendres and is frequently illuminating in its references to modes of staging; the lengthy note on "Nerissa's ring" is exemplary in both these respects. As with other volumes of the Oxford World's Classics Shakespeare series, there is a good range of pictorial material and a very useful index.