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Showing 1-10 of 3,053 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 4,603 reviews
Lies, deceit, treachery, poison, knives in the night, justified paranoia, guilt, revenge... it is all there, and more, in this classic story of how the lust for power can literally drive people crazy. It can also kill them. I first read this play of William Shakespeare as a high school reading assignment, the way the vast majority of people do. Lo’ these many years later, I’ve undertaken a project of re-reading a lot of those H.S. reading assignments, including the plays of Shakespeare, in part to determine how much I missed the first time around, which, in two short words is normally: a lot.

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.
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on June 16, 2017
My favorite inexpensive version for teaching my middle school students. I use the text and buy a few No Fear editions but I don't share those until I've taught kids how to unpack the language with scanning and paraphrasing. If I wait for awhile, almost all of my students can decode the R and J in the original language. Great edition. Highly recommended.
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on April 30, 2015
Another wonderful classic beautifully bound in a lovely treasured keepsake by Collector's Library. Having almost 20 of their books, I am always so pleased add another to my "Collector's Collection." Gilded edges, lovely illustrations at a very reasonable price. Who could ask for anything more?
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on January 7, 2016
We've had good luck with the "Made Easy" series... but this version of Macbeth is trickier than others in the series. Macbeth is a trickier play, I grant you. But the paraphrasing does not follow the Shakespeare as well as it could.

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.
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on October 12, 2014
I think I understand Macbeth and the authorship better than i ever have. This book is a very thoroughly researched and well written account.
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.
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on April 20, 2015
I purchased these for my 9th grade English students. They love them! It is a wonderful resource for developing deeper understanding in all students. The visual connection to the text allows for more consistent pacing, strong comprehension of plot, and a well developed insight into character dynamics. The only issue with the text is that there is no indication on the page as to who each character is. As a class we pair the graphic novel with the play text so it is easy enough to make the connections visually, but inconvenient regardless. Overall, a great product. Basic quality that you would see from any graphic novel but an incredibly valuable resource for students to see and experience Shakespeare in a way that truly engages students and allows for a more genuine interaction and conversation with and about Romeo and Juliet.
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on July 21, 2016
One of Shakespeare's finest works. After you read this, you'll find similarities to this plot in many other books and films. Interesting characters, fantastic story-line. Note that this play can be read/downloaded for free legally many places online, but I always prefer to have the physical book.

It may be tough to get into Shakespeare at first, but after some persistence it pays off!
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How can a reviewer give Shakespeare a three-star review, other than all those high school students who prefer to write two sentence 1-star reviews because they were forced to read it? Ah, there’s the rub, to coin a phrase, but I am NOT giving Shakespeare 3-stars: rather the edition I have just read, and even less than three stars for the manner in which Amazon displays the editions. It is just flat confusing, and wrong. Since I started my effort to read all of Shakespeare, at the pace of one work a month, I have been purchasing all the works for Kindle reading. The edition I purchased does have a cover which corresponds with the cover (currently) displayed on Amazon – the statue in the fountain, with the portico in the background. But the edition is (maddeningly!) incomplete – the last few pages are missing! At least the confirmation was comforting – a couple other reviewers gave it a 1-star review – for incompleteness, and not because they were forced to read it. And who could quibble with that?

Then there is the matter that at least two other hardcopy editions are displayed on the same page, and the “editorial reviews” that are associated with the Kindle edition seem to have absolutely nothing to do with the edition since they speak of “copious and concise explanatory notes” et al., with the other review mentioning appendixes that relate to Plutarch, Montaigne, et al. And none of this exists in the edition I purchased, admitted for only 99 cents... but still. If this was a page on Wikipedia, there would be three separate whisk brooms, with the admonition that “this page needs to be (really!) cleaned up.

Oh yes, was there an actual play involved in all the above grousing? Definitely, and I must have read 95% percent of the complete play, which poses its own sort of dilemma in terms of recording the play as “read.” It is yet another classic story – historically based – of power, corruption, intrigue, and death. The death of Julius Caesar marked a key transition in Roman history, from Republic, in its faded forms, to Empire.

As with so much Greek and Roman drama, Shakespeare commences with a prophecy warning of the ides of March. A prime plotter against Caesar, Cassius, brings in Brutus (of “et tu?” fame) and seeks the “respectability” of bringing in the “silver hair” of Cicero. There are refreshingly “modern” and straightforward details such as Cassius relating incidents from his youth together with Caesar, a swim in the Tiber (in which the latter almost drown) to an illness in Spain, all proof, he says, that Caesar is not a god. There is a discussion among the plotters about killing Mark Anthony too, but then the consensus is that it would be too much like a butchery, and not a “seasoned excise” of this ugly boil upon the Republic.

Caesar is killed, literally on the floor of the Senate, obviously long before those ubiquitous metal detectors. He is killed half way through the play, so the remainder is devoted to the (naturally inevitable?) falling out among the plotters, including a key division between Cassius and Brutus. Anthony performs a brilliant funeral oration, that seems to argue on the justice of the killing, but actually turns the tide against the plotters. He allies himself with Octavius, who would become Emperor.

At one level, an “exhausting read” of intrigue and perfidy that makes “hanging chads” a much preferable method for power transitions. Who would have thought I’d say that? The plotters do lose out in the end... if I only knew what that actually end was! 3-stars, reflecting a “triangulation” between an excellent play and an incomplete edition that did not live up to its advertising.
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on January 26, 2017
This review is for the kindle version of the Arden Third Series Revised Hamlet. Great book with helpful notations/comments/essays. Only complaint is that the play's text is both black and blue (links to notations) on Kindle fire. This can be kind of an eyesore while trying to read. Perhaps if Bloomsbury could change the color?
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on October 9, 2015
Be sure to read the original text and the modern text, otherwise you can miss important things like "Malcolm, who will not have the title of prince of Cumberland". The word *not* in that sentence should be *now*, which essentially makes the sentence mean exactly the opposite of what it was meant to mean. Most of the other typos are minor though.

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.
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