Witches, decapitations, and shameless attempts to pander to King James. Screw your courage to the sticking place, and you'll not fail English class! . For generations, students have been introduced to Shakespeare by being forced to spend a month copying down vocabulary words and diagraming iambic pentameter while listening to Hairy Nate, the mouth breather in the back row of their English class, read out loud from Julius Caesar at a rate of four words per minute. It’s no wonder that Shakespeare has a reputation for being boring! Well, the famous Smart Aleck Staff is ready to help all you back row hooligans go into class knowing more about Shakespeare than most of your teachers! Whether you’re a Shakespeare newbie or a scholar who just enjoys cracking jokes about Harold Bloom, THE SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO SHAKESPEARE series is just as informative and hilarious as their acclaimed SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO AMERICAN HISTORY (Random House 2009). The included Shakespeare 101 guide, included with all of our Shakespeare guides, covers: … The important roles of sex, violence, and poop in Elizabethan life. … Shakespeare’s mysterious “lost plays.” … Shakespeare’s rowdy friends. … The Elizabethan theatre scene … What you need to know about the English language in Shakespeare’s era. … Words you’re likely to run into in Shakespeare (“wherefore,” “anon,” “hie,” “fain,” “prithee,” “sluttery,” and others that are used differently now, when they’re used at all). … Things modern scholars fight about (watch out for flying folding chairs!) … Did Shakespeare really look like he always does in paintings? … How to spot the sex puns and fart jokes … A few of our favorite monologues (mostly ones about corpses). It’s everything you need to take over the class in one short (42,000 word) book - without resorting to showing drawings of Shakespeare wearing sunglasses or rewriting Hamlet to make it sound like the instructions to an NES skateboarding game from 1991! The MACBETH guide also contains: - The full play, with analysis of each scene - Character List -"Whose Macbeth Is It, Anyway?" (or, is the text we have really just Thomas Middleton's attempt to punch up an older Shakespeare play?) - A section on witches in Shakespeare's day - and ours. - A piece on the "curse" of Macbeth - A whole section about the play's connection to Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" to go with our usual speculation about what a Muppet version of MACBETH would be like - "Who is the Third Murderer?" - A review of Macbeth from 1610. - A bit on the debate about whether the "weird sisters" are "witches" or "Fates" - A "Macbeth Scorecard." - A section of stupid hats from various productions of the play. - "The Shakespeare Capers Vol. 1: Foul is Fair" (a hard-boiled detective story starring "Duke" Stratford, private eye, which has nothing to do with the play). Reading Shakespeare is hard. There's no point in lying and saying that it isn't, and rapping the sonnets won't really make it any easier. But Shakespeare never dreamed people would still be reading his stuff, and didn't care one bit about whether people in 400 years would understand his work. Learn the stuff he expected his audience to know, and understanding his work gets a LOT easier. We're the Smart Aleck Staff. We're here to help.