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on March 30, 2017
Truly no fear. I am one of those people who may hesitate to read Shakespeare, but with the modern translation, it was very easy to follow. However, I would like to read it several time times more without it, so that I can truly enjoy the poetry and the beauty of Shakespeare. After reading the book, "Scotland" by Magnus Magnussum, Macbeth was even more interesting.
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on August 30, 2017
There are no spaces in the text, and the modern English is not in a column next to the old English. The printed version has the modern English on the page next to the old English. I don't see anyplace where I can "return" the e-book.
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on August 17, 2016
It's Shakespeare; who are we to critique the writing?

Although it's been more than 40 years since I graduated with a degree in English and I've retired from a non-literary career in government, I still read Shakespeare on a regular basis. I'm updating my collection with volumes that will fit into my backpack for travel. This edition fits nicely and the binding protects it from being bent better than a paperback.
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on December 14, 2015
The general introduction to this Oxford edition begins appropriately with a discussion of the possible anti-Semitism of "The Merchant of Venice". The editor Jay Halio claims that the treatment of Shylock is highly ambivalent, so that the character "transcends the type, shatters the conventional image with his appeal to our common humanity, and leaves us unsettled in our prejudices, disturbed in our emotions, and by no means sure of our convictions" (p. 13). After a detailed survey of stage productions through the ages, Halio concludes, "'Whether the play is itself anti-Semitic or not depends largely upon one's interpretation, on the stage as on the page" (p. 83). While this is obviously true, and while Halio properly draws attention to a range of ambiguities in the play's depiction of both Shylock and his Christian adversaries, the word "largely" raises a question to which many scholars have offered a challenging, hostile answer.

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.
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on August 6, 2017
The book's shape overall is just fine but while I was reading, I noticed that the margin titles of the scenes skipped from Act 2 Scene 2 to Act 2 Scene 4. But the actual "chapter" header of where Act 2 Scene 3 should be was correct. Not sure if it's just some book quirk but I thought i should just point it out. Book is eh, I am forced to read it for summer reading purposes so there's that.

Also- the shipping and handling part made the book cover edge a bit skidded so the paperback has a ridge like effect.
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on October 22, 2017
In spite of its tragic topic and dark characters, ever since high school this play has been my bliss. First, I read it to be the typical teen snob. I’m 64 now. For every part of my life, Hamlet has been a part of my life. Whether it was attending a performance of Hamlet or listening to it on audio books and records, there has never been another play that has lent itself to the greatest speaking voices and words that are both poetry and truth. Who could ask for anything more?
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on September 29, 2016
Purchased this as required reading for my sons' high school literature classes. They have used several in the series, and it makes understanding Shakespeare MUCH easier. They juxtapose the traditional play on one side with modern translation on the other....most kids don't realize what amazing stories he tells because the language just seems...well, weird. They can finally understand what the teacher is actually trying to talk to them about -- imagery, figurative language, symbolism and style -- in a way they can actually relate to. Very useful book to expand on why Shakespeare was one of the greatest storytellers of his time.
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on April 14, 2018
There are many versions of Shakespeare's play that give excellent annotations, and as far as that goes, I like the layout of the book. But the line numbers are done wrong. This will not matter to many, and if you don't care about line numbers then this will be a good book for you. I teach English and spend a couple of class periods explaining how the numbering works and how two or three actors can each have a single part of a single line of poetry. None of that lesson works with this book except to point out how even editors can get it wrong or don't really care. Still I want to emphasize that if you are not picky about line numbers then this is a 5-star book for you--good intro and good materials at the back of the book.
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on August 4, 2017
I've never been a fan of Shakespeare, but other than "Macbeth", I really enjoyed reading The Tempest. I liked that The Oxford Shakespeare series provides insight of the play beforehand. It makes struggling students understand more about the themes and characters. The series helped me a lot for my literature class and the assigned essays (I passed my class with an A). It also made me realize how much I can enjoy reading Shakespeare if I take the time to read the plays and their accompanying analyses.
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on April 28, 2013
Inspiring all of his other comedies that basically fit into the exact same plot structure and storyline, TWO GENTLEMEN is a fun, predictable romp through Verona's streets. As with all of his other romcoms, Shakespeare sets out to tell a tale of misplaced love, unwanted affection, crossdressing, and simple twists of fate that lead our characters astray, and then together once more by the end. There is a silly villain, letters that never reach their intended, and disguises, all coming together to build comedy using situational and dramatic irony.

I read this as an undergraduate in college, and found it to be fun, but now as an adult and having read all of Shakespeare's works (and even other author's interpretations of Shakespeare's work such as The Tragedy of Arthur and Macbeth II: The Seed Of Banquo) I find the work to be mediocre and predictable. That isn't to say it isn't good - but as the Reduced Shakespeare Company says, "Why Did You Write Sixteen Comedies, When You Could've Written Just 1?"

It's true. This play is the same as TAMING, MIDSUMMER, MERRY WIVES, and others (well, not really the Tempest - but none of his plays are like the Tempest), and it really is the formulaic inspiration that is copied in the other comedy texts. It is effective in one major place - the fact that it made Mr. Shakespeare money, and he was well aware of what his audiences liked.

That is not to say it is a bad play - it isn't at all. There are some genuinely funny places in it (my favorite, "...but you are so without these follies that these follies are within you, and shine through you like the water in an urinal"). I suppose it is the grand application of the man's works that include the comedies that so uncannily resemble one another that makes readers of Shakespeare like me scratch his head. Change the location and the character names and a couple events? New title, new play. But it is a fun story, and I would have loved to see this and all the others performed in London in 1595, regardless. Would I still have the complete works as my only book on a desert island? You bet. Would I resent the comedies a little after 20 years on this desert island, though? Maybe, but I would still have the great tragedies and histories to keep me company.
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