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Book Overview: Macbeth

The authoritative edition of Macbeth from The Folger Shakespeare Library the trusted and widely used Shakespeare series for students and general readers.

In 1603, James VI of Scotland ascended the English throne, becoming James I of England. London was interested in Scottish things, and Shakespeare turned to Scottish history for material. He found a spectacle of violence and stories of traitors advised by witches and wizards, echoing James's belief in a connection between treason and witchcraft.

In depicting a man who murders to become king, Macbeth teases us with huge questions. Is Macbeth tempted by fate or by his or his wife's ambition? Why does their success turn to ashes?

Like other plays, Macbeth speaks to each generation. Its story was once seen as that of a hero who commits an evil act and pays an enormous price. Recently, it has been applied to nations that overreach themselves and to modern alienation. The line is blurred between Macbeth's evil and his opponents' good, and there are new attitudes toward both witchcraft and gender.

This edition includes:

  • Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play
  • Newly revised explanatory notes are conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play
  • Scene-by-scene plot summaries
  • A key to the play's famous lines and phrases
  • An introduction to reading Shakespeare's language
  • An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play
  • Fresh images from the Folger Shakespeare Library's vast holdings of rare books
  • An up-to-date annotated guide to further reading
  • Essay by Susan Snyder

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, is home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeare's printed works and is a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit Folger.edu.

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PublisherSimon & SchusterSimon & Schuster
Publication Date2003-07-012013-10-08
Dimensionsin x in x in
Weight lbs
William Shakespeare, a name synonymous with literary brilliance, was an eminent English playwright, poet, and actor. Born in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, in 1564, he emerged as a pivotal figure in the literary world, whose contributions still reverberate today. His expansive array of work, spanning from historical narratives to tragic dramas and comedic plays, showcase his remarkable understanding of human nature and complex emotions. Deciphering life through the lens of the stage, Shakespeare wrote 39 plays, 154 sonnets, and two narrative poems in his lifetime. His most celebrated works including dramas like "Romeo and Juliet," "Macbeth," "Hamlet," and "Othello" are embedded into the international literary curriculum due to the timeless relevance of their themes. His vivacious characters, captivating dialogue, and intricate plots redefined storytelling. Dying in 1616, Shakespeare had already reached notable acclaim. The real surge of his global recognition, however, was posthumous. Today, he is widely regarded as the greatest playwright in history and the English language's finest writer. His insightful exploration of human psyche, societal norms, political dynamics, and the essence of love transformed literature forever. Shakespeare remains an enduring icon, providing endless inspiration to generations of artists, writers, and thinkers.

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