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Macbeth (Penguin Popular Classics) Paperback – 25 Jan 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (25 Jan. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140620796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140620795
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 0.4 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 277,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's preeminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His surviving works, including some collaborations, consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire and was baptised on 26 April 1564. Thought to have been educated at the local grammar school, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he went on to have three children, at the age of eighteen, before moving to London to work in the theatre. Two erotic poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece were published in 1593 and 1594 and records of his plays begin to appear in 1594 for Richard III and the three parts of Henry VI. Shakespeare's tragic period lasted from around 1600 to 1608, during which period he wrote plays including Hamlet and Othello. The first editions of the sonnets were published in 1609 but evidence suggests that Shakespeare had been writing them for years for a private readership.

Shakespeare spent the last five years of his life in Stratford, by now a wealthy man. He died on 23 April 1616 and was buried in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. The first collected edition of his works was published in 1623.

(The portrait details: The Chandos portrait, artist and authenticity unconfirmed. NPG1, © National Portrait Gallery, London)

Product Description


"I "highly recommend" Campfire's comics. They do what they are intended to do and do it in a way that excites kids about classic literature."-- Chris Wilson, The Graphic Classroom (a resource for teachers and librarians) --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

"Wouldst not play false, And yet wouldst wrongly win."

Macbeth is a feat of dramatic genius compelling, as it does, the audience to sympathize with a cold-blooded murderer.

Encouraged by his ambitious wife and the prophecy of the witches, Macbeth, a noble warrior, slays Duncan the king and seizes the throne for himself. But in so doing, he has upset the natural order and cannot hope to prosper.

This edition of the text contains notes, a glossary and an introduction.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By D. Russell on 23 Jan. 2004
Format: Paperback
I studied this play for my English GCSE and automatically disregarded it because Shakespeare does sound pretty boring. However, once you understand all of the hidden meanings, themes, characters and sub-plots an entire world of betrayal, lust for power and ambition is released with the most magnificent subtlety.
I found the 'York Notes' guide book became essential and really helped me to fully understand the play for my coursework. Also watching the various film editions, including the RSC edition, made even more interesting.
The play starts with the significant and interesting three witches who tell Macbeth that he will eventually become king. Macbeth is an eager soldier of Scotland who feels hard done by when the King, Duncan grants his throne to his son after his death, rather than the more courageous Macbeth. His wife, Lady Macbeth urges him to kill the king in order to claim the throne but he soon realises that being King does not automatically bring the honour and loyalty he expects; this shortly leads to his downfall. In other words, "To be safe is nothing, but to be safely thus."
For me, Macbeth really got the 5star review because of its relevance to modern day life. For example, one theme of the book is that Macbeth is over ambitious, this leads him to his downfall; as does his greed for power. Making it something very relevant to celebrities and eager "pop idols".
This book really makes you think. Yet it does not require your undivided attention for days because it is one Shakespeare's shortest plays. You simply must read this book and there are loads of guides on the internet to help you through it if you find the old language particularly difficult. No matter what your age or ability I think Macbeth has it all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 1 May 2011
Format: Paperback
In the theater, people apparently don't call Shakespeare's "Macbeth" by its actual name -- it's usually called "MacB" or "The Scottish Play." The dark superstitions that hover around this play really show its power: it's a harrowing portrait of a weak man who spirals into a personal hell of ambition, murder and madness.

Shortly after a victory in battle, Macbeth and his friend Banquo are traveling home across a heath when they encounter three witches -- who greet him with "All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor! All hail, Macbeth! that shalt be king hereafter!"

When MacBeth is made Thane of Cawdor, he naturally begins to think that being king might be next in line. And when King Duncan visits his castle, Lady MacBeth goads her husband into murdering the king and framing a couple of innocent servants for the deed. As the witches predicted, MacBeth becomes king of Scotland.

But the witches also prophesied that Banquo would be the father of kings, so MacBeth starts tying off loose ends by hiring assassins to kill Banquo and his young son, as well as a wily thane named MacDuff and all of his family. But though MacBeth believes himself to be safe from everyone, his fear begins to grow as madness and guilt torment him and his wife...

One of the most fascinating things about "Macbeth" is how evil it is -- mass murder, insanity, bloody ghosts, a trio of manipulative witches pulling MacBeth's strings, and a nice if weak man who becomes a raving murderous paranoiac. Shakespeare starts the story on a dark note, and it gets darker and bloodier as the story winds on to its bleak climax.

In fact, the entire story is a two-part spiral -- things get tighter and more intense, even as MacBeth and Lady M. get crazier and more violent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Reader under a wild olive tree on 25 May 2006
Format: Paperback
How many modern plays do you think will still be gripping audiences and in regular performance to full houses four hundred years after they were written?

Why is this play so great? Written by a genius every word, every phrase, builds together to create the drama and tension of a man and his wife whose lives and country are torn apart by unlimited ambition. This could be the plot of a 21st century blockbuster film, but it isn't. On the other hand, wait a few weeks and undoubtedly it will be!

The skill of Shakespeare is to make us simultaneously love and loathe our two chief characters - to want them to be punished for their crimes whilst sympathising with their suffering. By the end of the play you don't know whether to laugh or cry for them. Once you've read it make sure you go and see it live in the theatre and experience the magic.

This is a cheap and cheerful copy of the play - good enough to write notes all over if you are a student, practical enough to keep on the shelf for reference if you are a Shakespeare addict. For this give away price how can you not have one of these on your shelf?
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By Brownbear101 on 28 July 2010
Format: Paperback
Witches, ghosts, power politics and foul deeds are all here in a terrific study of greed for, and abuse of, power. Probably one of the easier Shakespeare plays to get to grips with.

Briefly the play is set in 14th Century Scotland at a time of civil war. Duncan holds the throne supported by Macbeth, Banquo and McDuff but opposed by the Thane of Cawdor and a force of mercenary Norwegians. Duncan's forces win the battle.

Leaving the battlefield, Banquo and Macbeth come across three witches or fiends who predict that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor and then king of Scotland and that Banquo's heirs will become kings but not Banquo himself. The two men don't know what to make of this and are astonished later when they arrive at Duncan's camp to find that Cawdor has been executed and his title bestowed on Macbeth. Almost immediately Macbeth starts to plot as to how to become king. His wife suggests that they murder Duncan who comes to stay that night, and this they do, pinning the blame on Duncan's two sons and his bodyguards.

Now starts some glorious plotting and counterplotting. Macbeth realizes that he must kill Banquo and his son in order to thwart the predictions of the witches but Banquo's son escapes thus leaving open the possibility that Banquo's line will occupy the throne.

Macbeth's power base starts to unravel, first Banquo's ghost appears to Macbeth and then McDuff flees to England to join up with Duncan's son Malcolm. As a result Macbeth has Macduff's family murdered causing support for Macbeth in Scotland to fade. He seeks out the witches again who tell him that his kingdom is safe until Birnam wood moves to Dunsinane and moreover that man born of woman can't kill him.
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