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Macbeth Paperback – 2 Jul 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (2 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140623477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140623475
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 0.7 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 578,777 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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 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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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful 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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Format: Paperback
There is no doubt about what Shakespeare's best plays are; namely the 7 tragedies written between 1599 and 1608 (Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Macbeth, Othello and Titus Andronicus).
But why say that Macbeth is perhaps the best one?
There has been a lot of pointless and fun debate about what Shakespeare's best play might be and there will be even more debate about in the future.
But why not say that Hamlet the best is or Othello, King Lear like most people do say?
Well for 2 reasons:
Best complex villain: Shakespeare has tried trough out his whole carrier to create his perfect image of a villain. To take a historical figure which does seem almost pure evil and portray him such a way that his actions will look almost justified. So that the audience will be able to sympathize and understand a person which they normally would condemn him as being as terrible and say that his actions could not have any reasonable justification. And together whit Brutus in Julius Caesar Shakespeare does succeed best in this whit Macbeth. Macbeth might have been in realty a terrible man, but here he is shown as a innocent good men who got messed up almost by accident in the middle of the events that take place and Lady Macbeth is portrayed as the real villain.
A amazing prophesy factor: A lot of Shakespeare's play have that what I will call here the prophesy factor. A lot of his characters which are going straight towards their damnation. Often get to know about their future damnation. Very common in plays of his time. In Macbeth this is shown very beautiful how a man aware of how he will come to his end goes still straight towards it unable to avoid it.
Look also out for the part in the ending whit "the man born not out of a womb".
If you decide to pick up a copy of Macbeth or are about to go and view a production of it, I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I did.
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