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The Oxford Shakespeare: The Tragedy of Macbeth (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

William Shakespeare , Nicholas Brooke
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

17 April 2008 Oxford World's Classics
Dark and violent, Macbeth is also the most theatrically spectacular of Shakespeare's tragedies. Indeed, for 250 years - until early this century - it was performed with grand operatic additions set to baroque music. In his introduction Nicholas Brooke relates the play's changing fortunes to changes within society and the theatre and investigates the sources of its enduring appeal. He examines its many layers of illusion and interprets its linguistic turns and echoes, arguing that the earliest surviving text is an adaptation, perhaps carried out by Shakespeare himself in collaboration with Thomas Middleton. This fully annotated edition reconsiders textual and staging problems, appraises past and present critical views, and represents a major contribution to our understanding of Macbeth. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks (17 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199535833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199535835
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 13.1 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,344 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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

Amazon Review

One of Shakespeare's greatest, but also bloodiest tragedies, was written around 1605/06. Many have seen the story of Macbeth's murder and usurpation of the legitimate Scottish King Duncan as having obvious connection to contemporary issues regarding King James I (James VI of Scotland), and the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. King James was particularly fascinated with witchcraft, so the appearance of the witches chanting "Fair is foul, and foul is fair" at the opening of the play seemed particularly topical, as was Macbeth's betrayal of Banquo, from whom James claimed direct descent.

However, the play is clearly far more than a piece of royal entertainment. It is also a fast-moving and dramatically satisfying piece of theatre. Macbeth's existential struggle between loyalty to his King and his "Vaulting ambition" is fascinating to watch, as his is struggle with Lady Macbeth, and her own terrifying refusal of her maternal role. The play shows an intensification of Shakespeare's interest in mothers and their effect upon ruling masculinity, and also contains some of the most memorable speeches in the entire canon, including Macbeth's reflections that ultimately life "is a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing". --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"An outstanding text for teaching Macbeth to college students."--Alvaro Ribeiro, S.J., Georgetown University"Excellent! Covers an enormous amount with scholarship and imagination in the introduction. A brilliant antidote for anyone who has suffered Macbeth in high school--excites further inquiry and a burning desire to see it performed again."--Nell Altizer, University of Hawaii"Invaluable, both as an introductory text and as an authoritative edition for serious scholarship. Students find the notes at the bottom of the page (as oposed to at the end of the text) handy and useful."--Sarah Liu, University of California, Berkeley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Macbeth was first produced at a time of radical theatrical change in England. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Full of sound and fury" 18 April 2012
By Roman Clodia TOP 50 REVIEWER
I really like these Oxford individual editions of Shakespeare, under the general editorship of Stanley Wells. The introductions and notes are generally up-to-date and informed by relatively recent research, and are attentive to performance as well as poetic text.

Macbeth is a well-known play, dark, tight and swift-moving as it charts a narrative of ambition, assassination, murder and - perhaps above all - guilt. The psycho-pathology of both Macbeth and the superlative though chilling Lady Macbeth makes this seem very 'modern' in lots of way. The poetry here is magnificent, and new readers will find themselves coming across many well-known quotes.

So all in all this is a great edition of this play and especially useful for students, teachers and readers new to Shakespeare since it includes glosses and notes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Oxford Shakespeares are, I think, an excellent first choice for non-academic readers such as myself. The introduction is helpful, readable and - most importantly for those of us who are actually reading for pleasure - actually adds to one's enjoyment of the play.

Tone of footnotes and introduction is, thankfully, never of awful dumbing-down that besets the Macmillan current editions,

References are all on the page rather than collected at the back of the book,

Paper is of a high quality,

Binding is solid,

Typeface is clear and elegant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What I expected 20 Feb 2014
By ellie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Has a few essays printed as well as the play itself. Came when I expected. Lovely print too as well as a cast list and definitions. No issues.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very user friendly read. 2 Aug 2012
By Two Leg Spider - Published on Amazon.com
I last read Shakespeare in college, which due to the setup of the book, was much more tedious than it needed to be. This edition really shines in my eyes by having all the extra stuff (explanations of reference, definitions of archaic words, etc.) on the same page as the text of the play. This saved me from flipping back and forth continuously, which made this version very worth it. As for the book itself, it is my favorite tragedy by far, as it explores the darker side of ambition and the effects of unnatural acts on the mind. "Lay on Macduff, and damned be he who first cries hold!"
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Oxford Shakespeare: Macbeth 17 July 2012
By alicia - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book arrived in about a week from when it was ordered, it is in fantastic condition and is the correct edition!! I am extremely pleased with the product and the competency of whoever packaged it. (i don't know what it is with ordering the Oxford Shakespeare, but for some reason people seem to think if they send you any old shakespeare book it'll be fine and dandy! if you need The Oxford Shakespeare edition for class order it here cause this seems to be the only place that realizes that there are different versions of Shakespeare available lol)
5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare is an entertainer 18 Dec 1999
By Sean - Published on Amazon.com
Macbeth is a great play. If you forget the symbolism, the imagery, the metaphors, the similes, the hyperboles and whatnot, it is a greatr play. The youth hates Shakespeare because we focus so much on analyzing everything he did. (Cough, cough, sarcasm) But all in all, he was an entertainer, much as a director is now. He wrote so that people would enjoy, not spend countless hours trying to decipher the "Secret code" that he must have put into every one of his plays, seeing as he had so much time to do this between the 30 some odd plays he did. Just take it as it is, and have fun with it. Or, with Macbeth, be sad, or disturbed, but enjoy it. I'm 16 years old, and I love Shakespeare... just don't take it too seriously.
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