13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anybody can enjoy this
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...
Published on 23 Jan 2004 by D. Russell
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as in picture :(
The book arrived and it was in good condition, but I specifically needed the green penguin edition as seen in the picture but this was not what was shipped to me. Still readable but not the correct edition sadly.
Published 4 months ago by Sarah
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anybody can enjoy this,
This review is from: Macbeth (Penguin Popular Classics) (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.
COME ON! IT'S NOT EXACTLY EXPENSIVE!!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy birthday ' Macbeth',
This review is from: Macbeth (Penguin Popular Classics) (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?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let not light see...,
This review is from: Macbeth (Penguin Popular Classics) (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. Shakespeare litters the story with brutally intense scenes (Banquo's ghost crashing the dinner, Lady M. trying to scrub her hands clean) and powerful dialogue ("Shake off this downy sleep, death's counterfeit,/And look on death itself! up, up, and see/The great doom's image!").
The one flaw: Shakespeare's handling of the "no man born of woman" prediction is a bit lame. I mean, didn't that count as "born" back in Elizabethan times too?
Honestly, MacBeth is both a fascinating and repulsive character. He starts off as a nice ordinary thane with no particular ambition, but his weakness and his wife drive him to some pretty horrible acts. Before long, he's become somebody you desperately want to see diced into little pieces. And Lady Macbeth is little better, although there's a slight disparity between her ruthless ambition and her later insanity.
"MacBeth" is a story filled with stormy darkness and all-consuming fire -- a powerful depiction of evil and how easily we can be seduced. Just don't say its name in the theater.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and concise,
This review is from: Macbeth (Penguin Popular Classics) (Paperback)Perfect sized text instead of the miniscule print you can often find in copies of the play. Perfect for school or university.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Shakespeare!,
By A Customer
This review is from: Macbeth (Penguin Popular Classics) (Paperback)This must be one of Shakespeare's best plays. His style has developed in this text, compared with his earlier plays (Macbeth was written in 1606, just ten years before Shakespeare's death). Macbeth is superbly tragic, and gives a brilliant display of man's need for power, however he gains it. If you only ever read one of Shakespeare's fantastic plays, make it this one!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare's Best?,
This review is from: Macbeth (Penguin Popular Classics) (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?
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.
1.0 out of 5 stars not as described,
This review is from: Macbeth (Penguin Popular Classics) (Paperback)Sold as in very good condition with no markings, notes or highlights etc to the pages. This wasn't the case. There were notes added drawings etc. Very poor!
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as in picture :(,
This review is from: Macbeth (Penguin Popular Classics) (Paperback)The book arrived and it was in good condition, but I specifically needed the green penguin edition as seen in the picture but this was not what was shipped to me. Still readable but not the correct edition sadly.
4.0 out of 5 stars Power Politics,
This review is from: Macbeth (Penguin Popular Classics) (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.
Lady Macbeth begins to descend into madness brought about by the guilt of the murders of Duncan and Banquo. As Malcolm's army reaches Birnam Wood, she kills herself. The invading army uproots the wood as a disguise and marches on Macbeth's castle at Dunsinane. With his support ebbing away he goes onto the field of battle and is killed by MacDuff, who was born by C-Section and therefore not born of woman.
There is a lot to enjoy, The witches and ghosts are suitably dreadful and spooky, but more than this they spin their predictions to sound like one thing and mean another so that they reflect power politics back on the politicians. The lust for high office of the various parties, including those opposed to Macbeth, is most enjoyable, Banquo and Macduff are just as keen on advancement as Macbeth and Banquo relishes the idea that his children will come to rule.
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are sophisticated operators. He weighs up the pros and cons of Duncan's murder and she sees the need to seize the chance whilst Duncan is their guest. Despite moments of horror and remorse at having killed Macbeth understands that he must do what it takes to consolidate power, whilst her madness is subtle - up and down emotionally - as a real madwoman would be.
Parts of the play are thought to be missing as it is much shorter than most of Shakespeare plays. In particular I thought that perhaps Duncan's sons had been plotting the old king's death and hence the ease with which Macbeth pins the blame on them. The irony would be of course that Macbeth could have had the throne without the need for murder.
This is an enjoyable and thought provoking read, but best viewed through the mind and interpretation of great actors before being read on the page.
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic Confusion,
This review is from: Macbeth (Penguin Popular Classics) (Paperback)There is something oddly provocative about enjoying something so perplexing in language that each word serves as a metaphor, reading Shakespears novels is a bit taxing if your not acquainted to traditional english and Shakespear's writing as it tends to be, always takes complication that step further be instilling poetry and imagiry in an already unfamiliar and convulted tongue, however, once you get your personal translator, you really begin to appreciate the genius in Shakespear's writing, it's this very reason that makes it a popular choice as an English thesis.
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Macbeth (Penguin Popular Classics) by William Shakespeare (Paperback - 25 Jan 2007)
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