In 1603, James VI of Scotland ascended the English throne, becoming James I of England. London was alive with an interest in all things Scottish, 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.
The authoritative edition of Macbeth from The Folger Shakespeare Library, the trusted and widely used Shakespeare series for students and general readers, includes:
-Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play
-Newly revised explanatory notes 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 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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action actors Alarums Angus APPARITION audience Banquo bearbaiting Birnam Wood blood called cauldron crown daggers dare dead death deed DOCTOR Donalbain Dunsinane edition England English Enter Macbeth exit fate fear fight Fleance Folger Shakespeare Library Folio GENTLEWOMAN Ghost give Glamis Globe Hail hand hath hear heart heaven Hecate honor kill Duncan king King of Scotland Knock LADY MACBETH LADY MACDUFF LENNOX live London look lord Macdonwald Malcolm moral nature night noble performed perhaps Philip Henslowe playhouses Porter quartos Raphael Holinshed readers reading ROSS royal Scene Scotland Scottish SECOND WITCH sentence sentence elements servants SEYTON Shake Shakespeare's company Shakespeare's Language Shakespeare's plays SIWARD sleep soldier speak speare's speech stage direction strange Thane of Cawdor theaters thee thine things THIRD WITCH thou art thought tion Tragedy traitor verb Weird Sisters wife William Shakespeare words wouldst YOUNG SIWARD
Page vii - Shakespeare wrote very little after 1612, which was the year he completed Henry 'VIII. It was during a performance of this play in 1613 that the Globe caught fire and burned to the ground. Sometime between 1610 and 1613, Shakespeare returned to Stratford, where he owned a large house and property, to spend his remaining years with his family. William Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later in the chancel of Holy Trinity Church where he had been baptized exactly 52 years...