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Macbeth (Arden Shakespeare: Second Series) [Paperback]

By Kenneth Muir (Editor)
Our Price $ 14.45  
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Item Number 273820  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   190
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 5" Height: 7.75"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 31, 1997
Publisher   Arden
ISBN  1903436486  
EAN  9781903436486  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Kenneth Muir was King Alfred Professor of English Literature at Liverpool University from 1951-1974. He edited a wide array of Shakespeare's plays, including "King Lear," "Othello," "Richard II," and "Troilus and Cressida." His books include "Shakespeare as Collaborator," "Shakespeare's Tragic Sequence," and "Last Periods of Shakespeare, Racine, Ibsen." Muir's introduction to "Macbeth" delves first into the history of the text itself, including notes on the first printings and when they were produced. Next, the editor analyzes the Porter scene and other portions of the play that have raised the question of its authorship. A discussion of the play's sources precedes Muir's edition of the play itself. The book includes four appendices: "Holinshed," "Bucganan," "Leslie," and additional notes from the 1984 reissue of this text. A list of abbreviations used also appears.
The Arden Shakespeare has developed a reputation as the pre-eminent critical edition of Shakespeare for its exceptional scholarship, reflected in the thoroughness of each volume. An introduction comprehensively contextualizes the play, chronicling the history and culture that surrounded and influenced Shakespeare at the time of its writing and performance, and closely surveying critical approaches to the work. Detailed appendices address problems like dating and casting, and analyze the differing Quarto and Folio sources. A full commentary by one or more of the play's foremost contemporary scholars illuminates the text, glossing unfamiliar terms and drawing from an abundance of research and expertise to explain allusions and significant background information. Highly informative and accessible, Arden offers the fullest experience of Shakespeare available to a reader.

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More About Kenneth Muir

William Shakespeare William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon." His extant works include some collaboration, consisting of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, the authorship of some of which is uncertain. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

William Shakespeare lived in Stratford-Upon-The Avon. William Shakespeare was born in 1564 and died in 1616.

William Shakespeare has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Ignatius Critical Editions

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A very useful edition of a great play  Aug 14, 2005
Macbeth has always been one of Shakespeare's most popular plays. It is vivid, has blood & murder, magic, visions, treachery, and just deserts. I mean, what is not to love? The play moves along quickly and isn't one of the longer plays. For all these reasons and more, audiences love it.

But there is a lot more to the play than the plot outline might suggest. Shakespeare brilliantly works out the subtleties of character through the action, interactions, and self-discussions in the play. It isn't a simple "action" play, it is also a masterwork of revealing the character of the characters even when they are themselves unaware of the trap they are leaping into.

I am partial to the Arden editions because I trust the text, love the extensive notes, and the introductory and additional material that helps give the play context and talks about sources Shakespeare almost certainly used. In this case Holinshed's "Chronicles of Scotland". Throughout this edition there are also discussions of the textural problems of this play: where some things seem to be missing, what might be interpolations, and so forth.

This is a very useful edition of a great play.
Shakespeare on the danger of messing with prophecy  May 12, 2005
William Shakespeare's tragedy "Macbeth" was performed at the Globe Theater in 1605-06. The "Scottish" play was a calculated to be pleasing to James I, who took the throne of England after the death of Elizabeth Tudor in 1603. It was not simply that the play was set in the homeland of the Stuarts, but also that when Banquo's royal descendants are envisioned the last of them is the new King. (Note: Shakespeare does a similar sort of tribute to Queen Elizabeth when in the final act of "Henry VIII" the the Archbishop prophesizes great things for the infant Elizabeth. However, not only is there doubt that Shakespeare was the sole author of that particular history, it was not produced until 1612-13, ten years after Elizabeth's death.)

The play chronicles Macbeth's seizing the Scottish throne and his subsequent downfall, both aspects the result of blind ambition. However, one of the interesting aspects of "Macbeth" for me has always been its take on prophecy, which is decidedly different from the classical tradition. In the Greek myths there is no escaping your fate; in fact, one of the points of the story of Oedipus as told by Sophocles is that trying to resist your fate only makes things worse (the original prophecy was that Oedipus would slay his father; it was only after Jocasta sought to have her son killed to save her husband that the prophecy given Oedipus was that he would slay his father and marry his mother). In the Norse tradition prophecy is simply fate and manhood demands you simply resign yourself to what must happen.

But in "Macbeth" there is a different notion of prophecy that is compatible with what is found in the Bible: specifically, the idea that human beings simply cannot understand God's predictions. This is the case both with those who failed to understand the prophecies that foretold the birth of the Christ but also the book of Revelations, where the fate of the world is detailed in complex and essentially uncomprehensible symbolism. When Macbeth is presented with the first set of prophecies by the three witches, he is understandably dubious: he will become thane of Cawdor and then King, while Banquo will beget kings. However, when the first prophecy comes true, Macbeth begins to believe that the rest of the prophecy may come true. His fatal error, at least in the Greek tradition, is that he does not allow fate to bring him the crown, he takes active steps by slaying King Duncan. He compounds this error by projecting his ambitions onto Banquo; although Macbeth has Banquo killed, his son escapes to keep the prophecy intact.

Now the witches's prophecies are deceptively clear: no man born of woman may harm him and he is secure until trees start walking. Macbeth, who now believes in the inevitability of prophecy, fails to understand the fatal concept of loopholes. Thus, the nature of prophecy becomes an integral part of the play's dynamic.

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