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by William Shakespeare

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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21,636185119 (4.02)618
Set in Medieval Scotland, in an atmosphere of civil unrest and mutual suspicion, this story of Macbeth and his wife-accomplice Lady Macbeth tells of the intellecual and emitional consequences of unbridled ambition and the cold-blooded murder it engenders.
  1. 101
    Hamlet by William Shakespeare (Pattty)
    Pattty: Si te gustó Hamlet seguro te gustará Macbeth, que es una historia buena y mucho más "macabra"
  2. 30
    Richard III [Norton Critical Edition] by William Shakespeare (kara.shamy)
  3. 53
    Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett (Tallulah_Rose)
    Tallulah_Rose: "Wyrd Sisters" is a parody of "Macbeth", so everyone who enjoyed "Macbeth" might also like "Wyrd Sisters". On the other hand it's essential to have read "Macbeth" before reading "Wyrd Sisters".
  4. 10
    King Lear by William Shakespeare (kara.shamy)
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    Throne of Blood [1957 film] by Akira Kurosawa (lucy.depalma)
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    Breaking Bad: Season 1 by Vince Gilligan (lucy.depalma)
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    Balladyna by Juliusz Słowacki (sirparsifal)
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SPOILERS ahead. Yup, the whole play. If you haven't seen it, get thee to a library or your film dispensing mechanism of choice; there is most likely a DVD (or what have you) close at hand and you can watch it tonight. This one is on the 'everybody must see it' list. (Reading the text is great, but seeing it counts. It is a play, after all.)

Seen it? Great. On to the review.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Ah, Macbeth. The bleak. The dark. The blood. The blindness and the confusion. Shakespeare invented grimdark. It's all here. The prophecy left in the murderer's hands. Not a hero in sight. The world running red and dirty. The end that neither explains nor alleviates the preceding darkness; indeed, alone of Shakespeare's tragedies, the end that presages further chaos and bloodshed, with Donalbain waiting in the wings as he is to murder Malcom.

So why don't I love this thing? This is my second time through Macbeth, and I have to say I was really hoping it would rise in my esteem quite a lot. (I feel like I owe this play my esteem, or at least a passionate response.) But no. Zip. Zilch. Nada. What gives?

Partly it's that the language in this play is just broken, and I don't mean that in a cool, 'off the hook' kind of way. This is the play that gave us "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow," and that released the phrases 'one fell swoop,' 'charmed life,' 'sorry sight,' 'be all and end all,' and 'come what come may' into the wild. But there is also plot confusion from the get-go: in the opening scenes, Macbeth "unseamed [Cawdor] from the nave to th' chops." Immediately after, Cawdor somehow still needs executing. In the next scene, Macbeth is surprised that the man he mortally wounded is dead. (Many finer folk than I have commented on the issues of time in the play, but there is no way to blame it on theme, in my own opinion. Even the Bard nods, though he may have been helped along by a coauthor here.) Added to this, there are several passages in the whole work that simply make no sense, not even with line notes. So, so frustrating.

Partly it's that the human interest portion of the plot does not really interest me. Yes, the witches give Macbeth the prophecy, but it is Macbeth who gives short shrift to his own conscience and forges ahead with murder. (He actually points out that if the prophecy were true, it should come to pass with no interference from him.) Yes, the Lady (WOW, the Lady:

The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood.
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murd'ring ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark
To cry “Hold, hold!”

SO great!)
eggs him on, but truly, Macbeth wants her to. They each feed the other's ambition without fail. As with any tragic protagonist, Macbeth's downfall is of his own making, and I just don't find his ambition to be anything but banal. The man murders the king, just like Cawdor wanted to before him, just like Donalbain will after him. Kings, they get murdered at this time in history. Why is Macbeth so worthy of our attention?

And it is Macbeth who gets our attention. He speaks nearly a third of the words in the play (see this Wolfram Alpha analysis of Macbeth). The Lady rapidly fades after the initial murder, pushed immediately out of the action as Macbeth engineers Banquo's death, then withering away to her sleepwalking scene. (Oh, I get the thematic crossing of strength from her to him, but I miss her so much once she fades out!) He whines, he whinges, he grows old in his evil, he struts and frets. But in the end, he gets exactly what he signed up for when he put the knife in Duncan, dying a small tyrant, surpassed by Banquo's issue. (Malcom is not wrong about 'this dead butcher' in my reading.) Don't get me wrong; he is moving and beautiful at times; his petty weaknesses are easy to identify with. But he is not big enough to fill the play. Is the tragedy that he could have been different? I find I don't care. He wasn't.

So, not my favorite Shakespeare. But give it a try, as it may be yours. Many people like it far better than I do. (If you are going to read it, I highly recommend this Arden Third Series edition, as the line notes will be indispensable to figuring out what the heck is going on. The edition would easily be five stars if critical editions were separated out under GR's mysterious rules.) ( )
  amyotheramy | May 11, 2021 |
This was the first one I read. I was astounded by the beauty of his language. ( )
  KittyCunningham | Apr 26, 2021 |
The moral to the story. "Lie with Dogs and you will wake up with fleas" ( )
  Joe73 | Mar 1, 2021 |
Well, I LOVED the witches. Their rhyming and incantations. And just for being awesome. Other than that, I found the language interesting as Shakespeare usually is, but the plot was a bit dull and bloody to my taste. Overall, interesting, but not a favorite for me among Shakespeare's plays. I do generally prefer his comedies. In tragedies everyone dies and I don't really like anyone... ( )
  RankkaApina | Feb 22, 2021 |
Too dark to be so beautiful.. ( )
  Reynik | Jan 27, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 172 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (156 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shakespeare, Williamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brooke, NicholasEditormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Andrews, John F.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barnet, SylvanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bate, JonathanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bevington, David M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Books, PennyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boynton, Robert W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Braunmuller, A. R.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chambers, E. K.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clark, SandraEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cumming, AlanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
D'Agostino, NemiEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dali, SalvadorIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Duffy, John DennisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elloway, DavidEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eriksson, Göran O.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Farjeon, HerbertEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
French, Charles W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Furness, Horace HowardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gentleman, DavidCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gibson, RexEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gill, RomaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Groom, BernardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gruffydd, ArwelForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gundersheimer, WernerPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hallqvist, Britt G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harbage, AlfredDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harrison, George B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hudson, Henry N.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hunter, G. K.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, RichardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, T. GwynnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kittredge, George LymanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kortes, MargaretEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
LaMar, Virginia A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lambert, Daniel HenryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leary, Daniel J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lott, BernardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mack, MaynardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mason, PamelaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McBeath, H.C.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mowat, Barbara A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muir, KennethEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muir, KennethEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Orgel, StephenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rasmussen, EricEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ridley, M. R.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rojahn-Deyk, BarbaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolfe, William JamesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rowe, KatherineEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rumboll, F.C.H.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rutter, Carol ChillingtonEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sagarra, Josep M. deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schutt, J.H.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schutt, J.H.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomas, GwynTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thurber, SamuelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Verity, A. W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Viegas-Faria, BeatrizTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Waith, Eugene M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Werstine, PaulEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Williams, William ProctorEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, John DoverEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wood, StanleyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wright, Louis B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zarate, OscarIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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First words
When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
Out, damned spot! out, I say!
Yet do I fear thy nature;

It is too full o' the milk of human kindness.
The attempt and not the deed
Confounds us.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please distinguish between this work, which is Shakespeare's original play, from any of its many adaptations (audio, video, reworking, etc.).
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Wikipedia in English (4)

Set in Medieval Scotland, in an atmosphere of civil unrest and mutual suspicion, this story of Macbeth and his wife-accomplice Lady Macbeth tells of the intellecual and emitional consequences of unbridled ambition and the cold-blooded murder it engenders.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Macbeth è uno dei picchi dell’immensa creatività di Shakespeare. Scozia, XI secolo. Istigato da apparizioni soprannaturali e da una moglie ambiziosa, il barone Macbeth uccide re Duncan e s’invischia in una catena di delitti fino a prendere coscienza della vanità del mondo e della diabolica insidiosità delle profezie. Con l’aiuto delle truppe inglesi, la nobiltà lealista, guidata da Macduff, uccide l’usurpatore ristabilendo l’ordine. Shakespeare condensa diciassette anni di storia in un tempo apparente di poche settimane, porta in scena coscienze logorate dal Male, dà vita a personaggi immortali, come quello di Lady Macbeth, miscela di cupidigia, odio, follia. Da questa tragedia Verdi trasse un’opera memorabile e il cinema, grazie a Welles (1948), Kurosawa (1957), Polanski (1971), e ora Branagh (2013) e Justin Kurzel (2015), non ha mai smesso di esplorarne le potenzialità poetiche.
Haiku summary
If he had waited,
The crown might have come to him,

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0451526775, 0140714782, 0141013699

Yale University Press

An edition of this book was published by Yale University Press.

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Sourcebooks MediaFusion

An edition of this book was published by Sourcebooks MediaFusion.

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Urban Romantics

2 editions of this book were published by Urban Romantics.

Editions: 1909676977, 1909676969

Recorded Books

3 editions of this book were published by Recorded Books.

Editions: 1456100017, 1449877478, 1470332027

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