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For the Ignatius Study Guide for Macbeth, click here.
Arguably the darkest of all Shakespeare's plays, Macbeth is also one of the most challenging. Is it a work of nihilistic despair, "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing", or is it a cautionary tale warning of the dangers of Machiavellianism and relativism? Does it lead to hell and hopelessness, or does it point to a light beyond the darkness?
This critical edition of Shakespeare's classic psychological drama contains essays by some of today's leading critics, exploring Macbeth as a morality play, as a history play with contemporary relevance, and as a drama that shows a vision of evil and that grapples with the problem of free will.
A look at the essays
Reviews of the available film versions of Macbeth, a staple for our Shakespeare titles, is provided by James Bemis, complete with comparison chart. Robert Carballoinvestigates the Bard's darkest tragedy's moral spine in "'Fair is foul, and foul is fair': Macbeth as Morality Play and Discreet Exemplum". Hildegard Hammerschmidt-Hummel's essay looks at Macbeth from the perspective of Shakespeare's source material to see what, in his selection and editing, he had to say to audience, especially in light of things like the Gunpowder Plot. The problem of free will versus prophecy is the theme of Regis Martin's contribution, whileLee Oser rounds things out with an investigation of how evil, especially the Weird Sisters, is portrayed in the play. Joseph Pearce situates the reader with the introductory essay.$15.95