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Macbeth (Modern Library Royal Shakespeare Company Series)

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Overview

One of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, filled with fierce, violent action, Macbeth is a human drama of ambition, desire, and guilt in a world of blood and darkness, with whispers of the supernatural.

Under the editorial supervision of Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen, two of today’s most accomplished Shakespearean scholars, this Modern Library series incorporates definitive texts and authoritative notes from William Shakespeare: Complete Works. Each play includes an ...

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Macbeth (Modern Library Royal Shakespeare Company Series)

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Overview

One of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, filled with fierce, violent action, Macbeth is a human drama of ambition, desire, and guilt in a world of blood and darkness, with whispers of the supernatural.

Under the editorial supervision of Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen, two of today’s most accomplished Shakespearean scholars, this Modern Library series incorporates definitive texts and authoritative notes from William Shakespeare: Complete Works. Each play includes an Introduction as well as an overview of Shakespeare’s theatrical career; commentary on past and current productions based on interviews with leading directors, actors, and designers; scene-by-scene analysis; key facts about the work; a chronology of Shakespeare’s life and times; and black-and-white illustrations.

Ideal for students, theater professionals, and general readers, these modern and accessible editions from the Royal Shakespeare Company set a new standard in Shakespearean literature for the twenty-first century.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in April 1564, and his birth is traditionally celebrated on April 23. The facts of his life, known from surviving documents, are sparse. He was one of eight children born to John Shakespeare, a merchant of some standing in his community. William probably went to the King’s New School in Stratford, but he had no university education. In November 1582, at the age of eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, eight years his senior, who was pregnant with their first child, Susanna. She was born on May 26, 1583. Twins, a boy, Hamnet ( who would die at age eleven), and a girl, Judith, were born in 1585. By 1592 Shakespeare had gone to London working as an actor and already known as a playwright. A rival dramatist, Robert Greene, referred to him as “an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers.” Shakespeare became a principal shareholder and playwright of the successful acting troupe, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (later under James I, called the King’s Men). In 1599 the Lord Chamberlain’s Men built and occupied the Globe Theater in Southwark near the Thames River. Here many of Shakespeare’s plays were performed by the most famous actors of his time, including Richard Burbage, Will Kempe, and Robert Armin. In addition to his 37 plays, Shakespeare had a hand in others, including Sir Thomas More and The Two Noble Kinsmen, and he wrote poems, including Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. His 154 sonnets were published, probably without his authorization, in 1609. In 1611 or 1612 he gave up his lodgings in London and devoted more and more time to retirement in Stratford, though he continued writing such plays as The Tempest and Henry VII until about 1613. He died on April 23 1616, and was buried in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford. No collected edition of his plays was published during his life-time, but in 1623 two members of his acting company, John Heminges and Henry Condell, put together the great collection now called the First Folio.
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Read an Excerpt

Dramatis Personae

DUNCAN, King of Scotland
MALCOLM his sons
DONALBAIN

MACBETH, Thane of Glamis, later of Cawdor, later
King of Scotland
LADY MACBETH

BANQUO, a thane of Scotland
FLEANCE, his son
MACDUFF, Thane of Fife
LADY MACDUFF
SON of Macduff and Lady Macduff

LENNEX
ROSS
MENTEITH thanes and noblemen of Scotland
ANGUS
CAITHNESS

SIWARD, Earl of Northumberland
YOUNG SIWARD, his son
SEYTON, an officer attending Macbeth
Another LORD
ENGLISH DOCTOR
SCOTTISH DOCTOR
GENTLEWOMAN attending Lady Macbeth
CAPTAIN serving Duncan
PORTER
OLD MAN
Three MURDERERS of Banquo
First MURDERERS at Macduff's castle
MESSENGER to Lady Macbeth
MESSENGER to Lady Macduff
SERVENT to Macbeth
SERVENT to Lady Macbeth
Three WITCHES or WEIRD SISTERS
HECATE
Three APPARITIONS

Lords, Gentlemen, Officers, Soldiers, Murderers,
and Attendants

SCENE: Scotland; England

Location: An open place.
hurlyburly tumult
Grimalkin i.e., gray cat, name of the witch's familiar—a demon or evil spirit supposed to answer a witch's call and to allow him or her to perform black magic.
Paddock toad; also a familiar
Anon At once, right away.

1.2 Location: A camp near Forres.
0.1 Alarum trumpet call to arms

1.1
• Thunder and lightning. Enter three Witches.

FIRST WITCH
When shall we three meet again?
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

SECOND WITCH
When the hurlyburly's done,
When the battle's lost and won.

THIRD WITCH
That will be ere the set of sun.
first witch
Where the place?
second witch Upon the heath.
third witch
There to meet with Macbeth.

FIRST WITCH  I come, Grimalkin!

SECOND WITCH  Paddock calls.

THIRD WITCH  Anon.

ALL
Fair is foul, and foul is fair.
Hover through the fog and filthy air. Exeunt.
1.2
• Alarum within. Enter King [Duncan], Malcolm, Donalbain, Lennox, with attendants, meeting a bleeding Captain.

DUNCAN
What bloody man is that? He can report,
As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt

newest state latest news.   sergeant i.e., staff officer. (There may be no inconsistency with his rank of "captain" in the stage direction and speech prefixes in the Folio.)
broil battle spent tired out choke their art render their skill in swimming useless.
The merciless . . . supplied The merciless Macdonwald—worthy of the hated name of rebel, for in the cause of rebellion an ever-increasing number of villainous persons and unnatural qualities swarm about him like vermin—is joined by light-armed Irish footsoldiers and ax-armed horsemen from the western islands of Scotland (the Hebrides and perhaps Ireland)
And Fortune . . . whore i.e., Fortune, proverbially a false strumpet, smiles at first on Macdonwald's damned rebellion but deserts him in his hour of need.
well . . . name well he deserves a name that is synonymous with "brave"
minion darling. (Macbeth is Valor's darling, not Fortune's.)
the slave i.e., Macdonwald
Which . . . to him i.e., Macbeth paused for no ceremonious greeting or farewell to Macdonwald.
nave navel.   chops jaws cousin kinsman
As . . . swells Just as terrible storms at sea arise out of the east, from the place where the sun first shows itself in the seeming comfort of the dawn, even thus did a new military threat come on the heels of the seeming good news of Macdonwald's execution.
skipping (1) lightly armed, quick at maneuvering (2) skittish surveying vantage seeing an opportunity

The newest state.

MALCOLM This is the sergeant
Who like a good and hardy soldier fought
'Gainst my captivity.—Hail, brave friend!
Say to the King the knowledge of the broil
As thou didst leave it.

CAPTAIN Doubtful it stood,
As two spent swimmers that do cling together
And choke their art. The merciless Macdonwald—
Worthy to be a rebel, for to that
The multiplying villainies of nature
Do swarm upon him—from the Western Isles
Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied;
And Fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling,
Showed like a rebel's whore. But all's too weak;
For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name—
Disdaining Fortune, with his brandished steel,
Which smoked with bloody execution,
Like valor's minion carved out his passage
Till he faced the slave,
Which ne'er shook hands nor bade farewell to him
Till he unseamed him from the nave to th' chops,
And fixed his head upon our battlements.

DUNCAN
Oh, valiant cousin, worthy gentleman!

CAPTAIN
As whence the sun 'gins his reflection
Shipwrecking storms and direful thunders break,
So from that spring whence comfort seemed to come
Discomfort swells. Mark, King of Scotland, mark.
No sooner justice had, with valor armed,
Compelled these skipping kerns to trust their heels
But the Norweyan lord, surveying vantage,
With furbished arms and new supplies of men,
Began a fresh assault.

Yes . . . eagles Yes, about as much as sparrows terrify eagles. (Said ironically.)
say sooth tell the truth cracks charges of explosive
Except Unless memorize make memorable or famous.   Golgotha "place of a skull," where Christ was crucified. (Mark 15:22.)
Thane Scottish title of honor, roughly equivalent to "Earl"
seems to seems about to flout mock, insult fan . . . cold fan cold fear into our troops.
Norway The King of Norway.   terrible numbers terrifying numbers of troops dismal ominous
Till . . . proof i.e., until Macbeth, clad in well-tested armor. (Bellona was the Roman goddess of war.)
him i.e., the King of Norway.   self-comparisons i.e., matching counterthrusts

DUNCAN
Dismayed not this our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?

CAPTAIN
Yes, as sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion.
If I say sooth, I must report they were
As cannons overcharged with double cracks,
So they doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe.
Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds
Or memorize another Golgotha,
I cannot tell.
But I am faint. My gashes cry for help.

DUNCAN
So well thy words become thee as thy wounds;
They smack of honor both.—Go get him surgeons.
[Exit Captain, attended.]
Enter Ross and Angus.
Who comes here?

MALCOLM The worthy Thane of Ross.

LENNEX  What a haste looks through his eyes!
So should he look that seems to speak things strange. 

ROSS  God save the King!

DUNCAN  Whence cam'st thou, worthy thane?

ROSS  From Fife, great King,
Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky
And fan our people cold.
Norway himself, with terrible numbers,
Assisted by that most disloyal traitor,
The Thane of Cawdor, began a dismal conflict,
Till that Bellona's bridegroom, lapped in proof,
Confronted him with self-comparisons,
Point against point, rebellious arm 'gainst arm,
Curbing his lavish spirit; and to conclude,
The victory fell on us.

Norways' Norwegians'.   composition agreement, treaty of peace
Saint Colme's Inch Inchcolm, the Isle of St. Columba in the Firth of Forth dollars Spanish or Dutch coins
Our (The royal "we.")   bosom close and intimate.   present immediate

Location: A heath near Forres.
Aroint thee Begone.   rump-fed runnion fat-rumped baggage
Tiger (A ship's name.)
like . . . do (Suggestive of the witches' deformity and sexual insatiability. Witches were thought to seduce men sexually. Do means [1] act [2] perform sexually.)

DUNCAN Great happiness!

ROSS  That now
Sweno, the Norways' king, craves composition;
Nor would we deign him burial of his men
Till he disbursed at Saint Colme's Inch
Ten thousand dollars to our general use.

DUNCAN
No more that Thane of Cawdor shall deceive
Our bosom interest. Go pronounce his present death,
And with his former title greet Macbeth.
ROSS  I'll see it done.

DUNCAN
What he hath lost noble Macbeth hath won.
Exeunt.
1.3
• Thunder. Enter the three Witches.

FIRST WITCH  Where hast thou been, sister?

SECOND WITCH  Killing swine.

THIRD WITCH  Sister, where thou?

FIRST WITCH
A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her lap,
And munched, and munched, and munched. "Give me," quoth I.
"Aroint thee, witch!" the rump-fed runnion cries.
Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o'th' Tiger;
But in a sieve I'll thither sail,
And like a rat without a tail
I'll do, I'll do, and I'll do.

SECOND WITCH
I'll give thee a wind.

FIRST WITCH
Thou'rt kind.

I . . . card I can summon all other winds, wherever they blow and from whatever quarter in the shipman's compass card.

I'll . . . hay (With a suggestion of sexually draining the seaman's semen.)
penthouse lid i.e., eyelid (which projects out over the eye like a penthouse or slope-roofed structure). forbid accursed. sev'nnights weeks peak grow peaked or thin
Weird Sisters women connected with fate or destiny; also women having a mysterious or unearthly, uncanny appearance
Posters of swift travelers over

THIRD WITCH
And I another.

FIRST WITCH
I myself have all the other,
And the very ports they blow,
All the quarters that they know
I'th' shipman's card.
I'll drain him dry as hay.
Sleep shall neither night nor day
Hang upon his penthouse lid.
He shall live a man forbid.
Weary sev'nnights nine times nine
Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine.
Though his bark cannot be lost,
Yet it shall be tempest-tossed.
Look what I have.

SECOND WITCH  Show me, show me.

FIRST WITCH
Here I have a pilot's thumb,
Wrecked as homeward he did come. Drum within.

THIRD WITCH
A drum, a drum!
Macbeth doth come.
all [dancing in a circle]
The Weird Sisters, hand in hand,
Posters of the sea and land,
Thus do go about, about,
Thrice to thine, and thrice to mine,
And thrice again, to make up nine.
Peace! The charm's wound up.
Enter Macbeth and Banquo.
macbeth
So foul and fair a day I have not seen.
is't called is it said to be choppy chapped fantastical creatures of fantasy or imagination show appear.
grace honor rapt withal entranced.
beg . . . hate beg your favors nor fear your hate.

BANQUO
How far is't called to Forres?—What are these,
So withered and so wild in their attire,
That look not like th'inhabitants o'th'earth
And yet are on't?—Live you? Or are you aught
That man may question? You seem to understand me
By each at once her choppy finger laying
Upon her skinny lips. You should be women,
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret
That you are so.

MACBETH Speak, if you can. What are you?

FIRST WITCH
All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis!

SECOND WITCH
All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!

THIRD WITCH
All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!

BANQUO
Good sir, why do you start and seem to fear
Things that do sound so fair?—I'th' name of truth,
Are ye fantastical or that indeed
Which outwardly ye show? My noble partner
You greet with present grace and great prediction
Of noble having and of royal hope,
That he seems rapt withal. To me you speak not.
If you can look into the seeds of time
And say which grain will grow and which will not,
Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear
Your favors nor your hate.

FIRST WITCH  Hail!

SECOND WITCH  Hail!

THIRD WITCH  Hail!

FIRST WITCH
Lesser than Macbeth, and greater.

happy fortunate get beget imperfect cryptic
Sinel's (Sinel was Macbeth's father.)
Say . . . intelligence Say from what source you have this disturbing information blasted blighted corporal corporeal on of.   insane root root causing insanity; variously identified

SECOND WITCH
Not so happy, yet much happier.

THIRD WITCH
Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none.

So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!

FIRST WITCH
Banquo and Macbeth, all hail!

MACBETH
Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more!
By Sinel's death I know I am Thane of Glamis,
But how of Cawdor? The Thane of Cawdor lives
A prosperous gentleman; and to be king
Stands not within the prospect of belief,
No more than to be Cawdor. Say from whence
You owe this strange intelligence, or why
Upon this blasted heath you stop our way
With such prophetic greeting? Speak, I charge you.
Witches vanish.

BANQUO
The earth hath bubbles, as the water has,
And these are of them. Whither are they vanished?

MACBETH
Into the air; and what seemed corporal melted, 81
As breath into the wind. Would they had stayed!

BANQUO
Were such things here as we do speak about?
Or have we eaten on the insane root 84
That takes the reason prisoner?

MACBETH
Your children shall be kings.
banquo You shall be king.

MACBETH
And Thane of Cawdor too. Went it not so?

and when . . . his and when he reads of your extraordinary valor in fighting the rebels, he concludes that your wondrous deeds outdo any praise he could offer.
stout haughty, determined, valiant
Nothing not at all
As . . . with post As fast as could be told, i.e., counted, came messenger after messenger. (Unless the text should be amended to "As thick as hail.")
earnest token payment addition title
Who He who combined confederate line the rebel reinforce Macdonwald

BANQUO
To th' selfsame tune and words.—Who's here?
Enter Ross and Angus.

ROSS
The King hath happily received, Macbeth,
The news of thy success; and when he reads
Thy personal venture in the rebels' fight,
His wonders and his praises do contend
Which should be thine or his. Silenced with that,
In viewing o'er the rest o'th' selfsame day
He finds thee in the stout Norweyan ranks,
Nothing afeard of what thyself didst make,
Strange images of death. As thick as tale
Came post with post, and every one did bear
Thy praises in his kingdom's great defense,
And poured them down before him.

ANGUS
We are sent
To give thee from our royal master thanks,
Only to herald thee into his sight,
Not pay thee.

ROSS
And, for an earnest of a greater honor,
He bade me, from him, call thee Thane of Cawdor;
In which addition, hail, most worthy thane,
For it is thine.
BANQUO What, can the devil speak true?

MACBETH
The Thane of Cawdor lives. Why do you dress me
In borrowed robes?
ANGUS Who was the thane lives yet,
But under heavy judgment bears that life
Which he deserves to lose. Whether he was combined
With those of Norway, or did line the rebel
With hidden help and vantage, or that with both in . . . wrack to bring about his country's ruin capital deserving death
The greatest is behind either (1) Two of the three prophecies (and thus the greatest number of them) have already been fulfilled, or (2) The greatest one, the kingship, is still to come. home all the way
In deepest consequence in the profoundly important sequel.
Cousins i.e., Fellow lords swelling act stately drama soliciting tempting unfix my hair make my hair stand on end use custom.   fears things feared whose . . . fantastical in which the conception of murder is merely imaginary at this point single . . . man weak human condition function normal power of action.   surmise speculation, imaginings And . . . not and everything seems unreal.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 1088 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(686)

4 Star

(147)

3 Star

(75)

2 Star

(62)

1 Star

(118)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 1088 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 10, 2011

    recommended

    I loved ithis one . It had stage notes inaddtion to the play. This was the first play I'd read and it is still one of my favorites.

    10 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2006

    Outstanding Recording

    I am an English teacher. I don't know how I would have survived without this audio-recording. It is wonderful! Love Lady Macbeth's Scottish accent!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 16, 2010

    An excellent edition at a great price - incl background material and annotations

    This is a steal for $2. It's not the bare-bones edition you'd expect for this price - it gives the reader a generous amount of additional material on the play, as well as historical background on the life and times of Shakespeare. The formatting is excellent, and the annotations are surprisingly thorough for a budget edition. Highly recommended.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2002

    A TEACHER'S DREAM COME TRUE

    This particular publication of Macbeth is the best thing that's ever happened to my curriculum. I teach this particular Shakespeare play in my sophomore English classes, along with Much Ado About Nothing...my favorite comedy! The fact that the left-hand side of the page contains notes, definitions is invaluable to me as a teacher (saves time from having to explain EVERY SINGLE WORD) and makes the student feel more capable of digesting Shakespeare's language. The introductory notes on Shakespeare's life, the theater, his language, wordplay are all invaluable tools to use in teaching. I now only use this version to teach all Shakespeare plays. Bravo!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2001

    Shakespeare's Best!

    In my senior English class, we are currently reading this, and I seem to be the only person in the entire class who is enthusiastic. To me, this one from Shakespeare is much more easier to understand. A person may think the withches are evil, but the real villain is the diabolique, Lady Macbeth. Her soliloquies are of absolute brilliance and I love the way she makes Macbeth the way he is. What a sap!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Another nice play by shakespeare

    Nice book

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2011

    taking a class on mabeth

    love the storyy

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2003

    Wonderful Literature

    As a senior of a high school and strong emphasis on literature, I have personally read Macbeth and found it to be of great dramatized action. It defines many points to human nature and consequences to evil doings. In addition to the lessons that can be learned from Macbeth, it is great literature. It contains many motifs, symbols, and themes such as the theme of unchecked ambition. This book is great for the strong intellectual to the teen-age ambition to read violent and entertaining text but with actually lessons that can teach and grow in the minds of all young.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2014

    Mynt

    A small apprentace-aged cat pads in. She is limping because the flesh on her front left paw is torn. Her white tail is stained red and is missing a lot of fur. Also, her ear is bent and leaking thin blood. "Help..." she croaks.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2014

    Hello

    A skinny small black furred with a single white eared cat pads in. He looks no bigger than an apprentince. He looks very scared and has a deep cut on his right shoulder. My names elmpaw. Ive come here because my family was viciously attacked by rogues. I saw my parents get killed and im praying to starclan that my brother oakpaw and sister birchpaw escaped. Our parents were training us as apprentinces on their own he mews. Please help me, im hungry, im thristy im scared. He mews with a shiver

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2014

    Skystar To Silentfoot

    Sorry For.... Bothering you. I just miss you. A lot. And our clan, FadingClan, at "fade" doesn't have any cats, besides Stormfire and I. May you at least post a few ads about us? ~ Old friend

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2014

    Silentfoot

    Silentfoot quickly searches her herb stores. She cleans Elmpaw's cut and applies a marigold-goldenrod poultice to it, binding it with cobwebs. She fetches a soaked mossball and a vole and gives them to him, squeezing some water into his mouth. Then she moves on to Mynt. "Don't worry, I'll help you both," she assures. She cleans Mynt's wounds, being extra gentle with her paw. She rubs some crushed marigold on Mynt's ear and tail wounds, binding them in cobwebs. Then she mixes well-crushed dried oak leaves into a marigold-goldenrod poultice and carefully applies it to the cat's paw, gently binding it in cobwebs. She gives her two small poppyseeds. "Eat these," she instructs, "they'll numb your pain, but will also make you sleepy." She gives one poppyseed to Elmpaw, knowing he didn't need as strong of a dose.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2014

    Dropsoul

    Dropsoul looks at her, schocked for a moment. Then, her surprise turns to excitement and happiness. "Oh, StarClan!" She gasps, a wide grin spreading on her face. "This is...this is amazing! I'm going to have kits!" She smiles even wider at another thought. "I'd better get back to camp and tell Moonstorm! Thank you fr you help, Silentfoot! Thak you so much!" She heaves to her paws, lumbering towards the entrance. "Until next time," she mews, and pads back to camp.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2014

    Hooleflare

    "Here, I'll make some nests for you two," Hooleflare offers, pulling together squishy moss and soft feathers to make two nests.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2014

    Macbeth

    Why are none of these legitimate reviews for Shakespeare's Macbeth?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2014

    Ashfire to Amberlight

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2014

    Larsons story

    Normal res one

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2014

    Ash story at

    "Hyagin" res one thru four

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2014

    Sunglows story

    "che" res one thru three

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2014

    Gracies story at

    "phy" results one through four

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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