William Shakespeare's Macbeth: A Sourcebook

William Shakespeare's Macbeth: A Sourcebook


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William Shakespeare's Macbeth: A Sourcebook by Alexander Leggatt

William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a timeless tale of love, greed and power, which has given rise to heated debates around such issues as the representation of gender roles, political violence and the dramatisation of evil.

Taking the form of a sourcebook, this guide to Shakespeare’s play presents:

  • extensive introductory comment on the contexts, critical history and performance of the text, from publication to present
  • annotated extracts from key contextual documents, reviews, critical works and the text itself
  • cross-references between documents and sections of the guide, in order to suggest links between texts, contexts and criticism
  • suggestions for further reading.

Part of the Routledge Guides to Literature series, this volume is essential reading for all those beginning detailed study of Macbeth and seeking not only a guide to the play, but a way through the wealth of contextual and critical material that surrounds Shakespeare’s text.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780415238250
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 02/01/2006
Series: Routledge Guides to Literature Series
Pages: 216
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Alexander Leggatt is Professor of English at University College, University of Toronto. He has published many books and articles on Shakespeare and ahs won an Outstanding Teaching Award from the Faculty of Arts & Science, University of Toronto.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations     xi
Editor's Note     xii
Acknowledgements     xiii
Introduction     1
Contextual Overview     7
Chronology     12
Source     15
From Raphael Holinshed, The Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Ireland (1587)     15
Contemporary Documents     25
From Newes from Scotland (1591)     25
From William Shakespeare, Henry VI Part One (c. 1590)     28
From James VI and I, Basilicon Doron (1599)     30
From Thomas Dekker, John Ford and William Rowley, The Witch of Edmonton (1621)     32
Critical History     39
Early Critical Reception     44
From Samuel Johnson, Miscellaneous Observations on the Tragedy of 'Macbeth': with Remarks on Sir T.H.'s Edition of Shakespeare (1745)     44
From Arthur Murphy, 'Criticism on the Tragedy of Macbeth' (1753)     45
From Elizabeth Montagu, An Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespeare (1769)     46
From Francis Gentleman, The Dramatic Censor; or, Critical Companion (1770)     49
From Thomas De Quincey, 'On the Knocking on the Gate in "Macbeth" '(1823)     54
From A. C. Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear andMacbeth (1904)     54
Modern Criticism     58
From L. C. Knights, 'How Many Children Had Lady Macbeth? An Essay in the Theory and Practice of Shakespeare Criticism' (1933)     58
From Cleanth Brooks, The Well Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry (1947)     61
From John Holloway, The Story of the Night: Studies in Shakespeare's Major Tragedies (1961)     65
From Joan Larsen Klein, 'Lady Macbeth: "Infirm of Purpose" '(1980)     68
From Jenijoy La Belle, '"A Strange Infirmity": Lady Macbeth's Amenorrhea' (1980)     71
From Stephen Booth, King Lear, Macbeth, Indefinition, and Tragedy (1983)     74
From Barbara Everett, Young Hamlet: Essays on Shakespeare's Tragedies (1989)     75
From Harriett Hawkins, Classics and Trash: Traditions and Taboos in High Literature and Popular Modern Genres (1990)     77
From Janet Adelman, Suffocating Mothers: Fantasies of Maternal Origin in Shakespeare's Plays, Hamlet to The Tempest (1992)     78
From Stephen Greenblatt, 'Shakespeare Bewitched' (1994)     83
From David Scott Kastan, Shakespeare after Theory (1999)     86
The Work in Performance     89
Introduction     89
Performance     94
From Simon Forman, The Book of Plays and Notes thereof per Forman for Common Policy (1611)      94
From Peter Thomson, Shakespeare's Theatre (1983)     96
From Sir William D'Avenant, Macbeth a Tragedy. With all the Alterations, Amendments, Additions and New Songs (1664)     100
From David Garrick's adaptation of Macbeth (1744)     106
From Kenneth Tynan, Curtains (1961)     107
From James Goodwin, Akira Kurosawa and Intertextual Cinema (1994)     109
From Kenneth S. Rothwell, A History of Shakespeare on Screen: a Century of Film and Television (1999)     111
Marion D. Perret, 'Double, Double: Trevor Nunn's Macbeth for Television' (1992)     113
From Sinead Cusack with Carol Rutter, 'Lady Macbeth's Barren Sceptre', in Carol Rutter et al., Clamorous Voices: Shakespeare's Women Today (1989)     116
From Derek Jacobi, 'Macbeth', in Robert Smallwood, ed., Players of Shakespeare 4 (1998)     119
Key Passages
Introduction     123
Summary of the Action     124
The Characters     125
Key Passages     126
Act 1, Scene 1: The witches     126
Act 1, Scene 2: Rebellion and enemy invasion; Macbeth as war hero     128
Act 1, Scene 3: Macbeth and Banquo encounter the witches     132
Act 1, Scene 5: Lady Macbeth reads Macbeth's letter, and prepares to urge him to murder     139
Act 1, Scene 7: Macbeth hesitates; Lady Macbeth breaks his reluctance     143
Act 2, Scene 1, lines 33-64; Macbeth sees 'a dagger of the mind'     148
Act 2, Scene 2: Macbeth and Lady Macbeth react to the murder     150
Act 3, Scene 4: The banquet; Banquo's ghost     155
Act 4, Scene 1: The witches' cauldron; the riddling prophecies     162
Act 4, Scene 2: Lady Macduff and her son     171
Act 4, Scene 3, lines 139-73: Edward the Confessor and Macbeth: a good king and a tyrant     175
Act 5, Scene 1: Lady Macbeth sleepwalks     177
Act 5, Scene 5: Macbeth hears of the death of Lady Macbeth     181
Further Reading
Recommended Editions of Macbeth     189
Contexts     189
The Play in Performance     190
Film Versions     191
Criticism     191
Index     195

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