Description: This Norton Critical Edition of Macbeth, Shakespeare’s terrifying depiction of a man and woman’s fall into evil, derives from the First Folio (1623), the only authoritative text of the play. The edition includes an introduction, annotations, and textual notes.
A rich "Sources and Contexts" section provides readers with an understanding of Macbeth’s origins from earlier texts, specifically the works of the Roman playwright Seneca, the Tudor historian Raphael Holinshed, and a medieval drama The Slaughter of the Holy Innocents and the Death of Herod. The contexts for the play include contemporary debates on predestination vs. free will (Martin Luther vs. Erasmus), witchcraft as fiction or fact (Reginald Scot vs. King James I), the ethics of regicide (an Elizabethan homily vs. Juan de Mariana, S.J.), and a treatise on equivocation (Henry Garnet, S.J.). This edition also features adaptations—Davenant’s moralistic Macbeth, some travesties, and Welcome Msomi’s recent South African retelling, uMabatha.
Seventeen carefully chosen essays represent four hundred years of critical and theatrical interpretations, from the early observations of Simon Forman and Samuel Johnson to the Romantic readings of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Hazlitt, and Thomas De Quincey, to recent essays by Janet Adelman and Stephen Orgel. Sarah Siddons and Derek Jacobi remember performing Macbeth, and Peter Holland surveys film interpretations.
Contents: Introduction · A note on the text · The text of Macbeth · Sources and contexts · Sources · N-Town Cycle · Seneca · Raphael holinshed · Cultural controversies · Debate on free will and predestination · Debate on witchcraft · Debate on tyrannicide · Debate on equivocation · Adaptations · Criticism: Simon forman – Eyewitness account of Macbeth · Samuel Johnson – Miscellaneous observations on the tragedy of Macbeth · Elizabeth Montagu – The genius of Shakespeare · Thomas Davies – On David Garrick’s an Dhannah Pritchard’s eighteenth-century performances · Samuel Taylor Coleridge – On Macbeth · William Hazlitt – Characters in Macbeth · Thomas De Quincey – On the knocking at the gate in Macbeth · Sarah Siddons – On playing lady Macbeth · A.C. Bradley – The tragedy of Macbeth · Kenneth Muir – Image and symbol in Macbeth · Harry Levin – Two scenes form Macbeth · Marvin Rosenberg – Culture, character, and conscience in Shakespeare · Janet Adelman – Escaping he matrix: The construction of masculinity in Macbeth · A.R. Braunmuller – What do you mean?’: The languages of Macbeth · Derek Jacobi – Macbeth · Stephen Orgel – Macbeth and the antic round · Peter Holland – "Stands Scotland where it did?": The location of macbeth on film • Selected bibliography.
About the Editor: Robert S. Miola is the Gerard Manley Hopkins Professor of English and Lecturer in Classics at Loyola College of Maryland. His publications include Shakespeare and Classical Tragedy, Shakespeare and Classical Comedy, Shakespeare’s Reading, and a Revels edition of Ben Jonson’s Every Man in His Humour. He is currently editing an anthology of primary sources entitled The Catholic Renaissance.
Target Audience: Students and academics of literature.