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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April 12, 2009
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Excerpt from Macbeth by William Shakespeare
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. CAPTA