Macbeth: The State of Play (Arden Shakespeare The State of Play)

Macbeth: The State of Play (Arden Shakespeare The State of Play)

Language: English

Pages: 256


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A "freeze frame" volume showcasing the range of current debate and ideas surrounding one of the most familiar of Shakespeares tragedies. Each chapter has been carefully selected for its originality and relevance to the needs of students, teachers and researchers. Key themes and topics covered include:

The Text and its Status
History and Topicality
Critical Approaches and Close Reading
Adaptation and Afterlife

All the essays offer new perspectives and combine to give readers an up-to-date understanding of whats exciting and challenging about Macbeth. The approach based on an individual play, unlike that of topic-based series, reflects how Shakespeare is most commonly studied and taught.














me, And bade them speak to him; then prophet-like, They hail’d him father to a line of kings: Upon my head they plac’d a fruitless crown, And put a barren sceptre in my grip, Thence to be wrench’d with an unlineal hand, No son of mine succeeding. If’t be so, For Banquo’s issue have I filed my mind; For them the gracious Duncan have I murther’d; Put rancours in the vessel of my peace. (3.1.54–66) Macbeth identifies Banquo as an oppositional figure and realizes his deeds, including

has a direction determined by the dagger. He immediately begins to describe his movement, although he most likely remains in one area of the stage to deliver this speech.13 Macbeth hopes that the ‘firm-set earth’ will ‘Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear / The very stones prate of my where-about’ (2.1.56; 57–8). ‘Hear’ and ‘here’ are confounded in this instance; his ‘where-about’ becomes an indefinable location. Macbeth’s deteriorating spatial orientation appears even more clearly

passage, she underscores rules of hospitality, whereby the host freely provides food for the guest; but she also distinguishes ‘feeding’, the ordinary eating that one does at home, from ‘solemn feasts’, where even adding ‘sauce’ to meat acquires a ceremonial dimension. Eating and drinking preoccupy the imagination of the Macbeths and of other characters in the play. Husband and wife seem to be playing their expected parts as lord and lady of the castle; yet they imagine a different kind of role

the early part of the twentieth century there were attempts to diminish their roles. Komisarjevsky’s radically expressionist production in 1933 cut their lines considerably in his attempt to demystify their roles; they were no longer supernatural beings but, in the opening scene, they are old women ‘picking up souvenirs as the curtain rises’ and later, fortune-tellers.54 Tyrone Guthrie in 1934 cut the opening scene completely, aiming to refocus the play by getting rid of ‘the implication that

1982), p. 15. 19Andrew L. Urban, ‘Simple as Alphabeth: Interview with Geoffrey Wright’. [accessed 22 May 2008]. 20Amanda Kane Rooks, ‘Macbeth’s Wicked Women: Sexualized Evil in Geoffrey Wright’s Macbeth’, ‘Macbeth’ Dir. Mark Brozel. Perf. James McAvoy, Keeley Hawes, BBC, 2005. 21Knights, L. C., ‘How Many Children Had Lady Macbeth’, Explorations (Harmondsworth, 1964). 22In the BBC Shakespeare Retold, Ella breaks down in the

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