Macbeth (The Folger Library General Reader's Shakespeare) - William Shakespeare, Louis B. Wright- 1959 Pocket Books vintage paperback

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Condition: Acceptable: Signs of wear and consistent use. Cover creases from reading. See images for the condition of this book.

Blurb: (The Folger Library General Reader's Shakespeare) Illustrated with material from the Folger Library collection.

To thunderous lightning three witches decide their next meeting shall be with Macbeth. In the following scene, a wounded sergeant reports to Scots
King Duncan that his generals, Macbeth (Thane of Glamis) & Banquo, have just defeated the allied Norwegians & Irish, led by the rebel Macdonwald. Macbeth, the King's kinsman, is praised for bravery & prowess.
Macbeth & Banquo converse, remarking on the weather & victory ("So foul & fair a day I have not seen"). While they wander in a heath, the witches greet them with prophecies. Tho Banquo challenges them, they address Macbeth. The first hails him as "Thane of Glamis", the second as "Thane of Cawdor". The third proclaims he'll "be King hereafter". He's stunned. Again Banquo challenges. They tell Banquo he shall father a line of kings. While the two men wonder at these pronouncements, the witches vanish. Another Thane, Ross, a messenger from the King, arrives to inform Macbeth of a newly bestowed title—Thane of Cawdor. The first prophecy is fulfilled. He immediately harbors ambitions of kingship.
Macbeth writes his wife about the prophecies. When Duncan decides to stay at the his castle at Inverness, Lady Macbeth plans to murder him, securing the throne for her husband. Altho he raises concerns about regicide, Lady Macbeth persuades him to follow her plan by challenging his manhood.
On the night of the visit Macbeth kills Duncan. The deed is unseen by the audience, but it leaves him so shaken that Lady Macbeth has to take charge. In accordance with her plan, she frames Duncan's sleeping servants for the murder by planting bloody daggers on them. Early next morning, Lennox, a Scots nobleman, & Macduff, Thane of Fife, arrive. The porter opens the gate. Macbeth leads them to the king's chamber. Macduff discovers Duncan's corpse. In feigned anger, Macbeth murders the guards. Macduff is suspicious but does not reveal this publicly. Fearing for their lives, Duncan's sons flee, Malcolm to England, Donalbain to Ireland. The rightful heirs' flight makes them suspects. Macbeth assumes the throne as the new King of Scotland as a kinsman to the dead king.
Despite success, Macbeth is uneasy about the prophecy that Banquo would be progentor of kings. He invites Banquo to dine & discovers that Banquo & his young son, Fleance, will be riding out that night. He hires two men to kill them. They murder Banquo. Fleance escapes. At the banquet Banquo's ghost enters & sits in Macbeth's place. Only Macbeth can see it. The rest panic at seeing him raging at an empty chair, until Lady Macbeth orders them to leave.
Macbeth goes to the witches again. They conjure up three spirits with three further warnings & prophecies. They tell him to "beware Macduff", that "none of woman born shall harm Macbeth" & he will "never vanquish'd be until Great Birnam Wood to High Dunsinane Hill shall come against him". Since Macduff is in exile in England (he meets with Malcolm & together they begin raising an army) Macbeth assumes he's safe. He puts to death everyone in Macduff's castle, including Macduff's wife & their young children.
Lady Macbeth becomes racked with guilt from the crimes she & her husband have committed. She sleepwalks, trying to wash imaginary bloodstains from her hands, all the while speaking of the terrible things she knows.
In England Malcolm & Macduff plan invasion. Macbeth, now identified a tyrant, sees many thanes defecting. Malcolm leads an army, along with Macduff & Englishmen Siward the Elder, the Earl of Northumberland, against Dunsinane Castle. While encamped in Birnam Wood, soldiers are ordered to cut & carry tree limbs to camouflage their numbers, thus fulfilling the witches' third prophecy. Macbeth delivers the famous soliloquy ("Tomorrow, & tomorrow, & tomorrow") upon his learning of Lady Macbeth's death (it is assumed she committed suicide, as Malcolm's final reference to her reveals "'tis thought, by self & violent hands/took off her life").
A battle ensues, culminating in the slaying of the young Siward & Macduff's confrontation with Macbeth. Macbeth boasts he has no reason to fear Macduff, for he cannot be killed by any born of woman. Macduff declares he was "from his mother's womb untimely ripp'd" (Caesarean section). Macbeth realizes the witches have misled him. They fight. Macduff beheads Macbeth off stage, fulfilling the last prophecy.
Altho Malcolm is placed on the throne & not Fleance, the witches' prophecy concerning Banquo, "Thou shalt beget kings", was known to the audience of the time as true, for James I of England claimed descent from Banquo.