Difference between revisions of "Macbeth"

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In partnership with Simon & Schuster Audio
In partnership with Simon & Schuster Audio
Listen to this Folger podcast that offers an introduction to the play via Folger actors and directors.

Revision as of 13:00, 31 December 2014

This article is about Shakespeare's play. For other uses, see Macbeth (disambiguation).

In 1603, James VI of Scotland ascended the English throne, becoming James I of England. London was alive with an interest in all things Scottish, and Shakespeare turned to Scottish history for material. He found a spectacle of violence and stories of traitors advised by witches and wizards, echoing James's belief in a connection between treason and witchcraft.

In depicting a man who murders to become king, Macbeth, one of William Shakespeare's plays, teases us with huge questions. Is Macbeth tempted by fate, or by his or his wife's ambition? Why does their success turn to ashes?

Like other plays, Macbeth speaks to each generation. Its story was once seen as that of a hero who commits an evil act and pays an enormous price. Recently, it has been applied to nations that overreach themselves and to modern alienation. The line is blurred between Macbeth's evil and this opponents' good, and there are new attitudes toward both witchcraft and gender.

Shakespeare wrote Macbeth in about 1606 or 1607. It was published in the 1623 First Folio.[1]

Productions at the Folger

Helen Hayes Awards
Nominations: "Outstanding Resident Play," "Outstanding Sound Design, Resident Production" for Karing Graybash and Kenny Wollesen, and "Outstanding Director, Resident Play" for Teller and Aaron Posner
Helen Hayes Awards
Nominations: "Outstanding Lead Actress, Resident Play" for Lucy Newman-Williams and "Outstanding Lighting Design, Resident Play or Musical" for Dan Covey

Early editions

First Folio

LUNA: First Folio: 2l6r - 2n4r
Hamnet: STC 22273 Fo. 1 no. 68

Second Folio

LUNA: Second Folio: 2n4r - 2p2r
Hamnet: STC 22274 Fo. 2 no. 07

Modern editions

Macbeth-new Folger Edition.jpg

Macbeth can be read online with Folger Digital Texts and purchased from Simon and Schuster.

Hamnet link to Folger Edition: PR2753 .M6 2004 copy 2 v.21

In popular culture


Performance materials

Other media

Audio edition

Macbeth Audio Edition from Simon & Schuster available on CD and as an audio download.

Macbeth audio cd cover.jpg
Macbeth Ian Merrill Peakes
Lady Macbeth Rachael Holmes
Duncan Eric Hissom
Macduff Cody Nickell
Lady Macduff Karen Peakes
Malcolm Aubrey Deeker
Banquo Richard Sheridan Willis
Ross Chris Genebach
Captain Louis Butelli
Lennox Todd Scofield

Other parts were played by members of the cast.

Directed by Robert Richmond.

Original music composed by Jessica Witchger.

In partnership with Simon & Schuster Audio


Listen to this Folger podcast that offers an introduction to the play via Folger actors and directors.


Hear Barbara Mowat, co-editor of the Folger Shakespeare Library editions, discuss the problems she faced while editing Macbeth.

Listen to Mowat talk about her approach to word choice and spelling issues in the play.

Below, Mowat discusses the different names for the three mysterious beings whose prophecies set the play in motion.

Luminary app

The Folger Luminary Shakespeare App can be purchased on iTunes.



  1. Adapted from the Folger Library Shakespeare edition, edited by Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. © 1992 Folger Shakespeare Library.