Monday, March 17, 2014

Final Point 5: Our Protoype Edition

Link to PDF

Annotated Table of Contents


  • We discuss the intended audience of our edition and the reasons behind our choices to suit that audience. We touch on the basic themes and characters to prepare the reader for the text to come. The goal is to connect with the reader and give them confidence that we will help them get through the text.


  • Act I, Scenes 1-3 of edited and annotated text

Reader’s Guide
  • Context
    • This section will include a brief biography of William Shakespeare, placing him in the historical context of drama in order to help the reader understand Shakespeare’s place in the literary world. It also discusses Macbeth’s place in this greater literary context as a one of his darkest tragedies.
  • Themes
    • This section will include a basic outline of themes and important elements within the text itself, designed to be easy for the reader to access, like a sparknotes guide.
  • Discussion Questions
    • This section will include questions designed to connect the reader with specific issues in the text and continue their own critical thinking of the play.

Critical Essays
  • This section will include several critical essays intended to make the reader’s entry into the world of literary criticism manageable and interesting. They will be clear, yet engaging and insightful for the reader.
    • “Macbeth, the Murderers, and the Diminishing Parallel” by Joan Hartwig
    • “Macbeth the Philosopher: Rethinking Context” by Michael Bristol

Simpleton's Introduction (Rough Draft)
Macbeth. One of Shakespeare's better-known plays, it's relatively short and easy to understand. If you haven't read it, here's a short list of what you'll encounter on your first go 'round: prophecies, kings, paranoid Scotsmen, Caesarian sections, and bearded women.

Yes, we're being serious.

Macbeth is the story of a king gone mad, a good man driven to murder by prophecy, paranoia, and ambition. As dense as the text can sometimes be with esoteric references to ancient and obscure events places, and persons, we've done our best to clarify Macbeth without compromising the original text, making it easier for the modern reader to understand. In this edition, we've compiled a collection of essays intended to explain and help expand the basic reader's understanding of the text, in addition to an annotated version of the text intended to familiarize readers with the meanings and contexts of archaic terms.

Throughout it all we'll be taking a look at the themes present in the play, the pathological and moral degradation of Macbeth, the role that Lady Macbeth plays in the carnage that follows. We'll show you the difference between Macduff and Macdonwald and Macbeth; what not to do when planning a total coup; we'll help you understand what martlets and jutties and coigns and limbecs are. In the end, it's our intent that you'll have a much better understanding of Macbeth than you did when you started.

Act 1 Scene 1
1st witch
When shall we three meet again?
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
2nd witch
When the Hurley-burley’s done,
When the battle’s lost and won.
3rd witch
That will be ere the set of the Sun.
1st witch
Where the place?
2nd witch
Upon the Heath
3rd witch
There to meet with Macbeth.
1st witch
I come, Gray-Malkin.1
2nd witch
Paddock2 calls.
3rd witch
 Fair is foul, and foul is fair,
Hover through the fog and filthy air.                                                  Exeunt.
Act 1 Scene 2
Alarum within. Enter King, Malcom, Donalbaine, Lenox, with Attendants, meeting a bleeding Captain.
What bloody man is that? He can report,
As seemeth by his plight, of the Revolt
The newest state.
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 lead it.

1: Gray-Malkin: A “familiar,” or spirit, that serves the witches in the form of a grey cat
2: Paddock: A “familiar,” or spirit, that serves the witches in the form of a toad.

Doubtful it stood,
As two spent swimmers that do cling together
And choke their art; the merciless Macdonwald
(Worthy to be a rebel, for to that
The multiplying villainies of nature
Do swarm upon him) from the Western Isles1
Of kearns and gallowglasses2 is supplied.
And Fortune, on his damned quarry (quarrel) smiling,
Showed like a rebel’s whore: But all’s too weak.
For brave Macbeth (Well he deserves that name)
Disdaining Fortune, with his brandished steel,
Which smoked with bloody execution
Like valor’s minion3 carved out his passage
Till he faced the slave,
Which never (ne’er) shook hands nor bade farewell to him,
Till he unseemed him from the nave to the chops4
And fixed his head upon our Battlements.
O valiant cousin, worthy gentleman.
As whence the Sun ‘gins his reflection,
Shipwracking storms, and direful thunders;
So from that spring, whence comfort seem’d to come,
Discomfort swells: Mark, King of Scotland, mark,
No sooner Justice had, with Valor arm’d,
Compell’d these skipping Kernes to trust their heels,
But the Norweigan Lord, surveying vantage5,
With furbished Arms, and new supplies of men,
Began a fresh assault.
Dismay’d not this our Captains, Macbeth and Banquo?
Yes, as sparrows, eagles,
Or the hare, the lion:
If I say sooth, I must report they were
As cannons over-charg’d with double cracks6,
So they doubly redoubled strokes upon the Foe:
Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds,

1: Western Isles: the Hebrides and Ireland
2: Kearns and gallowglasses: Irish mercenary soldiers
3: minion: darling
4: nave to the chops: navel to the jaw
5: surveying vantage: seeing an opportunity
6: cracks: explosives
Or memorize another Golgotha1,
I cannot tell: but I am faint,
My gashes cry for help.
So well thy words become thee as thy wounds.
They smack of Honor both: Go get him surgeons.
Exit Captain
Enter Ross and Angus
Who comes here?
The worthy Thane2 of Ross.
What a haste looks through his eyes!
So should he look, that seems to speak things strange.
God save the King.
Whence cam’st thou, worthy Thane?
From Fife, great King,
Where the Norwegian Banners float the sky,
And fan our people cold.
Norway himself3, with terrible numbers,
Afflicted by that most disloyal Traitor,
The Thane of Cawdor, began a dismal conflict,
Till that Bellona’s4 Bridegroom, lapped in proof5,
Confronted him with self-comparisons,
Point against Point, rebellious Arm ‘gainst Arm,
Curbing his lavish spirit: and to conclude,
The victory fell on us.
Great happiness.
That now
Sweno the Norways’ King, craves composition6:
Nor would we deign him burial of his men,
Till he disbursed, at Saint Colme’s Inch,
Ten thousand dollars, to our general use.

1: memorize another Golgotha: make as memorable as Golgotha, or Calvary, the site of Christ’s crucifixion
2: Thane: a Scottish lord
3: Norway himself: the king of Norway
4: Bellona’s bridegroom: Bellona is the Ancient Roman goddess of war; this phrase refers to Macbeth
5: lapped in proof: wearing strong (or proven) armor, protected by a lot of experience
6: composition: terms of surrender

No more that Thane of Cawdor shall deceive
Our bosom interest: Go pronounce his present death,
And with his former title greet Macbeth.
I’ll see it done.
What he hath lost, Noble Macbeth hath won.
Act 1 Scene 3
Thunder. Enter the three Witches.
1st witch
Where hast thou been, Sister?
2nd witch
Killing swine.
3rd witch
Sister, where thou?
1st witch
A sailor’s wife had chestnuts in her lap,
And munched, and munched, and munched:
“Give me,” quoth I.
“Aroint thee1, Witch!” the rump-fed runnion2 cries.
Her husband’s to Aleppo gone, Master o’ th’ Tiger:
But in a sieve I’ll thither sail,
And like a rat without a tail,
I’ll do, I’ll do, and I’ll do.
2nd witch
I’ll give thee a wind.
1st witch
Th’art kind.
3rd witch
And I another.
1st witch
I myself have all the other,
And the very ports they blow,
All the quarters that they know,
I’ th’ Shipman’s Card.
I’ll drown him dry as hay:
Sleep shall neither night nor day
Hang upon his penthouse lid3:

1: Aroint thee: get thee hence
2: rump-fed runnion: fat slut
3: penthouse lid: eyelid

He shall live a man forbid:
Weary sev’nights, nine times nine,
Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine:
Though his bark cannot be lost,
Yet it shall be tempest-tossed.
Look what I have.
2nd witch
Show me, show me.
1st witch
Here I have a Pilot’s Thumb,
Wracked, as homeward he did come.                      Drum within.
3rd witch
A Drum, a Drum:
Macbeth doth come.
The weird Sisters1, hand in hand,
Posters2 of the sea and land,
Thus do go about, about,
Thrice to thine, and thrice to mine,
And thrice again, to make up nine.
Peace, the Charm’s wound up.

Enter Macbeth and Banquo.

So foul and fair a day I have not seen.
How far is’t call’d to Soris? What are these,
So wither’d, and so wild in their attire,
That look not like th’Inhabitants o’ th’Earth,
And yet are on’t? Live you, or are you aught
That man may question? You seem to understand me,
By each at once her choppy finger laying
Upon her skinny lips; you should be women,
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret
That you are so.
Speak if you can: what are you?
1st witch
All hail Macbeth, hail to thee Thane of Glamis.
2nd witch
All hail Macbeth, hail to thee Thane of Cawdor.

1: weird Sisters: sisters of fate; prophecy-givers
2: Posters: Fast travelers

3rd witch
All hail Macbeth, that shall be King hereafter.
Good Sir, why do you start and seem to fear
Things that do sound so fair?  I’ th’ name of truth
Are ye fantastical, or that indeed
Which outwardly ye show? My Noble partner
You greet with present grace, and great prediction
Of Noble having, and of Royal hope,
That he seems rapt withal1: to me you speak not.
If you can look into the seeds of time,
And say, which grain will grow, and which will not,
Speak then to me, who neither beg, nor fear
Your favors, nor your hate.
1st witch
2nd witch
3rd witch
1st witch
Lesser than Macbeth, and greater.
2nd witch
Not so happy, yet much happier.
3rd witch
Thou shalt get Kings, though thou be none:
So all hail Macbeth, and Banquo.
1st witch
Banquo and Macbeth, all hail.
Say you imperfect speakers, tell me more:
By Finell’s2 death, I know, I am Thane of Glamis,
But how of Cawdor? The Thane of Cawdor lives
A prosperous Gentleman: And to be King
Stands not within the prospect of belief,
No more than to be Cawdor. Say from whence
You owe this strange intelligence, or why
Upon this blasted heath you stop our way
With such Prophetic greeting?
Speak, I charge you,                                   Witches vanish.

1: rapt withal: intrigued
2: Finnell: Macbeth’s father

The Earth hath bubbles, as the Water has,
And these are of them: whither are they vanish’d?
Into the Air: and what seem’d corporal,
Melted, as breath into the wind.
Would they had stay’d.
Were such things here, as we do speak about?
Or have we eaten on the insane root1,
That takes the reason prison?
Your children shall be kings.
You shall be King.
And Thane of Cawdor too: went it not so?
To th’self-same tune, and words: who’s here?

Enter Ross and Angus.

The King hath happily reciev’d, Macbeth,
The news of they success: and when he reads
Thy personal venture in the Rebels fight,
His wonders and his praises do contend,
Which should be thine or his: silenc’d with that,
In viewing o’re the rest o’th’self-same day,
He finds thee in the stout Norwegian ranks,
Nothing afeard of what thy self didst make
Strange images of death, as thick as tale2
Can post with post3, and every one did bear.
Thy praises in his kingdom’s great defense,
And poured them down before him.
We are sent,
To give thee from our Royal Master thanks,
Only to harold thee into his sight,
Not pay thee.

1: insane root: an herb that causes insanity
2: thick as tale: as fast as they can be counted
3: post with post: messenger after messenger

And for an earnest of a greater Honor,
He bade me, from him, call thee Thane of Cawdor:
In which addition1, hail most worthy Thane,
For it is thine.
What, can the Devil speak true?
The Thane of Cawdor lives:
Why do you dress me in borrowed Robes?
Who was the Thane, lives yet,
But under heavy judgment bears that life,
Which he deserves to lose.
Whether he was combin’d with those of Norway,
Or did line the Rebel with hidden help,
And vantage2; or that with both he labor’d
In his Country’s wrack, I know not:
But Treasons Capital, confess’d and prov’d,
Have overthrown him.
Glamis, and Thayne of Cawdor:
The greatest is behind3.
[To Ross and Angus]
Thanks for your pains.
[To Banquo]
Do you not hope your Children shall be Kings,
When those that gave the Thane of Cawdor to me,
Promis’d no less to them.
That trusted home,
Might yet enkindle you unto the Crown,
Besides the Thane of Cawdor. But ‘tis strange:
And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
The Instruments of Darkness tell us Truths,
Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s
In deepest consequence.
Cousins4, a word, I pray you.

1: addition: title
2: vantage: assistance
3: behind: yet to come
4: Cousins: fellow lords

Two Truths are told,
As happy prologues to the swelling act
Of the Imperial Theme. I thank you Gentleman:
This supernatural soliciting
Cannot be ill; cannot be good.
If ill? Why hath it given me earnest of success,
Commencing in a Truth? I am Thane of Cawdor.
If good? Why do I yield to that suggestion,
Whose horrid Image doth unfix my hair,
And make my feared heart knock at my ribs,
Against the use1 of nature? Present fears
Are less than horrible imaginings:
My thought, whose Murder yet is but fantastical,
Shakes to my single state of Man,
That function is smother’d in surmise,
And nothing but what is not.
Look how our partner’s rapt.
If Chance will have me King,
Why Chance may crown me,
Without my stir.
Now Honors come upon him
Like our strange2 garments, cleave not to their mold,
But with the aid of use.
Come what come may,
Time and the hour, runs through the roughest day2.
Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure.
Give me your favor;
My dull brain was wrought with things forgotten.
Kind gentlemen, your pains are registered,
Where every day I turn the leaf,
To read them.

1: use: normal habit
2: strange: new

[To Banquo]
Let us toward the King: think upon
What hath chanc’d: and at more time,
The Interim having weigh’d it let us speak
Our free Hearts each to other.
Very gladly.
Till then enough.
Come friends.


Critical Essays

(Amy) "Macbeth, the Murderers, and the Diminishing Parallel" by Joan Hartwig

This article discusses in particular the scene in which Macbeth hires the murderers to kill Banquo, and argues that the purpose of this scene is to shape the reader's view of Macbeth as a character and the play as a whole. Hartwig explains that Macbeth’s murder of Duncan had no real purpose except ambition; she thinks that this affected Macbeth’s murder order for Banquo in that he wanted it to have a larger and more meaningful purpose, which is why he comes up with lies against Banquo to tell the hired murderers. Hartwig also argues that the shallowness and indifference of the murderers highlights the complex feeling, passion, and morals going on within Macbeth, which helps readers to better understand and sympathize with his character.

In our edition intended for high school seniors or college freshman, I think that this article would be fairly well placed. While it does mention other Shakespeare plays such as Othello and Hamlet, it primarily discusses issues within the play itself. I think that our audience could find this article interesting, and I believe it could help them understand the play at a deeper, but still understandable, level. I also think that this article could be a good introduction to the critical conversation going on around Macbeth in the academic world.

(Mossy) "Macbeth the Philosopher: Rethinking Context" by Michael Bristol

This essay covers a number of topics, ranging from the necessity of context to understanding a text, to analysis of the text itself, in a void absent of historicist or contextual leanings. As useful as it may be to the initiated reader, it is the last third of this article, the analysis of Macbeth's emotions, pathology, and potential motivations, that will be most relevant to the plebeian reader. The analysis is by no means a definitive one, but it does not rely heavily on such texts or concepts as only English majors would be familiar with. This does not mean that the analysis is handed to the reader; they still have to work through and sort through the implications and connections on their own, but does so in such a manner as to still be accessible. As this edition is intended for high school seniors/college freshmen, the analysis section of this essay will provide a natural progression into the more advanced tiers of higher literature and analysis, without shoving them too hard into an amalgamation of terms and references that they have not encountered nor practiced yet.