Macbeth

by: William Shakespeare

Suggestions for Further Reading

Bloom, Harold. Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. New York: Riverhead Books, 1998

Literary critic Harold Bloom argues that Shakespeare’s enduring appeal comes from his creation of characters who shaped and defined human nature. Bloom spends a chapter discussing each of Shakespeare’s plays.

Bloom, Harold, ed. Shakespeare’s Macbeth. New York: Riverhead Books, 2004.

A collection of critical essays by different scholars, covering a range of perspectives on the play. Topics of the essays include discussions of theology, maternity, and a comparison of Macbeth and Hamlet.

Bradley, A. C. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

A.C Bradley was a professor at Oxford University, and in 1904, he published a collection of the lectures he gave on some of Shakespeare’s tragedies. The collection includes lectures discussing the themes and form of Shakespearean tragedies in general, as well as more specialized discussion of the major tragedies.

Harbage, Alfred. William Shakespeare: A Reader’s Guide. New York: Octagon Books, 1971.

Provides a detailed introduction to Shakespeare’s language, literary techniques, rhetorical devices, and historical context. Harbage does provide some analysis and interpretation but the aim is primarily to give the readers the tools and confidence to appreciate the way Shakespeare uses language.

Hawkes, Terence, ed. Twentieth-Century Interpretations of Macbeth: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, NJy: Prentice-Hall, 1977.

A collection of essays by nineteen literary scholars covering topics such as imagery, symbolism, and language. The essays also explore the key themes of the play.

Muir, Kenneth. Shakespeare’s Tragic Sequence. Oxford, UK: Routledge, reprint edition 2005.

Literary scholar Kenneth Muir argues that rather than trying to impose a unifying and coherent pattern onto Shakespeare widely varying tragic plays, we should accept and appreciate that the form of each play is uniquely designed to cater to its themes and conditions. He demonstrates this by providing analyses of a range of Shakespearean tragedies.

Shakespeare, William. The Norton Shakespeare. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1997.

A primary source anthology featuring the texts of Shakespeare’s plays and poetry, as well as detailed editorial information and resources about historical context and secondary criticism.

Siegel, Paul. Shakespearean Tragedy and the Elizabethan Compromise. New York: New York University Press, 1957.

Siegel offers a historically focused interpretation of Shakespeare’s tragedies. He argues that for a time a delicate balance of social power was split between a newer and older group of aristocrats as well as the bourgeois professional classes. As the professional classes increasingly gained power, and the aristocracy lost their grip on social privilege, the unsettling of the social order gave rise to the context in which Shakespeare developed the themes of his tragedies.