Classic Fiction: Macbeth: Shakespeare at Home Book 1

Macbeth: Book 1 of the Shakespeare at Home series, is a fully annotated printing of the Shakespearean classic, annotated by Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre founders Carmen Khan and Jack Armstrong. Macbeth is the first of the eight-book series featuring detailed notes on every line of the play – what is being said, why it’s being said, what the drama of the scene is, and why Shakespeare included it.

Why Macbeth? “Almost everyone knows the story of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, and the story of Macbeth has many fascinating parallels,” notes Khan, the artistic director who founded the company in 1996. “Both Scrooge and Macbeth crave power without concern for others. The two tales dramatize the downside of too much ambition.”

“And then there are the supernatural visitors,” adds Khan. “One faces witches with predictions, and the other, the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. We all know which one heeded the warnings and went on to have a happy ending.”

Given the continuing challenge of homeschooling, parents might find Macbeth at Home a tool to engage their school-age children in one of the primary works of William Shakespeare, helping them to make the connection for them between characters and plots that have “haunted” us at Christmastime for generations. ◊

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