Here are the books that help teach Shakespeare plays without the teacher constantly needing to explain and define Elizabethan terms, slang, and other ways of expression that are different from our own. Each play is presented with Shakespeare’s original lines on each left-hand page, and a modern, easy-to-understand “translation” on the facing right-hand page. All dramas are complete, with every original Shakespearian line, and a full-length modern rendition of the text.
- Helpful background information that puts each play in its historical perspective.
- Discussion questions that teachers can use to spark student class participation, and which students can use as springboards for their own themes and term papers.
- Fact quizzes, sample examinations, and other features that improve student comprehension of what each play is about.
No dramatist has ever seen with more frightening clarity into the heart and mind of a murderer than has Shakespeare in this compelling tragedy of evil. Taunted into asserting his “masculinity” by his ambitious wife, Macbeth chooses to embrace the Weird Sisters’ prophecy and kill his king–and thus, seals his own doom. Fast-moving and bloody, this drama has the extraordinary energy that derives from a brilliant plot replete with treachery and murder, and from Shakespeare’s compelling portrait of the ultimate battle between a mind and its own guilt.
Each Edition Includes:
• Comprehensive explanatory notes
• Vivid introductions and the most up-to-date scholarship
• Clear, modernized spelling and punctuation, enabling contemporary readers to understand the Elizabethan English
• Completely updated, detailed bibliographies and performance histories
• An interpretive essay on film adaptations of the play, along with an extensive filmography
Midsummer Night's Dream
In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare stages the workings of love. Theseus and Hippolyta, about to marry, are figures from mythology. In the woods outside Theseus’s Athens, two young men and two young women sort themselves out into couples—but not before they form first one love triangle, and then another.
Also in the woods, the king and queen of fairyland, Oberon and Titania, battle over custody of an orphan boy; Oberon uses magic to make Titania fall in love with a weaver named Bottom, whose head is temporarily transformed into that of a donkey by a hobgoblin or “puck,” Robin Goodfellow. Finally, Bottom and his companions ineptly stage the tragedy of “Pyramus and Thisbe.”
The authoritative edition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream from The Folger Shakespeare Library, the trusted and widely used Shakespeare series for students and general readers, includes:
-Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play
-Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play
-Scene-by-scene plot summaries
-A key to the play’s famous lines and phrases
-An introduction to reading Shakespeare’s language
-An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play
-Fresh images from the Folger Shakespeare Library’s vast holdings of rare books
-An annotated guide to further reading
Essay by Catherine Belsey
The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, is home to the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare’s printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit Folger.edu.
Romeo and Juliet
One of Shakespeare’s most popular and accessible plays, Romeo and Juliet tells the story of two star-crossed lovers and the unhappy fate that befell them as a result of a long and bitter feud between their families. The play contains some of Shakespeare’s most beautiful and lyrical love poetry and is perhaps the finest celebration of the joys of young love ever written. This inexpensive edition includes the complete, unabridged text with explanatory footnotes. Ideal for classroom use, it is a wonderful addition to the home library of anyone wanting to savor one of literature’s most sublime paeans to love.
Taming of the Shrew
The freebooter Petruchio arrives in Padua to hear of Katharina, a beautiful heiress whose waspish rants and caustic personality have repelled all attempts at courtship. Professing to admire a woman of spirit, Petruchio immediately sets about his wooing. The initial encounter between “Kate” and her wily suitor is spiked with impassioned exchanges of blows as well as jests. After a madcap wedding ceremony, the still-protesting Kate is whisked away to be “killed with kindness” and reborn as a loving wife.
One of the Bard’s earliest and most popular plays, The Taming of the Shrew is rife with subplots involving his customary devices of disguise and mistaken identity. The vivid language, studded with elaborate puns, is an engaging complement to the play’s slapstick humor. Reprinted complete and unabridged in this inexpensive edition, The Taming of the Shrew will delight any reader with its wonderful wordplay and rollicking good spirits.