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This edition of Macbeth is most likely to prove valuable for what it omits—textual criticism and controversial questions. My aim has been a very simple one-to help the young and incurious reader to understand and enjoy one of Shakespeare's great tragedies. To attain this end, every effort has been directed toward stimulating the kind of labor that is, for such a reader, most worth while. It is taken for granted that he can be interested in Shakespeare's legend and its persons; that he will wish to get familiar with Shakespeare's way of putting things—his spirit, style, and language; that he will be glad to do some keen thinking; and that, so doing, he will read Macbeth in such a way as to enable him to master other plays intelligently and swiftly.
Most of the opinions advanced are purposely put in a positive form with the hope that they will either convince or stimulate—not confuse. Details have been viewed in the light of the whole, and, though the steps are often omitted, general conclusions have been reached only after examination of all the evidence at hand.
The text is based upon the Cambridge edition of 1892. Interpretive comment has been drawn largely from the works of scholars and thinkers, a partial list of whom will be found at the end of the introduction. Personal
contact with the student in the classroom, and with my * colleagues and friends outside it, has defined my views of