Series Editor: Joseph Pearce

Macbeth cover


William Shakespeare

206 pp, $7.95. Order Now!

"By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes..."

Arguably the darkest of all Shakespeare's plays, Macbeth is also one of the most challenging. Is it a work of nihilistic despair, "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing", or is it a cautionary tale warning of the dangers of Machiavellianism and relativism? Does it lead to hell and hopelessness, or does it point to a light beyond the darkness?

Study Guide to Macbeth

46 pp, $3.95

ICE Study Guides are constructed to aid the reader of ICE classics to achieve a level of critical and literary appreciation befitting the works themselves.

Ideally suited for students themselves and as a guide for teachers, the ICE Study Guides serve as a complement to the treasures of critical appreciation already included in ICE titles.

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This critical edition of Shakespeare's classic psychological drama contains essays by some of today's leading critics, exploring Macbeth as a morality play, as a history play with contemporary relevance, and as a drama that shows a vision of evil and that grapples with the problem of free will.

A look at the essays

Reviews of the available film versions of Macbeth, a staple for our Shakespeare titles, is provided by James Bemis, complete with comparison chart. Robert Carballo investigates the Bard's darkest tragedy's moral spine in "'Fair is foul, and foul is fair': Macbeth as Morality Play and Discreet Exemplum".

Hildegard Hammerschmidt-Hummel's essay looks at Macbeth from the perspective of Shakespeare's source material to see what, in his selection and editing, he had to say to audience, especially in light of things like the Gunpowder Plot.

The problem of free will versus prophecy is the theme of Regis Martin's contribution, while Lee Oser rounds things out with an investigation of how evil, especially the Weird Sisters, is portrayed in the play.

Joseph Pearce situates the reader with the introductory essay.

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Meet the Minds behind the Frankenstein Edition


Joseph Pearce

Joseph Pearce

Joseph Pearce is writer in residence at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee, and director of the Aquinas Center for Faith and Culture. He is the editor of the St. Austin Review and the Ignatius Critical Editions series editor. He is the author of three books on Shakespeare, published by Ignatius Press: The Quest for Shakespeare: The Bard of Avon and the Church of Rome (2008), Through Shakespeare's Eyes: Seeing the Catholic Presence in the Plays (2010), and Shakespeare on Love: Seeing the Catholic Presence in Romeo and Juliet (2013). He has also published books on a number of modern literary figures, including Oscar Wilde, G. K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, Roy Campbell, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

Critical Essayists

James Bemis

James Bemis

James Bemis is an editorial board member, weekly columnist, and film critic for California Political Review and is a frequent contributor to Latin Mass Magazine. His five-part series "Through the Eyes of the Church", on the Vatican's list of the forty-five "Most Important Films in the Century of Cinema", was published in the Wanderer. His essays on film adaptations of King Lear, The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth have appeared in the Ignatius Critical Editions of the plays. He is currently writing a book on Christianity, culture, and the cinema.

Robert Carballo

Robert Carballo is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Millersville University of Pennsylvania, where he served for many years as Director of Graduate English Studies. He teaches courses in Victorian literature, the Romantic poets, drama, comparative literature, and the short story. His publications include studies on John Henry Newman, Matthew Arnold, John Dryden, and Shakespeare, among others, and have appeared in scholarly journals in the United States, England, France, Puerto Rico, and Hungary.

Critical Essays in


Hildegard Hammerschmidt-Hummel

Hildegard Hammerschmidt-Hummel is Professor of English Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Mainz in Germany. Acknowledged as one of the world's leading Shakespeare scholars, her many books on Shakespeare include Das Geheimnis um Shakespeares 'Dark Lady': Dokumentation einer Enthulung (The secret around Shakespeare's 'Dark Lady': Uncovering a myster), Die verborgene Existenz des William Shakespeare: Dichter und Rebell im katholischen Untergrund (The hidden life of William Shakespeare: Poet and rebel in the Catholic underground), Die Shakespeare-Illustration (1594–2000): Bildkunstlerische Darstellungen zu den Dramen William Shakespeares: Katalog, Geschichte, Funktion und Deutung (Shakespearean illustraions [1594–2000]: The work of artists on Shakespeare's plays: Catalogue, history, function and interpretation), The True Face of William Shakespeare: The Poet's Death Mask and Likenesses from Three Periods of His Life and The Life and Times of William Shakespeare, 1564–1616. Her website is

Critical Essays in


Regis Martin

Regis Martin is professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, where, in addition to courses on Christ and the Church, he teaches such landmarks of literature as the works of Dante, Eliot, and Flannery O'Connor. The author of several books, including The Last Things and The Suffering of Love, he is married and the father of many children.

Lee Oser

Lee Oser was educated at Reed College and Yale University. His books include The Ethics of Modernism and The Return of Christian Humanism. He teaches English at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he lives with his wife and children.

Critical Essays in


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