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Macbeth

The following collection of thematically related readings is available in Macbeth and Related Readings in McDougal Littell's Literature Connections series.

"Insomniac" by Octavio Paz
(from Collected Poems 1957-1987, © 1986)
Summary: The speaker in this poem sounds as though he or she stepped out of Macbeth to reflect on yet another sleepless night.

"Better Than Counting Sheep" by Robert Penn Warren
(from Being Here: Poetry 1977-1980, © 1978)
Summary: This poem might be amusing advice for the sleepless Macbeth household.

"Macbeth" by Norrie Epstein
(from The Friendly Shakespeare, © 1993)
Summary: This essay explores several aspects of Macbeth: how the boundaries between good and evil become hopelessly blurred in this gloomy setting; whether the witches' statement that Macbeth will be king is a warning, a temptation, or a prophecy; and whether Macbeth is a criminal or a tragic hero.

"Like a Bad Dream" by Heinrich Böll, translated by Leila Vennewitz
(from Heinrich Böll: 18 Stories, © 1966)
Summary: This story shows another ambitious woman who teaches her husband about getting ahead through the art of making deals.

"How Many Children Had Lady Macbeth?" by Don Nigro, © 1966
Summary: In this monologue, a woman describes how her ambition to play the role of Lady Macbeth has led to some funny and also some sad consequences.

Into Concrete Mixer Throw by Barbara Roe
Summary: In this parody of the beginning of Act 4, Scene 1, witches are also stirring up a magical stew to bring trouble to humanity.

"Lady Macbeth's Trouble" by Maurice Baring
Summary: In this fictional letter addressed to Lady Macduff, Lady Macbeth sounds like a concerned housewife who wants to prevent rumors from being spread about her sensitive husband.

"Yscolan" by Myrddyn, translated by W.S. Merwin
(from Selected Translations 1948-1968, © 1962)
Summary: In this Welsh poem, written in the sixth century, a seer declares that he too was misled into doing evil.