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TRAGEDY OF MACBETH

EDITED, WITH AN INTRODUCTION, NOTES, AND

ANALYTIC QUESTIONS

BY

L. A. SHERMAN
Professor in the University of Nebraska

NEW YORK

HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY

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PREFACE.

The main purpose of this little book is to aid teachers in securing for their pupils first-hand knowledge of the ethic and æsthetic meanings of Macbeth. The occasion of preparing a special edition has been further utilized in making a fresh study of the text, and incorporating some results from many years of class-work upon the play.

It is hardly an open question whether the student should not be early required to work out his own exegesis, by the aid of his dictionary and like helps, of each literary masterpiece. It is not difficult to overedit texts for English study; and when the pupil is kept from feeling the personal responsibility of looking up words for himself, or when the tendency is to make him shirk the effort, the true limit has quite evidently been reached and passed. Yet it seems clear that Shakespeare, among authors usually studied, should stand as a conspicuous exception. There is large likelihood that all but extraordinarily endowed pupils will fail of much of the suggestiveness and covert potency of Shakespeare's inimitable diction, without, at least at the beginning, consistent help. So I have thought good to economize the efforts of the learner, and perhaps with unusual fulness have elucidated all expressions not immediately intelligible, while recognizing the understanding of these as a means but not the end of the work. I have not hesitated to quote other men's comments that seem particularly

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