The Norton Critical Edition is again based on the First Folio (1623), the only authoritative text of the play. The volume includes a revised introduction and new annotations and textual notes.
The Second Edition also includes the innovative feature "The Actors' Gallery," which presents famous actors and actresses-among them David Garrick, Sarah Siddons, Ian McKellen, Hira Mikijirô, Patrick Stewart, and Kate Fleetwood-reflecting on their roles in major productions of Macbeth for stage and screen.
"Sources and Contexts" provides readers with an understanding of Macbeth's origins in earlier texts, specifically the works of the Roman playwright Seneca, the Tudor historian Raphael Holinshed, and the medieval drama The Slaughter of the Innocents and the Death of Herod. Contexts for the play include contemporary debates on predestination versus free will (Martin Luther versus Erasmus), witchcraft as fiction or fact (Reginald Scott versus King James I), the ethics of regicide (an Elizabethan homily versus Jan de Mariana, S.J.), and the ethics of equivocation (Henry Garnet, S.J., versus-new to the Second Edition-Sir Edward Coke).
Eight carefully chosen essays represent four hundred years of critical and theatrical interpretation. Contributors include Simon Forman, Samuel Johnson, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas De Quincey, Harry Levin, Stephen Orgel, Peter Holland, and, presenting the latest arguments on the authorship controversy, Gary Taylor. Finally, an engaging new selection of Macbeth's "Afterlives" includes excerpts from Giuseppi Verdi's Macbeth and related letters, Eugene Ionesco's Macbett (1972), Bill Cain's Equivocation (2009), and more.
This edition also provides a list of online and print resources.