A Study Commentary

ISBN 0-9580058-2-6

Teaching Copy : US$14.95

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Student Edition : US$14.95

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“The first of several differences from Spark, Classic, Monarch, or other guides is that the Wordsmith Study Commentaries are much longer.  Another is the personal voice assumed here – reassuring, conversational, and encouraging.” From an AP Central Teachers’ Resources Review.

'Thought your notes on Macbeth really - to use that hackneyed word - brilliant.'

                                                                                   From our Commendations section


The purchasing instructions above relate to the pdf edition. The paperback edition (with the title 'Study Guide: A Macbeth Commentary') can be ordered through your school supplier or any bookstore, using the following ISBN numbers:

Teaching Copy ISBN-13: 978-1071216903 or ISBN-10: 1071216902

Student Edition ISBN-13: 979-8613437337

To order through Amazon just put 'litworks' in an Amazon Search box and you will see all eight books displayed. (Some Amazon sites may require you to add 'Macbeth' after 'litworks'.)

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TEACHING COPY vs STUDENT EDITION: The Teaching Copy has suggested responses to the study tasks built into the text, whereas the Student Edition carries them in a separate Answers Booklet at the endof the resource, so that teachers may withold them if they wish, or dispense them on an ongoing basis.

SAMPLE SECTION: Use the link at the foot of the page.       



Access to the study guide can be either by full purchase (using the Add to Basket buttons above) or through a WordSmith Site Licence. Click on the 'Site Licence Application' button at the foot of the page if you have an interest in giving students on-screen-only access to the book at reduced cost.

The Commentary will help you prepare the play for the classroom. Among other things it will suggest some answers to the tricky questions your students are likely to ask...and it will be an invaluable resource for your stronger students who wish to do independent study of Macbeth, beyond what you yourself have time to offer.



How the Commentary will help you...


If you are an International Baccalaureate (IB) student following the Language A Literature course (first examinations 2013), the Commentary will help you prepare for

    - the Part Two (Detailed Study) IOC - Individual Oral Commentary
    - the Part Three written exam - Literary Genres (Drama)
    - the Guided Literary Analysis/Literary Commentary question in the final exam

If you have chosen the Language and Literature option the Commentary will support your work within

    - Part Three (Texts and contexts) 
    - Part Four (Literature - critical study) 

If you are an IB Literature and Performance candidate it will deepen your knowledge of the play and broaden your understanding of Drama theory.


If you are preparing for Advanced Placement (AP) the Commentary's line-by-line analysis will give you a very complete insight into the play's fine detail, and help you develop the skills of close textual comment. It will also encourage you to think about some of the wider aspects of the play so that you will feel confident about using Hamlet to answer one of the Free-Response Questions.


If you are a GCE A Level student it will improve your understanding of the play's subtleties, and will help you with your course work and with commentary and essay questions in the final exam. 


If you are an undergraduate student (or a general reader) you will find that the Commentary, scholarly in its focus yet informal in its tone, looks at the play in a refreshingly different way and comes to some new conclusions about it.


How the Commentary works...

o It explores what's 'really' happening in each scene - what the situation is, why the characters are speaking and behaving the way they are, and how the play is moving forward.

o More importantly, it asks why Shakespeare is making things happen in that particular way.

o It draws your attention to the kind of things you will be expected to say about individual passages in the Oral Commentary part of the IB Diploma course, and in response to written commentary questions in AP textual analysis questions and A Level exams. It also includes sample commentary questions and a model commentary.

o It carries a range of essay questions in the style of IB, AP and A Level.

o It explains the troublesome words and ideas when they are especially important or interesting.

o It's set up to be used side by side with your own copy of the play. Line references are given in the margin of the Commentary to make it easier for you to move from one to the other. (References differ from one edition of the play to another, but not by very much.)

o The Overview section for each scene lists other, broader points of interest, under useful headings which will help you when you come to revise.

o The Student Response sections record some of the things students have said about the play and about the issues raised by it - revenge and its cost, the difficulty of knowing, the difficulty therefore of deciding, the thin lines between genius and madness and between love and cruelty, the beauty and brevity of human life.

o All the way through the Commentary essay questions are used as a way of exploring the play further, and also as a means of encouraging you to think about Hamlet not just as an exam text but as a piece of working theatre

o Quotations, line references and essay questions are colour-coded throughout.

o Since the book is delivered as a .pdf file, the whole range of Adobe tools (most notably the Find option) can be applied when the guide is being used on-screen.

o The book is designed to be printed out (if you wish to use it in hard copy) in Letter format (8.5" x 11") so that it can be easily coil-bound or held in a ring binder.

Enjoy your Macbeth studies, whether or not you decide to use the Commentary. You may find they change some of your views on how plays work, why Shakespeare is a great dramatist, and even on why people behave the way they do. Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's most dynamic plays, and you're lucky to be reading it. 


                              SAMPLE SECTION: SEE BELOW 


Click on Sample Section if you wish to view an extract from the study guide.


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Textual Analysis

Workbook Editions

The WordSmith Prompts