Scripts of Macbeth

By the time that it came to be printed, the script of Macbeth was in a sorry state. One scene had been incompetently cut about; some scenes and some other passages had been inserted. It is not to be assumed that all of these additions are changes for the worse, but some of them certainly are. They fail to articulate properly with the rest of the play; and therefore they make it more difficult – in some cases they make it impossible – to understand what is happening. There is no hope of restoring Macbeth to its original form, but some of the changes which it has undergone can easily be reversed. The first thing needed, it seems to me, is a version of the play from which the most blatantly incongruous bits have been excised: failing that, no one can be expected to follow the plot, whether they are reading it or acting in it or watching a performance of the play.