Comments: 9
Macbeth? I hate that bit of fiddling by Middleton ...
Yep. I have often wondered what the unadapted version was like. The plot only seems to require the initial meeting with the weird sisters and MacBeth's voluntary visit to them i.e. the two prophecy scenes but if you cut out the Hecate and potion brewing scenes the play becomes very short - so what did Middleton cut out? Was it merely excess verbiage or have we lost some great speeches?
I'd have to double check, but I do think it's really just excess verbiage. I thankfully first studied Macbeth in high school with the Middleton additions left out, and I don't recall missing any scenes there that aren't also in the Middleton-edited version. Since you're reading the Oxford Shakespeare edition, though, the editors' annotations should tell you -- they're very specific as to what lines were added in F1 vs. the quarto versions (or deleted, as the case may be; see, e.g., the Hamlet Q2, which is considerably more extensive than the F1 Hamlet). Of course, for Macbeth no quarto version survives, but IIRC (I'm not at home at present and thus don't have my own Oxford Shakespeare handy), Wells and Taylor explain fairly specifically in the comments which parts / lines are believed to have been added by Middleton.
That's not the case in the Complete Works; are you referring to the individual play per volume editions? In the Complete Works of Thomas Middleton, they print the play in half-tone with the lines believed to be by Middleton in full-tone. There are minor amendments by Middleton scattered across the play according to that e.g. every occurrence of "witch."
No, I meant the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. There are end notes for every play (at least in my [2005] edition), and for the plays where F1 (which is the basic text of the Oxford Complete Works edition) is shorter / different from the quartos, in the end notes they reproduce the lines that are only in the quartos and not in F1. The exception, I think, being King Lear, for which several different quarto versions exist. -- It's possible that they only did so for the plays where F1 has *fewer* lines than the quartos -- though I do seem to remember there being an annotation on Middleton's additions in Macbeth, too. As I said, I'm going to have to double check once I get my hands on my own copy, though ...
There are "additional passages" for some plays with variant scripts but none such for MacBeth. They print two complete texts fro King Lear, on the basis that Shakespeare did his own radical adaptation after the original version had been in performance for some time. The editors only conjecture which passages are by Shakespeare in the plays in which he collaborated with one or more other authors - where-as this is considered an unauthorised later adaptation by Midd;eton of a Shakespeare original.
OK, yes, that's what I remembered, too. IIRC their rationale for including this particular version (Hecate and all) despite it having later been altered by Middleton is basically that (1) they're using F1 throughout the Oxford Complete Works edition, and this happens to be what's in in F1, and (2) this is simply the only text version of Macbeth that survived in the first place, and even though they're fairly certain that Hecate wasn't there when Will himself last put pen to paper in this play, they don't want to superimpose their own edits onto the surviving text.

FWIW, there's been a tremendous amout of research since the 2005 edition of the Oxford Shakespeare was released, and many of the things that were still only conjecture then (such as Shakespeare's co-authorship of "The Book of Thomas More") has since been confirmed by a solid line-by-line analysis of many of the plays involved. The most recent bit of news being that Marlowe co-authored the Henry VI plays ...
Having read Thomas More I'm confident they're right about that. As for Henry VI, it would explain why they aren't really all that fab...
LOL. Yup. :)