This is a detailed 2004 account of the theatre history of Shakespeare's Macbeth from 1607 to the present day. The shortest of the tragedies, Macbeth is compressed, complex and ambiguous and has been variously interpreted. The Introduction describes major productions and performers including David Garrick, Sarah Siddons, Henry Irving, Ellen Terry and Laurence Olivier. Sarah Siddons, the greatest Lady Macbeth, portrayed her as a ruthlessly ambitious woman who dominated her husband. Irving, on the other hand, saw Macbeth as 'a bloody-minded villain', unlike his wife, played by Ellen Terry, who was gentle and devoted. Ian McKellen and Judi Dench, in the most successful production of the last century, were united in their ambition and pursuit of evil. A detailed commentary alongside the New Cambridge Shakespeare text of the play describes how specific episodes and passages have been interpreted in the theatre.