Lincoln's Favorite Play
Shakespeare Applied to Our
Boston: April 1865
Rare Book & Special Collections
In an 1863 letter to Shakespearean actor James Hackett (1800-1871),
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) wrote: "I think nothing equals Macbeth.
It is wonderful." The president often entertained guests by
quoting his favorite passages from the play. In this broadside
created days after Lincoln's assassination, quotations from Macbeth about
the murder of King Duncan are used to express feelings about the
event. Coincidentally, just a few days before his assassination,
Lincoln read some of these quotations to a group of friends. Nineteenth-century
Americans were so familiar with Shakespeare's plays that the creator
of the broadside did not think it necessary to provide the source
of the words.