Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Macbeth - Shakespeare

This was the first time that I'd read 'Macbeth' since high school.  I remembered the basics and I think that they're fairly well known.  To wit: Macbeth is a Scottish lord who is tricked by some witches so that he kills his king.  He is then proclaimed king and has to kill more and more people.  Finally, battling both his guilt and some remaining lords, he is killed.
Things that I didn't remember?
  • The three weird sisters are wildly clever.  The whole mechanism where they play on his ambition is wonderful.  They foresee one promotion and promise another.  When the first prediction is proved, the second one seems like a lock.  The hook is baited and the fish bites hard.
  • The reaction from Lady Macbeth is wildly extreme.  Shockingly so.  (But I think I'll give the Lady her own blog post.)
  • I think there is an element here that doesn't translate well in our time.  Macbeth was guilty of murder, of regicide really.  But what really made it bad was that he killed a guest.  If you read about someone in the paper that killed a guest, you'd be horrified by the murder but wouldn't care about the 'guest' part.  
  • In some ways 'Macbeth' was a big ol suck up to the new King James.  James was of Scottish descent and the play makes it clear that the future Scots were wonderful in comparison to that awful Macbeth.  Even though he was just trying to flatter his king, he wrote a wonderful play.

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