on July 12, 2016
Macbeth by the great William Shakespeare is such a stupid book, when you really think about it. I remember being young, asking my parents who Shakespeare is, and later asking if his plays were interesting, in their opinions. My dad liked Hamlet, but no one ever said anything about Macbeth. And then I discovered that I would be reading it for English class in tenth grade, and they both admitted that it's dumb. I didn't believe them, because Shakespeare is one of my favourite writers and I love the way he plays with words. And then I actually read this interesting story about greed and pride, and I discovered that they were completely right. Being a tragedy and all, we readers could immediately understand what to expect with this story: Macbeth is a tragic hero, therefore he dies, and others will die too, because of his great tragic flaw. It couldn't have been more dumber—but I was intrigued by this stupidity and the predictability of this great play. In the end, I must say that it was seriously great.
Many people have issues enjoying/reading books that are required for them to read because of school. I rarely have had that issue, because I find that my English teachers are doing a good job with choosing books for the curriculum that people my age would actually enjoy/relate to. Macbeth isn't totally relatable, as we don't live in a period of time where Canada/America has a king or queen, but we always do undergo these phases of greed or jealousy. This tragic play by Shakespeare explores supernatural aspects in the midst of a time setting of royalty and power in Scotland.
"See, see, our honour'd hostess.—The love that follows us sometime is our trouble, which still we thank as love. Herein I teach you how you shall bid God yield us for your pains and thank us for your trouble."
It's a simple yet complex plot. Macbeth is a Thane of Glamis in Scotland, being successful in battle and being known as the courageous man in their land. He has a high reputation, and is admired by King Duncan. After three witches approach Macbeth and his friend Banquo and tell him that he will become Thane of Cawdor, and later King, Macbeth strives to make these prophecies come true. Banquo thinks that the witches were all in their heads, being hallucinations, but Macbeth is naïve enough to know that this is no joke. He murders Duncan, and becomes King, of course, keeping a hidden identity as a murderer/assassin.
Of course, that's the climax moment. As every Shakespearean tragedy, the protagonist (or antagonist, as Macbeth is) undergoes this downfall or deterioration. That was the most interesting part of the play, in my opinion. Although I hated Macbeth's character so much as well as his utter stupidity compared to his kick-ass wife, Lady Macbeth, he was the highlight of the play and I felt that it was very important to pay close attention to his character. I was correct. Throughout the play, even though Shakespeare's use of language is very complex and nuts, compared to your average authors of modern day, or even other playwrights, I was so interested. Thank goodness my teacher did not give my class a pop quiz on who said what line. I would've died of fear.
"What, sir, not yet at rest? The king's abed. He hath been in unusual pleasure and sent forth great largess to your offices. This diamond he greets your wife withal, by the name of most kind hostess, and shut up in measureless content."
Macbeth is not as good as Romeo and Juliet, as I always look forward for some romance in the novels/plays I read, though I really enjoyed it. I felt a tight connection to the characters, and as soon as I realize how much I liked their character, they die. This kind of had the Game of Thrones vibe, I must say. From the start of the play, I had a feeling that I would rate this five stars, but that deteriorated a little in the middle where I couldn't stand Macbeth and his actions. Yes, that was supposed to occur, but it kind of got on my nerves, as intended.
William Shakespeare always knows how to derive his stories from a perfect setting, well mostly because he was fortunate to have been living in that particular time period as well. No author could mix up a perfect play like this and mould such a good setting into it as Shakespeare has. With the ghosts, witches, royalty and different themes, I was in love.
Macbeth has always been known as a classic, but I definitely see why. I ended up writing a comparative essay on this lovely story and you will find inspiration through this, too, even though it is quite predictable. All in all, there are no other stories like this in the whole world, and even if one does pop up, we will know what the original is. Get ready to love-and-hate this as well as one of the most popular antagonists in all of literary history, Lord Macbeth.
Even though the text in this particular book is available online, this side by side Elizabethan English and modern English translation of Macbeth is well worth owning. Aside from the extremely well-done translations of the old text, there are excellent explanations of what some of the lines are about. Most, as in 90% of students in high school, will struggle with Shakespearean plays, so this guide and definitive translation is a welcome addition to tools students can use to not only survive but also thrive in their English/Literature class. Obviously, for English majors, Shakespeare will also reappear in post secondary institutions, so again, this guide/translation may come to the rescue.