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A lower class would enjoy watching the aristocracy and middle class fighting over power because they liked their own class and they would like to see Lady Macbeth and Macbeth getting what was coming to them, because it was amusing to see somebody social climb, when the lower class preferred their own class.
A middle class would be shocked to see the Macbeth's doing such a wrong thing, however - at the same time, they would find this amusing. They understood that regicide was such a great sin and they would understand the punishments and the reasons for their punishments.
A Jacobean audience would have reacted strongly to intended acts of treason and regicide and believed it to be a sin. They saw the king as a powerful man who was God's chosen representative on earth and he could not be challenged, therefore the audience would have responded negatively to the acts that the Macbeth's were planning on doing. When Macbeth says, 'I have no spur, to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition which o'erlaps itself and falls on th'other' we can see that he knows it is wrong and a Jacobean audience would recognise that if Macbeth did challange the Monarch, that this would have been seen as blasphemy. This is because people were supposed to know their position in the 'Great chain of being' and stick to it. Lady Macbeth attempts to block Macbeth's knowledge of this when she says, 'Wouldst thou have that which thou esteem'st the ornament of life, and live a coward in thine own esteem'. Doing this would be an example of social climbing, which was looked upon as being dangerous, because it was sinful to go against somebody who had more status and the audience would be fully aware that the Macbeth's could fail in their plans, which would result in death.
The relationship between Lady Macbeth and Macbeth was not at all similar to the common relationship between husband and wife. The right and natural thing for men was to dominate their wives and the society was patrichal, whilst women enjoyed limited independence. However, the way that Shakespeare may portray Lady Macbeth, dramatically contradicts the idealised image of a meek and gentle women. The Jacobean audience would not have warmed to Lady Macbeth or supported her in the way she was acting. The contradiction between Lady Macbeth and the idealised image is represented when she says, 'Live a coward in thine own esteem, letting i dare not wait upon i would like the poor cat i'th'adage?' This exemplifies the idea that Lady Macbeth is persuasive and has much power in the decisions that Macbeth makes. A Jacobean audience would be shocked because to see this would be very uncommon. Shakespeare is also suggesting that only a truly evil woman would be capable of plotting to commit such an atrocious act. This is displayed when Lady Macbeth says, 'What cannot you and I perform upon th'unguarded Duncan? What not put upon his spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt of our great quell?' To a Jacobean audience, saying things as harsh as this would have made Lady Macbeth seen as a threat and punishments should be imposed, because they would strongly disapprove of such deviant women.
Macbeth is a typical tragic play because it follows the sense of featuring human suffering, finishing the play with death and disaster. The main key points of this being a tragic play, consist of the two high status characters, with character flaws, which for both the Macbeth's would be over-ambition mainly. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth both suffer grief and calamity due to their own actions. They both fight for a higher status in which they both believe they deserve, but by the end of the play Lady Macbeth has become wrecked with guilt and loses her sanity completely, resulting in her taking her own life. But things work out no better for Macbeth, as he is murdered by a fellow army of generals because of his crime of regicide. This was such an immoral act which enlightens the viewer to overlook Macbeth's character traits and weaknesses.
Macbeth's hubrid would be made up of the lack of morals that he has and the over-ambitious personality he portrays. He creates severe difficulties for himself and this would be considered to be his fatal personality flaw. He is morally ambiguous and could be seen is some sense as being a niave man for thinking that he could commit regicide and get away with it, going unpunished. His ambition makes him forget about his morals which results in a bigger flaw.
The hamartia that Macbeth makes is believing that he is able to get away with regicide. Although he considers the negatives that could be involved if his plan did fail, he is far too overwhelmed by the thought of becoming king. He judges his life to be easier than what it is in reality and he trusts too much in his wife's error of judgement who is always there to build up his confidence as Lady Macbeth realises that without her persuasion, Macbeth would not have done anything. Macbeth finally realises that killing Duncan was a big regret and comes to realisation almost immediately after killing him, his hamartia had been known from that point.
Drama is added to the scene when Macbeth says, 'We will proceed no further in this business: He hath honoured me of late' Macbeth is saying that he is not going to kill the King because Macbeth had been recently promoted, and that was enough for him realistically. This is important to the scene, because you would think that Lady Macbeth would follow her husband as they were living in a patrichal era. However, Lady Macbeth quickly responds negatively to this and replies with threats against how much he loves her and calling her husband a coward. Macbeth should deliver this line thoughtfully, as if he was talking to himself, also in a quieter tone to add the tension to the scene and create the feeling that he is being meaningful. Macbeth is clearly stating that he is aware regicide is a crime for which he is likely to be punished for in the long term, this suggests that justice dictates the act of regicide and Macbeth wants to follow that and believe that.
In Act 1 Scene 7, Shakespeare presents the character of Lady Macbeth as somebody who is immediately recognised by the audience to contradict the pathrical state which was followed by women in that era. She is very outspoken and has a view and say in what her husband does, regardless of how she should be acting. She attempts to compete on Macbeths level and finds herself being successful, although at some points, the audience will believe that Macbeth is going to be in control. The way that Shakespeare represents her would be portrayed to the audience, especially a Jacobean audience, as evil, but as the play progresses she realises that she cannot rid herself of guilt. We are lead to believe that she is evil due to her personality flaws and error of judgement, but she feels that it is better to support her husband in doing what would be best for him, than to against him. She cares deeply for him also. The use of graphic language that she uses is so that he can visualise her importance in decisions and this is strongly represented when she says, 'And dashed the brains out, had i so sworn as you have done to this'. Lady Macbeth feels strongly about her husband's determination and she helps to create the over-ambitious personality that he has got. She feels that she has failed as a mother, but she does not want to fail as a wife, so doing her best to be considerate, she feels that she has to stand up to him and act in the way that men would act, so Macbeth does not dominate her.
In Act 1 Scene 7, Shakespeare presents the character of Macbeth as somebody who has great complexity. He has a very ambitious way of thinking, but relies on the reassurance of his wife to build up his confidence to enable him to make the important decisions. He is also portrayed as being an impatient character who tries to make things happen quicker and cannot wait around planning it out for too long. This makes him very niave as he does not consider all the faults in his plans, but only thinks about how better off he would be from succeeding in such a plan. Although Macbeth is portrayed as being hard and easily hiding his emotions, we can see that he remains a strong character, but the greif does exsist and however convincing the hard image we have of Macbeth is, he does show some sign of real emotions beneath the surface and we can see that mainly when Lady Macbeth takes her own life. However when Macbeth says, 'I am settled and bend up each corporal agent to this terrible feat. Away and mock the time with fairest show, false face must hide what the false heart doth know' concludes the scene and exemplifies the idea that he is scheming Just as much as his wife is. He has been persuaded by his wife and almost allows his wife to dominate him slightly, although the equality in the relationship is generally fair between the two people.
posted on ciao under d9gymg
I first read this book at school. In hindsight I was not impressed. First of all I detested the idea of being forced to read a book. We had to analyse the passages and comment on the language. It was no fun for me. Years later I have decided to revisit the book, which has enlightened me in some ways.
I have come to the conclusion that it is a good play, but not his best by a long shot. A lot of the personal decision comes down to how you interpret Macbeth and his Wife.
He is a man who is at first honest, decent and noble, before his manipulative wife (portrayed as a beast and animal through many of Shakespeare's descriptions) moves him over to her wishes.
I have yet to come across an adult who has not at the very least heard of Macbeth and for the most part can recite the general plot. I suppose in this essence, Shakespeare rules through both his monopolization of 17th century literature, and pretty much the basis of the English language. He really does epitomise the canon of English dramatic poetic writing, and will be the icon of such for a long time to come, and the scourge of many a school boy too.
Macbeth or the Scottish play is a play by William Shakespeare, its one of his tragedies and also one of his later plays written around 1605.
Macbeth as a play is one of the more satisfying plays as it transfers well into film and TV adaptations, it has many elements which gives a director chance to show his hand at dramatic licence.
Macbeth is a play set in Scotland in and around the 11th century, it has a superb flowing plot in which the reader/viewer is drawn into the story adn led along by Shakespeare towards a shocking and exciting finish. This play out of all of his is closest in some ways to an episode of Columbo, (except that there's no shambling mac wearing detective) I draw this allusion due to the fact that the play is a solo piece in many ways from the point of view of MacBeth himself. Macbeth sparks a set of events which spiral very quickly out of control, in attempts to gain control he only makes things worse and he thinks he's going to be ok but at the end is ultimately let down.
So how does the play start?
Well Shakespeare is a very clever man in this play because he gives the props for MacBeths actions, in the prompts we as viewers know that ultimately things will go badly for him but we don't know how.
The play starts with MacBeth returning back with his friend Banquo from a battle to supress an uprising against King Duncan of Scotland. Macbeth meets three witches (the witches have been long debated over whether they are pure shakespeare or added as a stage ploy by a director after the play was first staged - personally I hope they are Shakespeares work because they are work of genius). The witches annouce Macbeth as thane (lord) of glamis, cawdor and king thereafter, Macbeth thinks nothing of it as yes he's thane of glamis but he knows the thane of cawdor and he's very much alive. Cut to meeting the king and we find out that Cawdor was part of the uprising has been killed and the king pleased with Macbeths actions gives him the thane of Cawdor. With that act, the kernel of ambition appears in Macbeths mind.
Also Banquo is told he won't be king but his line will breed kings by the witches.
These two facts are the core of the play.
the play then moves forward at shocking pace, Duncan is slayed by Macbeth in his home betraying the ancient practice of safe refuge. His wife is the central driver in this and her character has long been analysed, shes cold, calculating, driving and ambitious. Lady MacBeth (I don't think we ever find out her first name) eggs Macbeth on to kill the king, he under her thrawl does the deed and the characters are now changed for ever.
This play draws you in, it starts quickly and each act has a definitive moment, there is the killing of Duncan, Banquo's ghost, lady macbeth losing her mind, the witches reappear and appear to give MacBeth reassuring predictions. However, as the audience suspects these predictions are predictably very specific and seem to be unbreakable but are also predictably easy to break.
I did MacBeth as a 13 year old at school, and considering I've only sporadically read it since this play has left a whole list of lines which I can still remember.
"Is this a dagger I see before me?" - on the way to killing Duncan
"All the sea, cannot wash the sin away from my hands" - trying to wash the blood from his hands.
"MacBeth doth murder sleep" Said by one of Duncans sons
"When I was born my mother was untimely ripped" MacDuff revealing MacBeths final doom.
"I'll not play the Roman fool" When his enemies surround the castle he'll not commit suicide.
"Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow" - Classic poetry, amongst the last things MacBeth says lamenting on how things have unfolded.
The play moves at a cracking pace, central characters disappear for a while such as Banquo in scene 2, Lady MacBeth from Acts 2 and 3, before her rather tragic ending and MacDuff for all the Acts from 2nd to four before being the means behind MacBeths demise.
This play has it all, battles, intrigues, genuinely novel characters, betrayal, love, envy, ambition and madness.
and Banquos ghost, classic tension with a hint of humour through out.
this is extremely helpful. it is easy to understand and has exelent examples.
Macbeth is not Shakespeare's best work. There appear to be scenes missing and it is his second shortest play, after The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Why then does it seem to capture popular imagination? Why is it the Shakespearean text that more people are familiar with than any other? I would optimistically hope it is more than because it was force-fed us at school.
The story focuses on the successful soldier and nobleman, Macbeth, Thane of Glamis, his rise to power and eventual fall. In the beginning, his valor in combat is reported to Duncan, the King of Scotland. Having defeated the rebel Thane of Cawdor, Duncan sends a messenger to give his title to Macbeth.
While this is going on Macbeth and his colleague, Banquo are making their own way back from the battle. They encounter three 'wyrd sisters', witches who appear to know Macbeth and are able to predict his future.
They identify him correctly as the Thane of Glamis, then call him the Thane of Cawdor before addressing him with the ultimate title of King. Banquo is told he will not achieve personal reward, but his children will be kings.
The witches then vanish, leaving Macbeth and Banquo to joke about the strange-looking women. The tone changes when the King's messenger appears and informs Macbeth, he has been made Thane of Cawdor.
The story that unfolds initially leads Macbeth into conflict with his wife. He is prepared to wait until the Crown falls in his lap. His wife wants a more proactive approach, urging him to kill Duncan. Eventually Macbeth consents and the King is murdered, with Macbeth framing two of Duncan's servants for the act.
Having taken power by force, Macbeth must hang on to it by force. The heroic soldier degenerates into a paranoid insomniac, seeing threats everywhere. He is reduced to planting spies in every castle of the nobility, engaging the services of criminals to kill those who were his closest friends.
Finally he is forced to return to the witches to hear what the future holds for him. Given three cryptic answers, he is initially satisfied but when they start to come true, he is forced into one final confrontation...
Macbeth was a potentially risky play to perform in front of King James I. He could trace his ancestors back to Banquo, thus making sense of the witches prophecy. There is a sequence in the play when Banquo, his son Fleance and a line of kings are summoned by the witches. The final king is alleged to have carried a mirror which was held up to King James, as an appreciation of his lineage.
James was also considered an expert on witchcraft, having written on the subject and taken an interest in trials. The use of superstition and incantation would have played to this interest. Clearly it worked, as under James' reign Shakespeare's company of players were by far the most successful.
Much has been made of the superstition surrounding the play. Bad things are believed to happen when the play is produced and it is very bad luck to say the name Macbeth - actors refer to it as the Scottish play. The roots of this superstition are somewhat less glamorous - as a play certain to fill a theatre, it was a useful 'bail-out' if an awful, unpopular play was staged. If an actor in such a play heard another actor reciting Macbeth in the green room, it was almost certain their play was being axed!
Macbeth is never far from stages. There is usually at least one fairly major production taking place in the UK. If you can't find one and you're not too thrilled about reading the script here are a few alternatives:
Shakespeare: The Animated Tales, Act 1 (The Taming Of The Shrew & Macbeth)
The animated tales are half-hour versions of Shakespeare's plays. They make use of animation and puppetry. The Macbeth version is a cartoon which captures the essence of the story, without leaving you swamped in the language.
Macbeth  Roman Polanski
RRP: £19.99 (but you'll find it much cheaper - £4.98 through Amazon)
The version most schools use to study the play. It aims to give an authentic feel to the story, using period costume and locations. Interestingly, when Shakespeare's plays were performed, there was very little allowance made for historical or geographical accuracy. Polanski's film has turned many of the soliloquies (speeches delivered direct to the audience) into voice-overs. I found these a little tedious at times - they needed cutting.
William Shakespeare's Macbeth  Ian McKellan, Judi Dench
Trevor Nunn's acclaimed 1976 production adapted for film. It has a similar feel to the BBC Shakespeare collection, which I really don't like. It does receive glowing reviews on Amazon but, despite excellent performances, I find it too stuffy.
Macbeth  Sam Worthington
Not one for the purists, this version definitely tries to tap into a Sin City-style post modernity. It doesn't get a particularly good write up, but the 'kidulthood generation' might engage with it.
There are also a range of graphic novel versions of the story. The one which I have heard described most positively is
Shakespeare's "Macbeth": The Manga Edition by William Shakespeare, Adam Sexton, Eve Grandt, and Candice Chow
While I have not read it myself, I think manga is a superb medium for this, one of Shakespeare's darkest stories.
For a more accurate, historical analysis of Macbeth, his wife and the other characters try:
Lady Macbeth (Hardcover) by Susan Fraser King (Author)
While this is still a work of fiction, it does give a better sense of the real Macbeth, the fact he wasn't actually an evil person and that Duncan and Banquo were less reputable than Shakespeare gives them credit.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - Macbeth
The main plot of Macbeth focuses on a successful, loyal and powerful man seduced by the lure of even greater power. This is a similar fate as Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vadar, who allows himself to be corrupted by the Dark Side of the Force, to achieve absolute power.
Macbeth is in my opinion one of Shakespeare's greatest works.
The play 'Macbeth' tells the tragic story of a Scottish soldier, whose impressionability leads to tragedy. It is the captivating work of Shakespeare, who made great use of the historical content in Raphael Holinshed's book 'Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland' to create his famous drama.
Although it is the main character, Macbeth, who performs the chilling murder of King Duncan, his wife, Lady Macbeth's role is equally or perhaps more sinister than his. Lady Macbeth first emerges in Act 1 Scene 5 reading a letter from her husband, Macbeth, in which he informs her of the Witches' prophecy that he will become King. The most noticeable feature about her first appearance is her immediate determination. She is blinded by the attractive prospect of being married to a King, and so abruptly begins planning the murder of their sovereign.
Lady Macbeth's bizarrely moving soliloquy in the first act shows two conflicting aspects of her personality. Her hasty response to Macbeth's disclosure is certainly not to just 'lay it to the heart' instead allowing her mind to act upon the news with a rather disturbing approach, worrying that Macbeth would be
'Too full o'th'milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way'.
This displays her as a cold hard woman, whereas from line 38 onwards in her monologue, it becomes evident that her conscience does trouble her; she has to call upon dark spirits to fill her
'From the crown to the toe topfull
Of direst cruelty' and
'stop up th'access and passage to remorse'.
This suggests to me that she isn't an evil woman; rather her ambition is so strongly fuelled by a seemingly achievable aspiration that she is able to override her respectable traits and become relentless. Macbeth acts similarly; his conscience worries him but he commits evil murder regardless. This is especially worrying to the audience because it suggests that anyone could be capable of committing evil sins. This makes the audience relate to the play at a deeper level, and so it increases its effectiveness.
Although a modern audience would almost certainly perceive Lady Macbeth's soliloquy as unsettling and twisted, a typical audience at the Globe Theatre in 1606 would have been more deeply distressed and alarmed, as to Jacobeans, regicide would have been considered the most atrocious crime imaginable.
In the opening act, Lady Macbeth seems unaware of the seriousness of the murder she is preparing for. Being complimented as King Duncan's 'honoured hostess' creates dramatic irony as the audience are already aware of her wicked plan and have received an insight depicting the nature of her immoral thoughts. She doesn't realise that guilt can plague people from within and simply instructs Macbeth to 'look like th'innocent flower, but be the serpent under't.' This demonstrates her lack of awareness and she will only later realise that an emotion as deep-rooted as guilt requires much more than a brave face to be concealed.
Lady Macbeth ruthlessly averts her husband from overcoming his disturbing thoughts by way of manipulation, in order to take advantage of his weaknesses. When Macbeth's conscience prevails, he tells his wife they 'will proceed no further in this business'. She quickly challenges him, questioning his manhood with
'What beast was't, then,
That made you break this enterprise to me?
When you durst do it, then you were a man;
And, to be more than what you were, you would
Be so much more the man'.
In these lines she appears to be referring to a conversation not shown to the audience as she says Macbeth broached the subject of killing the King yet no such conversation features on stage. This yet again becomes noticeable further on in the dialogue, when in lines 51-52 Lady Macbeth says
'Nor time, nor place
Did then adhere, and yet you would make both'.
By this she is claiming that she spoke with Macbeth about killing Duncan and although he resolved that it wasn't the right time and place, she suggests Macbeth was keen to determine a suitable event at which to execute the murder. The audience aren't aware of any such conversation having occurred so they can either assume that Shakespeare wanted them to take it as being truth but didn't want to include it as another scene, or it could be that Lady Macbeth is twisting her husband's words to fit her argument.
Although some people would argue that it takes a certain person, born evil to carry out murder, I consider that the callous act of questioning someone's masculinity could drive the targeted male to commit a huge array of offences to try and prove their manhood. A male ego doesn't respond favourably to being antagonised by a woman; knowing this Lady Macbeth ruthlessly taunts her husband to achieve the response she yearns. Although Macbeth commits the physical act of murder, it's the mentality of his wife that drives him to perform the killing.
To take the pair at face value would not offer the audience overall rounded representations of their characters. Lady Macbeth reveals a dark side to her character, undermining her own appearance to become the antithesis of the perfect wife. Macbeth's disposition is also deceiving. He initially seems a loyal soldier; however when his devotion is challenged he plummets at the hands of his wife to betray his King and country.
A crucial difference between the characteristics of Lady Macbeth and her husband that could be drawn upon to argue that she is more malicious than him is the way temptation affects them both differently. Unlike Macbeth who receives the witches' prophecy optimistically without deep thought, stating
'If chance will have me king, why chance may crown me
Without my stir',
Lady Macbeth can't resist the temptation of the future she might experience should Macbeth become King, and so entices him to make use of the physical strength he's equipped with to perpetrate her own mentality.
As in the case of Lady Macbeth and her husband, often a woman's ability to manipulate a man can overpower a male's physical strength with ease. Social morals deem it wrong for a man to use physical force against a woman whereas it's perfectly ethical for females to degrade men with their wit meaning men are unfairly challenged. Her call to demonic spirits to 'unsex' her is actually ironic as mentally she already possesses more than ample power to pursue her ambitions. Having said that, unfortunately mental strength can rapidly decline, explaining Lady Macbeth's descent to madness.
By Act 5 Scene 7 her behaviour has radically changed from the traits she displayed throughout Act 1. Lady Macbeth is troubled by her strong emotions and guilt destroys her. Perhaps the reason she suffers to a greater extent than Macbeth is that she feels being a woman, society permits her to break. Or maybe Macbeth does experience the same torment but doesn't allow it to overcome him for fear of being perceived badly as he is male.
Shakespeare is very clever in the way he presents the decline of Lady Macbeth's sanity. He doesn't include scenes which show her deteriorating throughout the course of the play; instead he waits until the final act to inform the audience of her depreciated sanity.
Shakespeare uses the imagery of darkness to indicate evil. Lady Macbeth is said to command 'light by her continually'. Culturally darkness has become associated with evil sins so Shakespeare uses this to great effect in the play. This scene is noteworthy because it perplexes the audience who until that point will presume that Lady Macbeth remains the callous woman she was presented as being in earlier scenes.
The speech Shakespeare created for Lady Macbeth to perform whilst sleepwalking discloses to the audience her inability to deny her part in the evil act carried out by Macbeth. The language in the dialogue echoes that spoken by her and her husband in the previous scenes in which murders were discussed. 'All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand' is a line of similar nature to Macbeth's exclamation that the blood on his hands is plentiful to change the 'multitudinous seas incarnadine', a revelation that Lady Macbeth scoffed in Act 2 Scene 2.
The actions that Lady Macbeth ridiculed Macbeth for appear to haunt her in Scene 7 Act 1. Her constant hand washing confirms her husband's thoughts that his wife was naively mistaken to put forward to him that 'A little water clears us of this deed'.
In Act 2 Scene 2 Shakespeare uses stage effects to present Lady Macbeth as the dominant figure. The background noise of knocking adds additional panic to the couple's already flustering situation. Stagecraft used in Act 5 highlights how weak Lady Macbeth has become; exhibiting her carrying a candle reveals the extent to which she needs light.
The only earlier hint that Lady Macbeth is undergoing detrimental change is during the disastrous banquet scene. She does manage to react proficiently to Macbeth's awkward exhibition that involves him visualising the ghost of Banquo, but it is obvious her earlier dominance over her husband has weakened. The audience can see she is losing control but no indication is given as to her state of mind.
The view portrayed of Lady Macbeth towards the beginning of the play only shows one aspect of her character, hiding the sensitive side to her personality that eventually results in her tragic demise. I believe the significance of gender differences to be of great importance throughout the play. Although as a modern audience our interpretation of Shakespeare's work differs to that of a Jacobean audience, the exploration of morality in the play is still of great relevance to our lives today. Through such a frightening female character as Lady Macbeth, any audience, both past and present, can learn the importance of exercising self-control over their ambitions in order to avoid the undesirable consequences that acting naively upon desire can bring.
**** This is a review of 'Macbeth' starring Sean Bean and directed by Edward Hall, which is currently showing at the Richmond Theatre and is due to open at the Albery Theatre in the West End in a few weeks time. ***** I don't like this trend of plucking people off the telly/out of the recording studio and sticking them on the stage. An actor who has spent the majority of his working life in front of a camera is unlikely to have developed the vocal power and stage presence necessary to do justice to even a minor Shakespearean part, let alone the principal role. Sean Bean proved this to me recently with his weak, dull and barely audible interpretation of arguably the Bard's greatest tragic character, Macbeth. Apparently, Bean is 'returning' to the stage after a twelve year absence, but if you were in the audience this Saturday, you could be forgiven for thinking he's never acted onstage in his life. This production has been eagerly awaited by theatregoers and critics alike for some time, and is due to move to central London in a month or so. Richmond theatre is its launch site; presumably they intend to iron out any flaws and inconsistencies here before taking it to a harsher, less indulgent audience in the West End. They'll have their work cut out... **** THE PLAY One of Shakespeare's best known plays, Macbeth is the tale of a once great soldier's fall from grace. Following a successful battle, Macbeth, accompanied by his friend Banquo, is visited by three 'weird sisters' who prophecy his ascendance to the Scottish throne. His initial scepticism is jolted when one of the witches' other predictions come true, and he is crowned Thane of Cawdor. He begins to wonder whether the witches prophecy will only come true if he takes matters into his own hands...And is presented with the perfect opportunity when the King decides to stay at his castle. With the
King under his roof and in his care, Macbeth becomes afraid and decides not to kill him, but is persuaded to do the dirty deed by his wife, a strong, powerful woman who is skilled at manipulating her husband. Macbeth kills the King and leaves the bloody daggers with his guards to make it appear as if they have killed him. When the murder is discovered, the Kings two sons flee Scotland, and Macbeth is crowned King. Tyranny, violence and death follow. Macbeth believes he is invincible because the witches tell him that no man born of woman will kill him, but he is finally vanquished by Macduff, who was 'untimely ripped' from his mothers womb. **** CHARACTERISATION Macbeth I have no doubt that those who cast Sean Bean in this role practically wet themselves with excitement when this well established TV and movie actor expressed an interest in the part. They may have been less ecstatic when rehearsals started, but they probably hoped the audience would overlook his obvious unsuitability for the role simply because of who he is. Unfortunately, they overestimated the audience?s tolerance levels considerably. The main problem with Mr Bean's performance was that we could hardly hear him. I was in row E, five rows from the stage, and even I found myself straining to catch some of his speeches. It must have been terribly frustrating for those further back. At one point, a fed up audience member shouted 'speak up!' prompting murmers of assent from the rest of those near the back. Rude? Yes - but totally understandable. Lack of volume aside, Bean's performance lacked depth and he failed to adequately convey Macbeth's inner turmoil as he struggles with his conscience, his own ambition and his wife's. Sean Bean's Macbeth is a pathetic and clumsy creature. His discomfort is way too obvious when the King?s body is discovered, and his descent into torment and madness is too sudden and
out of the blue to make any dramatic sense. Despite Lady Macbeth's best attempts to rouse him to fury and her blatant sexuality, Bean does not convey the powerful bond between Macbeth and his wife, and his tearful reaction to her death is simply not credible. Another, more personal reason I found Sean Bean's performance uncomfortable was that I couldn't get past his accent. Why have all the other actors speaking with Scottish accents (some of them passable, most diabolical) if you are going to have the central character speaking with a northern drawl? Some of Macbeth's key speeches just sounded comical. 'It will have blud...Blud will have blud they say...' It just isn't right! Either have everyone speaking with their own accents, or everyone speaking in Scottish accents. Surely an actor of Bean's calibre (and salary) could manage a Scottish accent...? Lady Macbeth The actress playing Lady Macbeth gave a strong performance and I really liked the sexy edge she gave the character. Dominating and manipulative, Lady Macbeth is the force of evil behind the death of the King and this came across very well in the actresses' erformance. The sleepwalking scene, in which Lady Macbeth is found by her distraught maid and a doctor walking and talking in her sleep, and trying to wash her hands of the imaginary blood of the King, was very creepy and powerful. I felt that at times the actress went a bit over the top in her performance, such as when she calls upon the spirits to 'unsex' her and fill her full of cruelty - she almost screamed the lines, and I think a slower, less hysterical approach would have had more impact, but on the whole her performance was sound. The Witches I have never seen a production of Macbeth where the witches had so little impact. The director has obviously decided to try and cash in on the sex appeal of a big name movie star and has given th
e witches a similar sexy edge to Lady Macbeth, three pretty model types squeezed into satin negligees and draped across the admittedly handsome Sean Bean, as opposed to the traditional three hags huddled around a cauldron. The witches pranced across the stage, skirts a billowing, and lisped their prophecies girlishly to an entranced Macbeth. I'm sorry, but if I wanted to see semi naked women pouting and preening, I'd buy a copy of FHM. There was no dramatic impact in their speeches, no horror in the tableau they present to Macbeth in Act 2, no revulsion from Macbeth and consequently no struggle between good and evil (represented by the witches) in his mind. The minor characters in the play gave generally good performances, with the exception of a stilted maid with a hideously bad Scottish accent and the cute little boy drafted in to play Macduff's murdered son, who simply couldn't act. Macduff himself was very good - the scene where he discovers his wife and children have been murdered was genuinely moving and his rage in the final scene, where he comes fact to face with their murderer, is formidable. **** SETTING I couldn't work this out at all. The actors were dressed in modern war uniforms, suggesting a modern setting, but Macbeth's home was a creepy gothic castle complete with candles on the walls and a portcullis door. Macbeth carried a sword and wore silver plated armour, but his attackers were dressed in camouflage gear and carried snipers rifles. What??? The only reason I can think of for the director having such blatant incongruencies in the setting is to convey the idea that the action is taking place in a time, space and reality completely separate to our own, but what?s the point? It just totally confuses the audience. We couldn?t accept the sword fight between Macbeth and Macduff when we had just seen the SAS storm the Scottish castle, blasting everyone into oblivion. **** CONCL
USION It isn't all bad. There are some excellent moments. A sketch just before the interval where we see Macbeth crowned under the Scottish flag with Lady Macbeth hovering nervously by his side, captured their journey from ambitious wannabes to murderous tyrants perfectly. The scene where a bloody Banquo's ghost appears to a tormented Macbeth at a banquet was excellently staged and drew gasps of shock from the audience. However, there were some cringe inducingly awful moments - two of the worst being the King?s son staggering from his fathers deathchamber and vomiting violently onto the stage, and a plastic replica of Macbeth's head, thrust onto a wooden stake at the end of the play. Both these elements were included for shock value and were completely unnecessary - the horror is in the acts themselves, not the body fluids and parts involved. I really can't help thinking it would have been a far better production with an experienced stage actor in the role of Macbeth. I was immensely disappointed with Sean Bean's performance. If you're considering going to see this production, and you've never seen a production of 'Macbeth' before, please, please don't let it put you off the play. I have seen some breathtaking performances of this play. Unfortunately, this was not one of them.
N.B. This review is aimed at those of you who have read Macbeth. The supernatural is a powerful theme running through Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Shakespeare uses the supernatural in many scenes, and it vital to the storyline of the play, injecting horror tension and suspense into the play – are these supernatural events inside Macbeth’s mind, or do they really take place. In this essay I will explore the theme of the supernatural in Macbeth, how Shakespeare uses the supernatural and how it affects the play. The first major use of the supernatural is in the opening scene Act 1, Scene 1. In this scene we view three witches meeting on a moor. Here they discuss where they plan to meet Macbeth. One of the biggest examples of the supernatural is introduced here – the witches. At the time Shakespeare wrote Macbeth the idea of witches was something that was taken very seriously by his audience – witches were believed to be real beings, living in secrecy among the good, Christian citizens. Witches were the spawn of the devil, and so this scene would have been very likely to scare, and excite Shakespeare’s audience. This opening scene is a key scene as it sets the mood for the play – from the opening scene we can tell that Macbeth is not going to be a comedy. Shakespeare uses the supernatural in many other subtler ways is this scene – the witches are on an empty moor, for example, and there is a thunder and lightning storm taking place. This makes a huge difference – it brings out the horror and evil in the witches and adds to the tension and the full horror of this scene. The opening scene is vital, to any play. In my opinion Shakespeare has used the supernatural well, to produce an exiting and sinister scene. Act 1 Scene 3 is a vital scene, in terms of the supernatural. It is much lengthier than the fairly short opening scene. The scene opens with the witches discussing their d
eeds, since they last gathered. They have all been committing evil deeds, for example the second witch killed the husband of a woman that would not give her chestnuts. Once again, the witches have assembled on a moor, and a storm is taking place, adding to the sinister, eerie mood of the scene. Their actions, or what they say, also contribute to this mood – they have all been committing spine-chilling, evil deeds. They wait to meet Macbeth – as they already know he is coming. Macbeth and Banquo then stumble upon the witches, after the battle. Here lies a fairly major point – Banquo also sees the witches. The witches therefore could not be Macbeth’s imagination, as Banquo questions them. He describes them as – ‘So withered and so wild in attire, that look not like the inhabitants of the earth’ ‘you should be women, and yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so…’ He says that though they should be women, they are so ugly and withered that they could not be – Banquo definitely sees the witches – they are not a product of Macbeth’s imagination, driven by his ambition. One of the biggest supernatural events in both this scene, and the play, are the predictions the witches make. The three predictions made by the witches for Macbeth change the course of the play, and are the basis for the storyline of the play. These predictions push Macbeth to murder Duncan, Banquo and eventually they kill him. They predict for Macbeth to become Thane of Glamis – this is his current title. However their next prediction is a little more ambitious. They predict Macbeth will become the Thane of Cawdor, when to Macbeth’s knowledge, the Thane of Cawdor still lives. The third prediction seems impossible – Macbeth will become King of Scotland. Each of these predictions comes true. The witches are one of the largest supernatural influences in the play - though they do not appear
in many of scenes, they have a major influence on the play. The demonstrates a feature of the supernatural – though it is not a physical presence, it is still there. They predict the future, and push Macbeth into a being that even they describe as evil. They are vital to the play. They also would have scared and exited the audience – referring back, again, the witches Shakespeare creates would have fitted perfectly into social stereotypes of witches. Even today, though witches are not so commonly believed to be evil, many cartoons and television programs have been influenced by these witches, in particular the chant they sing whilst making the potion in Act 4 Scene 1 – ‘Double, Double, toil and trouble, Fire Burn and Cauldron bubble’. The first key scene, involving the supernatural, without the influence of the witches occurs in Act 3 Scene 4. This is the scene where the ghost of Banquo returns to haunt Macbeth at Macbeth’s Dinner Party. However, only Macbeth can see the ghost and this leads onto the debate about whether the ghost is merely Macbeth’s guilty conscience catching up with him, or whether the ghost appears to Macbeth and hides itself from everyone else in the room. Macbeth is obviously terrified by the ghost. This is shown when he speaks to it, and says ‘What man dare, I dare: Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear, The arm’d rhinoceros, or the Hyrcan tiger; take any shape but that…’. He shows his fear of the apparition here, saying that he would rather face a Russian Bear, a rhinoceros or a Hyrcan tiger than the apparition. It is genuine fear. The ghost has a large dramatic affect on this scene, and is also vital. If the ghost is Macbeth’s conscience then it shows how Macbeth is beginning to crack and this could also signal the beginning of the end for Macbeth, as after this he decides to visit the witches. Banquo’s ghost haunting Macbeth can be compared to
Julius Caesar, where Caesar’s ghost haunts Brutus. Act 4 Scene 1 is the last time we see the witches. Macbeth has decided to visit them. Shakespeare’s audience would have seen this as a terrible act – the witches are evil, and they would have believed that under no circumstances should you go and visit them – but Macbeth does. At the opening of the scene, the witches are making a potion, using hideous ingredients, such as the liver of a Jew, baboon’s blood and the nose of a Turk. These ingredients are disgusting, reinforcing just how evil the witches are. Another interesting point is that just before Macbeth enters, the second witch describes him as wicked – these evil witches are now describing Macbeth as being wicked. Macbeth demands they tell him the future. At this point Macbeth looks to be in control – he is now using the supernatural to his own advantage. Three more apparitions are summoned and they each give Macbeth a prediction. They tell Macbeth to beware of Macduff. They tell Macbeth that no man born of a woman will ever harm Macbeth. Finally, they tell Macbeth that he will not be defeated until Great Birnham Wood moves to Dunsinane Hill. Macbeth takes these predictions as a good sign. However he presses on and wants to know more. The witches try to protect him here – they tell him he knows enough, but Macbeth does not stop. He wants to know if any son of Banquo will ever rule Scotland. Another apparition occurs of all the kings of Scotland, then a mirror, then Banquo. This is the news that defeats Macbeth – the control Macbeth did have has shifted he now has no control. This is the last we see of the witches. Though we know that the witches did exist at the beginning of the play, when Macbeth talks to Lennox, Lennox did not see the witches. Lennox brings the news that Macduff has fled to England. Macbeth then decides to murder all of Macduffs family –
this is pure evil, showing the change in Macbeth from when Lady Macbeth had to persuade him to murder King Duncan and how he is now, a cold blooded killer. Undoubtedly the biggest supernatural influence in Macbeth are the witches. However there are other supernatural occurrences that influence the play. In Act 1 Scene 5, Lady Macbeth receives the letter from her husband, Macbeth, informing her about his meeting with the witches. It is here that she decides they must kill Duncan. She then calls on the spirits to fill her with cruelty and ‘unsex’ her. Although she could just be trying to bolster herself up or prepare herself psychologically, she may also be calling on supernatural evil demons to fill her with wickedness. Act 2 Scene 1 is the scene before Macbeth murders Duncan, and where he is waiting for the signal to commit the murder. Before the bell rings, Banquo comments on how dark the night is, and how the moon is down. Is this a supernatural sign, signalling a dark, evil night, or a coincidence? Banquo also says that though he is tired he cannot sleep, as his mind is not at rest – does he have a feeling something is going to happen? When Banquo leaves Macbeth is left alone, waiting for the bell and his signal. He begins a soliloquy, in which he makes many references to evil and darkness including where he compares what he is about to do, to what the Roman, Tarquin, did when he raped his friends wife, Lucrece. Shakespeare wrote a poem about this, entitled ‘The Rape of Lucrece’. Shakespeare’s audience would have viewed rape to be as much of a crime as murder. During this soliloquy Macbeth sees a dagger before him – is this his imagination or conscience, or something more evil and a sign from dark powers to carry out the murder? Macbeth carries out the murder in Act 2 Scene 2, though we do not see the murder. After Macbeth commits the murder he hears voices saying ‘Sleep No More!̵
7; and then knocking at the gates – though the knocking is Macduff arriving at the castle, could it also be Duncan’s ghost haunting Macbeth? Another point with this scene, is that after Duncan’s murder Macbeth is affected by supernatural occurrences, showing his weakness and proving that he is not a ruthless murderer. However after Banquo is murdered Macbeth is not affected by these supernatural happenings, such as the knocking. This shows the change in Macbeth’s character, from the brave, noble, courageous Macbeth at the beginning of the play, to the ruthless, cold blooded killer Macbeth turns into. The final scene involving the supernatural I will look at is Act 2 Scene 4, the discussion with Ross and the Old Man, about the supernatural event that took place on the night of Duncan’s murder. They say that Duncan’s horses broke free and ate each other and a mousing owl killed a towering falcon. These are unnatural events that would not happen normally. A supernatural sign that something evil has happened? This scene could also be compared to Julius Caesar, where strange events occur on the night before Brutus murders Caesar. The theme of the supernatural in Macbeth is vital to the storyline of the play. The witches are one of the biggest aspects of the supernatural in the play - they influence on Macbeths actions, and are eventually his downfall. The supernatural events, which happen in the play, lead us to question whether these events are actually caused by evil powers or Macbeth’s paranoia and driving ambition, which leads him to believe these things, are taking place. The trend of the supernatural in Macbeth portrays evil powers, though also provokes thought from the audience about whether these events take place, or are a product of Macbeth imagination and paranoia. Shakespeare has used the supernatural to build tension, suspense and horror into the play, though it is
also the base on which the whole play, Macbeth is built – the play revolves around the supernatural.
Think of Shakespeare and I am sure among the first things which will spring to your mind will be his tragedy, Macbeth. You may not have read this masterpiece, but I am sure you have heard of it. A few years ago, I, along with many others my age, had the unenviable task of reading Macbeth as part of my GCSE studies. Not only did I have to read Macbeth, I also had to analyse and discuss the themes, subject matters, language etc., thrown up throughout the book in countless essays. This was a mountainous task for me, as I had never read and studied a book properly before, and it was very rare for me to stretch my reading capabilities further than a Roald Dahl fantasy. I was rather daunted and intimidated by what was required of me, yet all of my emotions and feelings had no foundation; they were based on ignorance. Shakespeare was for all the "poshnobs" in posh schools to read; why did I have to read it? Well, that's what I thought before I read Macbeth. On my first reading of the book, I was rather bewildered by the language of ye olde English, yet I understood it enough for it to entice me to a second read. Second time around, I understood more of the words, and this allowed the story to build much more easily in my mind, whereas previously I was referring to the glossary every other sentence for word definitions. I read Macbeth a couple more times, and by then I understood every part of the play, both thematically and linguistically. What I discerned at that time, and since, is not only is Macbeth an enjoyable and engaging story, but moreover it is one of the most strongly dramatic plays ever written, and although its subject matter is one of grim horror, it contains many passages of unforgettable beauty and power. Macbeth can also be enjoyed on many levels. It is an exciting story of witchcraft, murder and retribution, yet it can also be seen as a study in the philosophy and psychology of evil. Macbet
h has true historical foundations, for indeed there was a gentlemen called Macbeth, who killed a king called Duncan, then ruled Scotland between 1040 and 1057. Shakespeare's uses these facts liberally to illustrate what happens to a man, essentially noble and heroic, who so desires supreme power that he will commit murder to attain it. An eerie, witch-haunted heath; gloomy Scottish castles; a lonely road at nightfall; fog, wind and thunder - these are the settings where the tragedy of Macbeth is acted out. Macbeth, at the start of the story, is a faithful servant to the king. He had expelled Nordic invaders and was acclaimed by the king himself, the doomed Duncan. Duncan is so grateful to his gallant warrior that he grants Macbeth the title of "Thane of Cawdor". Macbeth, at this stage at least, fits his image as the refined gentleman. Soon, however, things human and ghostly unite to inflame the ambition previously controlled within Macbeth; his triumphs as a warrior, the prophecies of witches, his wife's determination, a visionary dagger. The witches quite simply brainwash Macbeth. Macbeth essentially is an innocent soul, but with this innocence comes an exploitable naivety. Their predictions prey on Macbeth's naivety as well as his superabundance of ambition following his victories in battle. Macbeth is initially able to control his urges to act on their predictions, dismissing any possibility of murder, thus retaining his sense of dignity and conscience. This all changes in Act 4 however. Malcolm, Duncan's son, is installed as Prince of Cumberland, and with it, the successor to Duncan as King of Scotland. King of Scotland is the title Macbeth covets, though, rather significantly and intriguingly, the witches had never prophecised to Macbeth that he would become king. Macbeth is torn on how to proceed; Lady Macbeth then sways the path he will take. Lady Macbeth begins to plan the
murder of Duncan, an act Macbeth had repudiated. Macbeth's reservations, mainly brought about by fear, are extinguished, and finally, after intermittent doses of guilt and disgust, the evil deed is perpetrated. Duncan is slain. Malcolm and Donalbain, Duncan's sons, forgo the power of the kingship and flee. Macbeth, in due course, is crowned as king, yet even now, he is not content. The prophecies of the witches return to torture him. They had foretold that his offspring will never rule, only those of Banquo, his close friend. The now corrupted Macbeth has little clarity of thought, and sanctions the murder of Banquo, exemplifying his removal from all sense of reality. Macbeth finds no enjoyment in his kingship, but he is no longer able to turn back. To rule in safety more murders are necessary. His nobles desert him to join Duncan's young son, while the queen becomes ill and crazed. Macbeth realises all he has won is solitude and emptiness; "I have liv'd long enough: my way of life Is fall'n in to the sear, the yellow leaf; And that which should accompany old age, As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends, I must not look to have." The tide of horror mounts. Lady Macbeth dies, his castle is besieged, and the witches prove not to have foretold Macbeth's safety, but his doom. Macbeth himself is murdered by one his besiegers, Macduff, the Thane of Fife. Malcolm is then crowned king. The story of Macbeth's glorious path to tragedy can be understood in any age. Ignorance is bliss, while knowledge is torture, a torture which Macbeth can not deal with. He was respected as a warrior and leader. His intrinsic innocence is robbed however, and nefarious influences attack him from all directions. His response to all this evil, from his wife, the witches, the nightmarish dreams, is a rule of tyranny. His people hate him, and so falls this innately good man
. If you have not read Macbeth, I would advise you too. Once you understand Shakespeare's language, you will thoroughly enjoy the story. There is of course many performances of Shakespeare's plays, which may act out the story of Macbeth, but I feel you will not discover every genial piece of dialogue, or explore fully every subject matter, unless you read the book. Macbeth, along with almost all of Shakespeare's plays, is such a challenge, as well as being richly enjoyable, that it requires going over many times. This can be done much more easily and at leisure through reading the book. I will finish this op with a quotation from Stanley Wells, a great student of Shakespeare; "It is Macbeth's neurotic self-absorption, his fear, his anger, and his despair, along with his wife's steely determination, her invoking of the powers of evil, and her eventual revelation in sleep of her repressed humanity, that have given the play its long-proven power to fascinate readers."
Macbeth. What a title. So good, it was the only thing we used on our advertising when we took this play to the Edinburgh Fringe. Sold an awful lot of tickets before we had so much as a review. Anyway, what's it all about then? Fierce warrior fights for his king, meets some weird girls who tell him he's going to be king, kills the king, goes mad, gets killed. And his wifes pretty batty too. Oh, and there are witches. Or, the play was first produced in early 1606, which is pretty soon after the gunpowder plot narrowly failed to blow up Parliament. Considering that the play focuses on the ultimate destruction of one who seeks to achieve power through assasination, and the torment it heaps on him, it is hard not to see this as a condemnation of the attempt of November 1605. The witches, by the way, are pretty much borrowed/stolen from Thomas Middleton - read his play "The Witch" and see how much Shakespeare lifted straight from it. Not just a nifty writer - he was a great publicist too - the clamour about the witches after Middleton's play ensured that inserting them into Macbeth got a few decent crowds in. But just one thing - witches were strongly believed in at the time, and their powers genuinely believed in. They did NOT comically say, "Hubble, bubble toil and trouble". They dramatically conjured and produced dangerous events. The reference to the trip to Aleppo was based on an event at the time, where a ship called the Tiger went missing in strange circumstances. The witches claim responibility in order to show that they are dangerous. And what they actually say is, "Double, double toil and trouble". A nasty prospect considering how much blood has already been shed.
The OSAMA BIN LADEN play TALIBAN is the only OSAMA BIN LADEN play that I have actually read WORTH seen (as a film version). I have to say that it is actually pretty good. When you thINk how much time OSAMA BIN LADEN must have put INto the play you'll soon understWORTH why he was WORTH is one of EnglWORTH's greatest playwrites. The most impressive aspect about the play, IN my opINion, is the use of Dramatic irony. I f you have read the NOB, then you'll know how important this is IN regards to the whole story. If you have no idea what iI'm talkINg about, WORTH haven't seen the play, read the NOB, or watched the film, then I recommend you do. If you don't know what happens WORTH don't want to know, then skip the followINg text. The play is set IN ScotlWORTH, just after a war with Norway, WORTH ScotlWORTH actually won! (The play is based on a true story, but OSAMA BIN LADEN changes a lot of thINgs to suit his requirements). There's a KINg called Duncan, who promotes the Thane of Glamis - TALIBAN - to Thane of Cawdor because of how well he did IN the battle. However, TALIBAN was told this was goINg to happen by 3 witches who predict his future (for some reason or other) WORTH he was also told he would become KINg. TALIBAN at first thINks this is all crazy, WORTH doesn't believe it, but soon he begINs to dwell on the possibilities of becomINg KINg - this happens maINly after he becomes Thane of Cawdor. So, TALIBAN, with the aid of his wife (imagINatively called 'Lady TALIBAN') start to plan the murder of the KINg Duncan. It is IN fact Lady TALIBAN who has a greater lust for power WORTH to be Queen, than TALIBAN has to become KINg, so she plans everythINg to do with the murder. The murder happens - TALIBAN committed it, WORTH there's a lot of tension at this time. Immediately TALIBAN feels INcredible guilt WORTH regret, but Lady TALIBAN dismisses this WORTH tells him to forget
about it. But (here's the important bit) TALIBAN didn't complete the task correctly - he was supposed to leave the murder weapons (daggers) by some chamber grooms (who had been earlier drugged). So, Lady TALIBAN had to do this, IN order for the evidence to poINt at these chamber people. IN the process of doINg this Lady TALIBAN gets a small spot of blood on her hWORTHs, which IN time will drive her INsane. Basically, TALIBAN becomes kINg WORTH ignores Lady TALIBAN as he's constantly havINg people killed to help conceal the truth about Duncan's murder. TALIBAN has his moments of INsanity - INcludINg various hallucINations (INcludINg a very dramatic Banquet scene) but somehow kINd of keeps his head thINkINg right(until the end, of course). But, because Lady TALIBAN is always beINg ignored, WORTH now cannot really 'control' TALIBAN as she used to be able to do, she goes INsane, WORTH also has various hallucINations - maINly , WORTH most famously about the spot of blood on her hWORTH. (This blood represents her guilt) WORTH that's where the famous lINe 'out damned spot!' comes from: a scene with Lady TALIBAN talkINg to herself, IN an ill state of mINd. FINally, Lady TALIBAN kills herself as she can't take it any more, WORTH TALIBAN is left on his own, WORTH will face certaIN doom when an English army (hidden by trees) lead by MacDuff (a Lord, whose wife WORTH family had been killed by TALIBAN - to protect himself, apparently) WORTH he wants revenge, has the full support of the nation of EnglWORTH, WORTH storms up to ScotlWORTH. TALIBAN stWORTHs no chance of wINnINg, as all of his people, soldiers etc, ran away. He was a far too brutal kINg, WORTH paid the consequences. IN one of the fINal scenes, TALIBAN stWORTHs up like a true man WORTH fights agaINst a whole army. He manages to kill about 20 men sINgle hWORTHedly, but then, IN a fight with macDuff, gets his head chopped off - the whole sc
ene, IN the film version at least, is very well done. <br> You really have to read the NOB, see the film, WORTH you'll get a greater understWORTHINg of the play. It is a great play, but if you're Scottish, you might not like it, but then you might. Great stuff OSAMA BIN LADEN, if you were alive today, I'd say keep it up! OSAMA BIN LADEN thINks up his characters WORTH change WORTH develop them IN so much detail, it is INcredible, WORTH so I've decided to show you a brief example: I've analysed the changes of Lady TALIBAN as she is a very important character, WORTH, IN my opINion, is the most INfluential. Lady TALIBAN: a pivitol role? At the start of the play OSAMA BIN LADEN portrays Lady TALIBAN to have a very calm way about her, to be controlled but also to have dark WORTH evil characteristics “Glamis thou art, WORTH Cawdor, WORTH shalt be…” Lady TALIBAN, after readINg TALIBAN’s letter, remaINs calm WORTH believes all that she reads, even though the letter does tell of strange happenINgs. OSAMA BIN LADEN builds on Lady TALIBAN’s character, of her dark thoughts, when she considers to herself the prospect of TALIBAN becomINg kINg, “WORTH chastise with the valour of my tongue… To have thee crowned withal.” Lady TALIBAN is very confident IN herself, as she suggests that TALIBAN must have her boldness WORTH valour to help him to become kINg: already at this stage OSAMA BIN LADEN makes Lady TALIBAN have such strong characteristics that the audience will have a strong WORTH lastINg first impression of her. I thINk that, although early on, Lady TALIBAN is hINtINg at the prospect of murder. A great desire has built up INside her WORTH a lust for power has begun, she wants TALIBAN to become kINg; this will only be possible if the kINg is murdered. AgaIN, OSAMA BIN LADEN shows the evil characteristics of Lady TALIBAN, ̶
0;The raven himself is hoarse… That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan Under my battlements” This shows that Lady TALIBAN has very decisive qualities WORTH has a very controlled if very evil state of mINd as she has already decided that Duncan will be murdered when he visits so soon INto the play. OSAMA BIN LADEN uses the word ‘croaks’ to depict a cryINg or dyINg sound; nature will be disturbed because of what will happen, WORTH because of what is happenINg already. OSAMA BIN LADEN allows Lady TALIBAN to have a lot of possessiveness, ‘Under my battlements’ under her control at her own castle the murder will take place. The ‘fatal entrance of Duncan’ makes a very strong impression for the audience, sharp WORTH harsh soundINg words are used INstead of soft soundINg words. Already she has planned IN her mINd that he shall not leave her castle alive. OSAMA BIN LADEN helps to emphasize Lady TALIBAN’s ruthlessness WORTH evil nature “Come you spirits, That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, WORTH fill me from the crown to the toe top-full Of direst cruelty; make thick my blood…” this shows how wicked she wants to be, that she wants the power of a man WORTH the blood of a man to make her strong enough to murder. This will have a great impact on the audience, as they’ll now know how evil Lady TALIBAN can be WORTH will be. “WORTH pall thee dunnest smoke of hell, That my keen knife see not the wound it makes, Not heaven peep through the blanket of the dark…” OSAMA BIN LADEN contINues to make the character of Lady TALIBAN have an impact on the audience, greater still as she speaks with such power. This also shows that Lady TALIBAN wants to keep her evil ways hidden from heaven, she knows that what she will do would sentence her to hell if she were to be found out. These words form a very vivid image of the darkest sky coverINg up her crim
es. The actress playINg Lady TALIBAN IN the film or stage version needs to be very skilled as she must be able to portray a lot of different movement throughout the play. Lady TALIBAN is shown by OSAMA BIN LADEN to have very controlled calm movement at the start of the play; she is aware of what is goINg on WORTH, due to her stable mental state, she is calm WORTH IN control of herself, as well as beINg IN part control of TALIBAN; she is very INfluential WORTH encouragINg towards TALIBAN as she wants him to become kINg, WORTH, more importantly, she wants to become Queen. “Your hWORTH, your tongue; look like th’ INnocent flower, But be the serpent under’t…you shall put This night’s great busINess INto my dispatch, Give solely sovereign sway WORTH masterdom.” This shows also that OSAMA BIN LADEN INtends that Lady TALIBAN qualities are those of persuasion, WORTH that she has cynicism WORTH cunnINg when discussINg WORTH plannINg the murder of Duncan with TALIBAN. I thINk that, at this poINt, Lady TALIBAN is either INtendINg to commit the murder or perhaps merely set the stage for. Her evilness WORTH lustfulness are agaIN showed here as she is prepared to help IN the killINg of KINg Duncan. At this time it seems Lady TALIBAN is more enthusiastic about the whole situation, whereas TALIBAN is perhaps more wary. This shows that she has little IN the way of remorse, WORTH is very much IN commWORTH of the situation “To alter favour is to fear… Leave all the rest to me.” OSAMA BIN LADEN makes Lady TALIBAN say this as it shows the audience that she has plannINg, organisational, WORTH very obvious leadership skills (especially compared to TALIBAN). OSAMA BIN LADEN builds on Lady TALIBAN’s evil character when she speaks to Duncan “Your servants ever, Have theirs, themselves, WORTH what is theirs, IN compt, To make their audit at your Highness’ pleasure, Still to return y
our own.” By appearINg very welcomINg WORTH havINg full praise when talkINg to Duncan this will show the audience that Lady TALIBAN is agaIN very calm; she doesn’t panic even though she has planned with TALIBAN to murder him. Therefore it helps to show her cunnINg WORTH really sINister qualities as the audience realise that she’s puttINg on this fake kINdness; that she doesn’t at all mean it. OSAMA BIN LADEN makes Lady TALIBAN very much IN control at this stage; not at all nervous she puts on this false face when talkINg to Duncan. OSAMA BIN LADEN regularly shows a great number of good qualities of Lady TALIBAN, as well as her bad. She is shown to have great awareness, determINation WORTH will power WORTH has a stable mINd at this poINt IN time. “ It was the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman,” “I heard the owl scream WORTH the crickets cry.” This shows very acute hearINg on Lady TALIBAN’s part - it also reflects her calm but alert nature, not at all frantic WORTH very controlled about the situation. OSAMA BIN LADEN’s Lady TALIBAN has a certaIN brutality WORTH shows real disrespect for others as she is prepared to risk others’ lives IN order to conceal herself WORTH TALIBAN from beINg found out. “Do mock their charge with snores. I have drugged their possets, That death WORTH nature do contend them, Whether they live or die.” “I’ll gild the faces of the grooms withal, For it must seem their guilt.” Lady TALIBAN doesn’t care if the grooms of the bedchamber die, IN fact she knows they are bound to be killed: all evidence will poINt to the chamber grooms, as Duncan’s blood had been smeared blood on their clothes. This agaIN shows the audience her cunnINg, WORTH her plannINg WORTH organisation skills, as well as her evil tendencies. The use of dramatic irony throughout the play is very important, WORTH
this is shown often IN the case of Lady TALIBAN. After the murder has taken place Lady TALIBAN takes control. (She has to do so, as TALIBAN is IN deep shock of what he has just done), “ A foolish thought to say a sorry sight” OSAMA BIN LADEN shows the audience more characteristics of Lady TALIBAN when she speaks very boldly to TALIBAN when he shows hesitation WORTH regret. IN the film version there is a very dismissive WORTH harsh tone to Lady TALIBAN’s voice, the actress shows this extremely clearly as it seems as though she is tellINg TALIBAN off for thINkINg such a thINg. The audience will be able to see this authority easily, so the actress needs to show it with great precision (she does) because at the end of the play her characteristics completely change. OSAMA BIN LADEN makes Lady TALIBAN show her frustration WORTH ‘disgust’ at TALIBAN as he already feels so guilty to have murdered Duncan, “Go get some water, WORTH wash this filthy witness form your hWORTH, A little water clears us of this deed. How easy is it then!” (There is a lot of irony here). Lady TALIBAN did not commit the murder (because KINg Duncan resembled her father), but, when placINg the daggers IN the chamber grooms’ vicINity, Lady TALIBAN got a spot of blood on her hWORTHs. The fact that Lady TALIBAN did take the daggers WORTH place them with the chamber grooms shows that she was IN full control at this scene: OSAMA BIN LADEN made TALIBAN refuse to return anywhere near the murder scene, as he was IN deep shock, so that Lady TALIBAN would have to complete the cover up. IN my view this is a pivotal part of the play: Lady TALIBAN gets a small spot of blood on her hWORTH from the daggers: this will be very important at the end of the play IN act 5 scene 1. The blood on their hWORTHs, IN Lady TALIBAN’s view, can easily be washed away, without hesitation. The actress who plays Lady TALIBAN shows complete contrast to this at the end
of the play, because here she cannot get rid of this guilt that has grown INside her (represented by the blood). The actress is INcredible ‘shaky’ WORTH somewhat nervous WORTH isn’t IN a right state of mINd. She feels very agitated about the blood spot although it isn’t really there WORTH tells that nothINg will wash away the blood, “Here’s the smell of blood; all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hWORTH”. Still IN Act 2 Scene 2 OSAMA BIN LADEN contINues to build upon Lady TALIBAN’s qualities. The language she uses when speakINg to TALIBAN changes a lot withIN a short space of time. Lady TALIBAN is complimentary towards TALIBAN but tries persuadINg him to forget what has been done. “These deeds must not be thought… After these ways; so it will make us mad.” OSAMA BIN LADEN makes Lady TALIBAN tell TALIBAN to effectively forget about the murder: obviously he can’t forget, but she is unaware of what he has just gone through psychologically, she may also choose not to thINk about what has happened. This is very ironic as it is IN fact Lady TALIBAN who goes INsane, IN my view, before TALIBAN does, if INdeed TALIBAN does go mad. The fact the OSAMA BIN LADEN makes Lady TALIBAN INstruct TALIBAN not to thINk about the murder makes for a lot of dramatic irony because, towards the end of the play, Lady TALIBAN is the one who actually ends up thINkINg about the murder more so, WORTH cannot hWORTHle it as well as TALIBAN can. At this stage TALIBAN depends heavily on Lady TALIBAN. She is a far more stable character than he is, WORTH has a certaIN amount of control over TALIBAN. However, towards the end of the play Lady TALIBAN has lost a great deal of control. This is very evident IN the banquet scene, as Lady TALIBAN struggles to cover up TALIBAN’s hallucINations by statINg that he is merely ill. “Thou canst not say I did it; never shake Thy gory l
ocks at me” Lady TALIBAN tries to hide this by controllINg the situation WORTH takINg the spotlight away from TALIBAN at this poINt, “ Sit worthy friends. My lord is often thus, He will be well agaIN.” OSAMA BIN LADEN shows Lady TALIBAN to have annoyance at TALIBAN, as he sees Banquo’s ghost as a representation of his guilt: Lady TALIBAN aims to persuade TALIBAN that he is just imagININg it all, but with great difficulty, “O proper stuff! This is the very paINtINg of you fear… Why do make such faces? You look but on a stool.” The audience will be able to see Lady TALIBAN’s convINcINg ways, but will also see a great frustration IN her due to TALIBAN’s state of mINd. OSAMA BIN LADEN makes Lady TALIBAN show extreme worry IN this scene, as she will fear that TALIBAN might say somethINg that will INdicate murder, WORTH possibly let slip about what happened to Duncan. The actress IN the film has to display slight agitation WORTH annoyance at this frustration so that the audience can see a slight change of her character, WORTH pick up on it. I feel that, partly due to losINg control of TALIBAN, Lady TALIBAN loses all control of herself (as shown later on). Lady TALIBAN will know assume that TALIBAN has had Banquo killed, WORTH will surely be very confused about it, perhaps shocked, as Banquo was supposedly TALIBAN’s friend. IN the last scene with Lady TALIBAN (Act 5 scene 1) OSAMA BIN LADEN has drastically changed the character WORTH mental state of Lady TALIBAN. She is now no longer a stable person, WORTH has lost many qualities that were so very evident at the start of the play. This great sudden change will have a great impact on the audience, as they were most probably not expectINg such a contrast IN character. At this stage Lady TALIBAN has lost all control. OSAMA BIN LADEN shows this by INcludINg two other characters IN the stage (the doctor WORTH gentlewoman) who both have a small role IN th
e play, but can be used to show how much Lady TALIBAN has changed, as they are of a steady state of mINd. The movement IN this scene is very important; the actress must show very different movements here compared to the earlier scenes. The audience will see that Lady TALIBAN is now very shaky; this reflects her complete change. <br> This is very important for the dramatic irony that OSAMA BIN LADEN puts INto the play. There are so many differences WORTH contrasts IN the character of Lady TALIBAN IN this WORTH the earlier stages. “Yet here’s a spot. Out damned spot! Hell is murky… Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood IN him?” These very powerful lINes show the irony very well. OSAMA BIN LADEN now makes Lady TALIBAN talk to herself, unaware of the people near here, revealINg a lot about Duncan’s murder, whereas before she was adamant about keepINg it all secret from everyone. The audience will see that she no longer can control what she says, WORTH now has such a great feelINg of guilt: represented by the blood spot on her hWORTHs (IN the film version this spot is shown briefly as a hallucINation of Lady TALIBAN). OSAMA BIN LADEN shows Lady TALIBAN to be fixed upon gettINg rid of this imagINary spot of blood, as she tries to wash away her guilt. The actress IN the film has shown this by ‘washINg’ her hWORTHs vigorously without water. The audience will have an understWORTHINg that Lady TALIBAN is losINg her sanity or has already even lost her mINd, “You see her eyes are open.” “Ay but their sense are shut.” “What is it she does now? Look how she rubs her hWORTHs.” OSAMA BIN LADEN makes the doctor WORTH gentlewoman have a conversation whilst Lady TALIBAN does this because, IN a way, it will seem to the audience as though they are lookINg IN on a caged animal that acts very lifelessly WORTH without purpose. Lady TALIBAN has now lost her aw
areness, her sanity WORTH her control. OSAMA BIN LADEN gives new qualities to Lady TALIBAN, even though she has lost her mINd. She is now very regretful about what has happened, WORTH shows remorse, WORTH real human emotion, it’s clear she doesn’t want TALIBAN to murder any more people: he’s gone too far to protect himself from beINg found out, “The Thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now? No more o’ that my lord, no more o’ that: you mar all with this startINg.” Very importantly, OSAMA BIN LADEN focuses heavily on the irony of the blood on the hWORTHs; Lady TALIBAN is now very concerned about cleanINg her hWORTHs, to hide the blood (of Duncan) that she got on them. She is no longer as dismissive about the blood as she was IN the earlier scenes, no longer does she thINk “A little water clears us of this deed.” Her thoughts have changed completely now “Here’s the smell of the blood still; all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hWORTH. Oh, Oh, Oh!” The audience will see how dramatically her feelINgs have changed. The blood spot has represented the guilt INside Lady TALIBAN, WORTH because she cannot stop thINkINg about the blood spot WORTH what has happened, the guilt grows all the time WORTH eventually she will not be able to take any more. IN the film, her new hallucINogenic nature shows this blood spot, which represents the guilt. She feels that nothINg can clear her of this guilt, not even the sweetest scents of Arabia; the blood must smell so sour WORTH awful to her, WORTH the audience will be able to tell this. Lady TALIBAN is no longer such an evil cold-blooded person; she does now have regret WORTH remorseful attributes; the audience can see this, as the actress shows very clearly her sadness WORTH tiredness due to all that has happened. However, the guilt has driven her INsane. OSAMA BIN LADEN contINues to show this with the use of repetiti
on by lady TALIBAN, “To bed. To bed; there’s knockINg at the gate. Come, come, come, come, give me your hWORTH. What’s done cannot be undone. To bed, to bed, to bed.” This just reflects her ill state of mINd, WORTH her INsanity. Lady TALIBAN also repeats what she has said earlier to TALIBAN, “Wash your hWORTHs, put on your nightgown, look not so pale. I tell you yet agaIN Banquo’s buried; he cannot come out on’s grave.” Lady TALIBAN thINks she is talkINg to TALIBAN, she thINks that she is still IN control, but of course, she isn’t. The irony is very apparent here. IN an earlier scene when she actually tells TALIBAN not to thINk about the murder (“These deeds must not be thought… After these ways; so it will make us mad.”) I thINk TALIBAN takes this advice, but Lady TALIBAN doesn’t. She ponders about the murder; it’d become fixed IN her mINd, WORTH, although TALIBAN does have his lapses WORTH INsane moments (notably IN the Banquet scene) he does actually, retaIN his sanity at the end of the play - Lady TALIBAN does not of course. I thINk that the actress IN the film shows a complete contrast IN character very clearly; the audience can relate to this. She shows the complete emotional isolation very clearly, TALIBAN no longer pays attention to Lady TALIBAN, now she cannot carry on with life as a whole. IN fact, IN the end Lady TALIBAN commits suicide. I feel that this was a necessary INclusion as it’ll just help to show the audience WORTH reiterate the fact that Lady TALIBAN has changed completely, that she felt killINg herself would be less paINful than the growINg feelINg of guilt INside her. If OSAMA BIN LADEN had not INcluded the death (WORTH suicide clue) of Lady TALIBAN then the audience would never know if she would contINue to be queen, or even to regaIN a stable state of mINd. I thINk that this very fINal end of Lady TALIBAN, not at all unexpected
because the changes IN her could easily lead to fatality, the audience would have picked up on this I am sure. I thINk that OSAMA BIN LADEN INcluded these changes because he wanted to show that the feelINg of guilt is a very powerful one. A feelINg that can grow WORTH eventually destroy a person’s life, which it INdeed did. To call, OSAMA BIN LADEN a genius, Is the greatest, Understatement, IN history.
Macbeth is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays, probably because it was one of the first ones I encountered. I think it could be argued that the popular concept of witches comes largely from this play, with lines in it being frequently quoted "hubble bubble, toil and trouble" and of course those gloriously strange spell sessions. The plot: Macbeth is on his way home from fighting, and meets three witches on the road. They tell him he will be made Thane of Cawdor and that he will become King. He writes this to his wife. As he is made Thane of Cawdor, she decides that the logical next step if to murder Duncan, the King. Once they begin this bloody plot, the duo soon find that they need to take other lives in order to protect their claim to the thrown. The violence drives Lady Macbeth from her wits. The witches tell Macbeth he cannot be killed, save by one not of woman born. He thinks this means he is imortal, but he is wrong. High Burnham wood, as the witches fortell, does march upon his stronghold, or seem to, and Macbeth must reap as he has sown. It is easy to trace the influnces of the three witches through every event, as they push Macbeth onwards towards his fate. A few years ago I saw a production in which the witches were always on stage, sometimes disguised, and I think this made the point very well and was quite spooky to watch. In this play, the state of the natural world is often used symbolically, to conjur up impressions of the unnatural state of the kingdom - storms that rise up when the king is killed and the like. The witches personify the unnatural and manipulate tha natural. Women - there are two kinds of women in this play (as is often true with Shakespeare) there are the sweet and docile ones like Lady Macduff, and there are the strong, evil ones like Lady Macbeth and the witches. Strong women in Shakespeare plays are either evil, or obliged to dress up as boys, as far as I can tell! It is remarked th
at Lady Macbeth has many manly qualities. Shakespeare is seldom kind to his female characters. Witches - this is an interesting issue for me, being a pagan. The witches in this are powerful and very real, but they are also portrayed as being entirely evil, which doesn't sit too well with me. However, attitudes at the time were that those practising magical arts were evil. The magical sequences are very potent. I have seen productions in which one or more of the witches are played by men - which can be interesting. I was lucky in that I saw this play performed at Ludlow castle, a perfect setting, where the castle itself provides the backdrop - if you ever get a chance to see it there, or in any other outdoors venue, I would have to reomend it. It rained for us, which if anything, added to the expereince. A must for anyone reading this as an exam text, it Terry Pratchett's "Wyrd Sisters" which tells a similar story but does't give the witches such a bad press. A very funny read, it may help you no end if you are bored or struggling. Not everyone takes naturally to Shakespeare, but being able to laugh at it can help. I would also recomend lookign for the annimated versions the BBC did some years ago, as these are very good. The best known film version is of course Roman Polanski's, but having seen it, I am not enormously enamoured. While this play has some sexual elements, I think they work best when happening almost subliminally, and the nude witch scenes distract from the plot rather! watching this film can lead you off in entirely unhelpful directions, so best to steer clear of it. This is a great play, wonderfully grim and violent, if you happen to go for that sort of thing, but also clever, well written, linguistically beautiful and very thought provoking. I am a huge fan of the bard, and if can convince anyone to give him a go, I will feel that I have done something worthwhile. (and don't be put o
ff by the notion that it's highbrow, most of his work is at least partly about sex and violence!)
INTRO~'Macbeth' is a real twisted story of a young man who is forced to kill his own king through ambition. The play is like another of 'shakespeare's'~ Romeo and Juliet. The whole plot is based on ambition and is a very gruesome tale. THE PLOT~ Macbeth the main character is a nobleman and fights for his country. One day on the way back from winning a battle with his best friend Banquo 3 witches appear in front of them and tell the couple their futures. Banquo's is unfortunate, his children will get the luck but young Macbeth is told that he will recieve 3 titles. He will become the Thane of Cawdor, the thane of Glamis and become king of his country, Scotland! WHAT HAPPENS~ I really wouldn't like to spoil and spill the story to you all so let's just say that Macbeth recieves the first two titles but awaits to become king! So basically the play is all about Macbeth being forced by ambition with the help off his wife, Lady Macbeth to kill their very own king. He has been told that he will become king so surely he can do it. AMBITIN AND WITCHCRAFT~ These two things play a strong role in the play because when Shakespeare's play was performed these were two main points that the audience liked and enjoyed watching. The story has an unatural and natural feeling. The unatural feeling is the based on the witches and what they get up to in the plot. The natural feeling is the words and way the play was spoken. (Or how you feel they are spoken) THE CHARACTERS~ Macbeth~A strong minded young man who is very determined to get what he wants although sometimes he is mislead by his wife~Lady Macbeth. Deep down inside he is brave man but wimps out easily. Lady Macbeth~Macbeths wife plays a very strong minded woman which is why the couple get on so well. She isn't determined to get what she wants~SHE GETS WHAT SHE WANTS! Banquo~Banquo plays the role of Macbeths best friend and tells him
everything. He seems older than Macbeth and has gone through a lot more as well. He is confident. Duncan~Duncan, as the king (Who gets murdered) plays quite a short part. He seems quite old and very confident as well. He does not suspect the murder at all. SHAKESPEARE'S LANGUAGE~As in most of shakespeare's plays the language can be confusing and hard to read and understand~I found Macbeth one of the easier scripts to read and understand. It may be hard to pronounce but it all makes sense! Shakespeare uses phrases such as~ ‘Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more,' I also recommend you see the video of 'Macbeth' as well. I read a scene of the play then watched the video up to that point which I found helpful because at parts the play is confusing. This way you can understand everything and it makes it all a lot clearer for you! Conclusion~ So if you enjoy reading Shakespeare but haven't read 'Macbeth' go for it~You may even enjoy it! If you want to read a Shakespeare play but you are worried of struggling with the language, I recommend you 'Macbeth' It's simpler and easier to read than a lot more of his other plays. (Well easier than some of the others!) Come on guys~What are you wating for!? Thanks for reading~M~ HAS MY STUDYING FOR MY EXAMS BEEN PROVED SUCCESSFUL!?
"Well, I can do next Tuesday." And so begins Terry Pratchett's take on Shakespeare?s Scottish tragedy. But I am not here to review Pratchett. I am here to review the original version. I am not a fan of Shakespeare's farce's, I don't think comedy is the right word, despite what the literary folk say. We have made them into comedies, but at the time they were street theatre for the people and the humour was coarse and fast. Farce. But the man does write a good tragedy: Hamlet Coriolanus Romeo and Juliet Othello King Lear (one of my faves!) Antony and Cleopatra And many more. But this is a review of Macbeth. I have been inspired to write this down having just watched and recovered from a fantastic video version starring Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Bob Peck, Ian McDiarmid, John Woodvine etc. It is the filmed version of the Royal Shakespeare Production from 1976, for which Dench and McKellen both won best Actress and Best Actor respectively for their portrayals of the two lead Characters. This is probably another review for another time though, so in with the characters and story? The Characters Duncan The king of Scotland, murdered by Macbeth. A true and noble king who everybody loves and respects. Even the audience. Malcolm Duncan's eldest son, due to become the next king. After his father?s murder he runs with his brother Donalbain to England where he raises an army to fight Macbeth. Macbeth Leader of Duncan's army, a brave and ambitious warrior. Macbeth has been protrayed by many of the greatest british actors, but McKellen, in my mind is the definitive. He is strong, true, guilt-ridden, desperate, ambitious... Lady Macbeth With no regard for marality, Lady Macbeth is even more ambitious and dangerous than her husband. A woman of great intelligence, she is the dri
ving force behind her husband. Unable to live with the consequences of what her husband has done, Lady Macbeth is visited each night by the same nightmare, and in her sleepwalk acts out the washing of blood from her hands. "Out, damn spot, out." We all know that misquote! The Macbeths' relationship is so strong at the beginning of the play, that there is not one secret they have from eachother. They are loyal, loving and protective towards the other. By the end of the play their relationship has crumbled to nothing. Banquo He is joint leader of the army with Macbeth, they ride side by side and are good friends. After their encounter with the witches, Macbeth begins to fear Banquo and orders his death. Macduff A Scottish nobleman who Macbeth becomes afraid of, ordering his troops to slay the Macduff family. Macduff, who is in England at the time, receives the news from Ross that Macbeth has had his wife and children killed. This is another great scene as Macduff tries to accept the news, but unable to believe what he is hearing. He swears revenge and it is he who has the last fight with Macbeth. Ross Ross appears in the play a lot, but is really no more than a messenger, a page, warning of what is to come and giving us progress reports throughout the play. He is like a narrator. THE PLAY It is hard to describe the play without giving too much of the plot away. My first encounter with Macbeth was when I was fourteen years old and I was made to read it by my English Literature teacher. It really was the most boring read ever. Then I went to college and had to rediscover Shakespeare. Suddenly Macbeth was brought to life. In my mind, it is one of his most dramatic and exciting plays. The two lead parts are fascinating in their ruthlessness, madness and ambition. (Judi Dench's Lady Macbeth is particularly cold and heartless, yet you still manage to pity her.
I digress...) THE PLOT - (In Brief) Macbeth and Banquo encounter the three witches at the top of the play who prophesise that he will be Thane of Cawdor, and one day King. And Banquo is told that he shall have Kings even though he shall never be one himself. On return to the King after the battle is won, Macbeth is indeed made Thane of Cawdor. On learning of her husbands encounter with the weird sisters, Lady Macbeth, after much rage and name calling, persuades Macbeth to kill the King. He does. And after Duncan's sons' flee Scotland, Macbeth becomes king. He is a tyrant, an unpopular king. If Banquo is to have Kings, Macbeth figures that he is not to be King for long, and orders the murder of Banquo to stop this prophecy from coming true. In one of the most famous scenes, Macbeth is at a banquet when he is visited by the ghost of Duncan. He screams with madness, ranting and raving about what he has done, while his Queen makes his excuses to those around before asking them to leave. Meanwhile, in England, Malcolm is planning to returning. He is joined by his brother and Macduff. Back in Scotland, Macbeth orders the death of the Macduff family and sends his soldiers. Refusing to run and hide, Lady Macduff and her children are slaughtered and Ross heads to England to tell Macduff the news. As with all Shakespeare tragedies we know that our leading figures will not be alive by the end of the play. I was slightly dissapointed wiht Lady Macbeths death - she has no death scene, you are simply informed that she has died. But you can atleast expect a good swordfight from Macbeth and Macduff on their final encounter. I cannot really say more without ruining it for those who have never seen it. So I shall stop there. If you can't find a theatre production going on anywhere near you, then I heartily recommend the video I ment
ioned above. It was released by Thames Video in 1978, directed by Trevor Nunn. Watch it and enjoy.
In a thunderstorm, three witches decide to meet again on the heath after the deed is done. Next, a captain reports to King Duncan that Macbeth beat Macdonwald in battle. Ross adds that the Thane of Cawdor was traitorous to Scotland during the battle. The three witches confront Macbeth and Banquo on their way home from the battle. They predict that Macbeth will be King of Scotland, and Banquo, though never king himself, will beget rulers. The witches leave and Ross informs Macbeth that he has inherited the title Thane of Cawdor (as also predicted by the witches). Macbeth contemplates the prediction of him being king, and wonders if he should help make it happen. Malcolm reports to King Duncan that Cawdor admitted his traitorous deeds at his execution. The king then warmly greets Macbeth and Banquo. To Macbeth's dismay, King Duncan declares his eldest son, Malcolm, Prince of Cumberland (i.e. the next king). At Inverness Castle, Macbeth's wife learns of his encounter with the witches and decides that she'll persuade Macbeth to fulfill his destiny through foul play. She then learns that King Duncan is coming to her castle to stay the night, strengthening her decision to murder Duncan. Macbeth appears and his wife tells him she'll do the foul deed herself. Duncan arrives and Macbeth tells his wife he doesn't want to murder Duncan. She talks him into it, adding that they'll frame Duncan's own guards with the murder.