Let’s Get Literal: Macbeth

I previously asked for an idea of what I should read next and got the answer of Macbeth. So armed with my Kindle I am once again getting acquainted with the written word.

List Item: Read the complete works of Shakespeare
Progress: 6/37

With Shakespeare I know that it is better to watch them than to read them. Luckily for Macbeth I have a visual touchstone in the form of the BBC’s ShakespeaRe-Told series which saw James McAvoy take on the title role with Keeley Hawes as Lady Macbeth. This version changed the setting to a owner of a restaurant rather than the kingship of Scotland… but the premise is the same I guess.macbethretold

Thanks to this TV Movie and Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett (and the fact that this play is the propagator of a number of tropes) everything you read feels familiar. The thing is, in terms of characters, I did not find any of the male leads to be that interesting. It is interesting in reading it just how influenced they are by the six women of the play: Lady Macbeth, Lady Macduff, Hecate and, of course, the Three Witches. The best and most vivid scenes of the entire play, for me anyway, centre around women. First there is the famous scene of a sleepwalking Lady Macbeth who, being so full of guilt, is cursing the spots of blood she envisages on her hands. Then there is the scene where Macbeth receives further prophecies through visions of a disembodied head, blood-covered child and a child with a crown. It’s bizarre, creepy and amazing.

The thing is that one of the reasons I am trying to make my way through the plays of Shakespeare is to make it to the lesser known ones. Macbeth, Othello and Midsummer Nights Dream are all very well known stories… but I am looking forward to the likes of Timon of Athens and Pericles, Prince of Tyre since I have no idea what they are about.

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