Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Scottish Play

I have spent most of today immersed in Macbeth; I have watched the Roman Polanski film version of this bloody play, which by the way is a brilliant way to learn the story; I have spent three hours in class this afternoon analysing the first four acts; and I have just got rid of the resulting headache. Am I any wiser for this experience? Well, in some ways yes, however I still have this blind spot when it comes to Shakespeare and fail to see the relevance of his scribblings.

I have to admit that Macbeth is a romping good tale, well written, and pacy; boy is it pacy by the end of the first act we know that Duncan is going to get it. In the second act Macbeth has reservations about murdering Duncan, but within thirty lines Lady M has cajoled, by basically saying "you can't love me" and "what sort of man are you a coward", him into the dastardly act; methinks Lady M would would have been a good part for Lucrezia Borgia!

So who is to blame for all of this the witches for implanting the idea, Lady M with her naked ambition, or was it Macbeth's idea all along? Whatever, the deed is done followed by a lot of soul searching. Once the murder is discovered Macbeth loses no time in getting rid of potentail witnesses, Duncans servants; I suppose once you have committed one murder the next comes pretty easily.

Next Macbeth turns his attention to Banquo, a friend, having suspicions about whether he will remain friendly; paranoia setting in now. However this is a botched job and Banquo's son escapes. So comes the banquet with Macbeth all upbeat about things, that is until he sees Banquo's ghost which rattles his cage somewhat, the full on paranoia is gripping by now. Lady M steps in to protect her investment and brings the banquet to an end before it has even begun.

Macbeth goes off in search of the witches again learning far more than is good for him; but can these old hags be trusted? After which Macbeth turns his eye to Fife and Macduff's family ordering them wiped out. Now there was a logic to the previous murders, but this is pure and simple revenge, no logic in it at all!

More to come...

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