Saturday, August 1, 2009
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
I am TOTALLY going to become a director, just so I can stage a production of Macbeth with these three as the witches. Just imagine psychedelic-mumu-witch, hot-glue-assembled-autumn-witch, and evil-barefoot-clown-doll-witch going around the cauldron, "By the Pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes..." Then, again, Amanda would refuse to attend the premiere...
I read three Shakespeare plays in High School - this is the one I remembered best. There is more than one reason (you get to read it in a Scottish accent, we listened to it on scratchy LP's with Vivien Leigh as Lady Macbeth, one of the girls got to shout 'out damned spot!' in class...), of course, but part of it is the powerful language in this play. Short of those occaisional quotes that you know because they're everywhere (some men are born into greatness, for instance), there are more Shakespeare lines that I remember in this play than any other.
"A drum, a drum Macbeth doth come!"
"...full of sound and fury and signifying nothing..."
"I was from my mother's womb untimely ripped!"
Now, having all those lovely, funny memories around this play makes it a little hard to realize that, underneath that this play is actually extremely horrifying. Hamlet is sad, and all (I haven't read it in years, so maybe I'll revise my cavalier opinion of it when I do) but Macbeth has this driving force that makes it, for me, uniquely powerful as an image of the what is worst in humankind. Macbeth could, just as easily, be Robespierre, or Doc Duvalier, or Hitler - pushed into power, seemingly by fate, but forced to see, when he gets there, the sickening combination of his own responsibility and his utter meaninglessness in the grand play of the world. Hitler matters, but he also doesn't, because he only matters as a subnote to what he made other people do - and so it is with Macbeth. His relevance is limited to the evil he made around him - evil, in and of itself, is not sufficiently durable to endure as a legacy (for better or worse at times).