This play should be renamed The Hallucinatory Cardboard King. I have read the edition named Oxford Shakespeare: Macbeth and my reason for choosing that particular one was the commentary. The idea was to learn more about the times and circumstances of the play.
To be honest I haven’t read through all of the introduction (about 100 pages or so) because I got bored and ended up carrying the book with me but not reading it. Careful and minute dissection of the verses, discussing the wording and the rhetorical use of phrasing, allusion etc. – clearly not my cup of tea. I had hoped for more on the political background, not how it linked in with Thespian tradition and how certain phrases and figures are used and reused throughout his works. So if that’s what you’re after this book is just for you. Me? I went hungry from the table.
The play itself, then? As already mentioned I don’t think much of it. I’m glad that I finally read it but that is mainly because I now know more about the play and as with any of Shakespeare‘s works it’s an intrinsic part of western culture. So I now feel a bit more well read. But that’s about it. Because seriously – a thane gets an hallucination in which he is told he will be king. He acts on it by murdering the present king, and proceeds with killing his friends, in one case family, servants and all. In the end he himself gets killed, mainly because he once more chooses to believe in the obscure words of yet another hallucination. And?!
Flatter than Avatar, if you ask me. Because while Avatar was 100% predictable at least it was beautiful and entertaining. Macbeth… he’s just insanely stupid, without the bells.
If Macbeth had been published today it would had sunk to the bottom without even a ripple in the surface.
Granted the right production it could be interesting to watch. Reading it?