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  • Writer's pictureMackenzie Elisa

Macbeth

Setting: 1039-1057 AD

Inverness, Scotland

Tragedy


My really abridged plot summary: It's a dark and stormy night and Macbeth and Banquo have just defended Scotland from invading forces from Ireland and Norway. They encounter a group of three witches who tell them of their futures. Macbeth is told that he will become the Thane of Cawdor and eventually the King of Scotland. Banquo will beget a long line of kings, but never be king himself. The King, Duncan, makes Macbeth Thane of Cawdor, proving the witch's prophecy to be true, and tells Macbeth that he will be dining at his castle tonight. Macbeth writes ahead to inform his wife of everything that has happened. Lady Macbeth convinces her husband to kill Duncan so that he can become king. Macbeth stabs Duncan in his sleep and frames the chamberlains. In the morning, the body is discovered and the Macbeths play innocent and claim the crown. Macbeth wants to cover his bases and has Banquo killed, but his son gets away. Macbeth sees Banquo's ghost at dinner that night and frightens his guests. Macbeth goes to see the witches again and they tell him to beware of Macduff, that he cannot be harmed by any man born of woman, and he will be safe until "Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane." He feels invincible, but orders for Macduff to be taken out. Macduff has fled to England to meet up with Duncan's sons, but his wife and children are killed. When Macduff hears of their deaths, he swears vengeance on Macbeth and plans to invade Scotland. Lady Macbeth goes mad with fits of sleepwalking out of subconscious guilt. Before Malcom and Macduff arrive, Macbeth learns of his wife's death and he begins to reflect on the meaning of life. As the rest of the prophecy begins to come to reality, he begins to realize he might not be invincible. Macduff and Macbeth fight and Macduff is able to kill Macbeth because he born through cesarian-section ("not of woman"). Macduff kills Macbeth and Malcom is declared king.


My favorite quotes:

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

~Macbeth, V.v


Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell.

Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace,

Yet grace must still look so.

~Malcom, IV.iii


Ratings:

  • Overall Impression: 9- I love this play, it's probably the Shakespeare play that I have read/seen the most. It holds up every time and there's always something new to discover about it.

  • Use of Language: 10- I think this play is maybe half a degree below Hamlet when it comes to its poetry, Macbeth's "tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow" soliloquy is one of my all-time favorites. It was hard to pick just two favorite quotes. There's also a really interesting use of weather as a literary device in this play.

  • Protagonist Arc: 10- We get such an in-depth view into Macbeth's head and his emotional rollercoaster during this trip. Again, I think his final soliloquy is one of the most well-known and beautiful pieces of poetry that Shakespeare wrote.

  • Female Characters: 10- I mean, hello!?! Lady Macbeth is the OG gaslight, gatekeep, #girlboss. A manipulative queen! We also get the infamous trope of the three mean girls from this play. Movies like Heathers and Mean Girls are literally modeled after the three witches.

  • Fits Genre: 10- There's too many deaths for this to not be a tragedy. We see madness, manipulation and murder! The use of prophecy and ghosts are extremely prominent in this play, and we see it as well in a majority of the other Shakespearean tragedies.

  • Overall Enjoyment: 9- You know I LOVE #bloodonstage. I think this play does it a lot more effectively than Titus Andronicus does.

  • Hype Worthy: 10- This play is easy to follow, accessible, entertaining, and full of political intrigue. I think there's something in this play for everyone and it's not quite as meta as Hamlet is.

  • Emotional Impact: 8- Yeah I don't feel super emotionally attached to any of the characters in this play. I'm more intrigued by it than I an emotionally affected by it.

Total: 76/80

Average: 9

*5 out of 5 stars*

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