(2012) #19 review: Macbeth




177 pages

Published between 1603-1607

I read this book for the following Challenges:



First let me vent about bloggers who launch fantastic Reading Challenges, and then drop because blogging becomes too overwhelming! I have 3 like this this year, this is frustrating, but of course I will go on with the challenge, but I will miss the interaction with my fellow bloggers on Shakespeare’s plays.

And in case you wonder, I will keep my own reading challenge for you, unless I face a life/death issue. Even if I slow down blogging, the challenge will still going on. By the way, as for my own reading challenge for you, on the books published in the first years of your life, 20 people subscribed, but so far only 2 reviews have been posted. On the hyperlink given in this paragraph, you will easily see 2 underlines at the end of the post: one to sign in the challenge, one to post your reviews. It would also be great if all bloggers followed that type of structure: sometimes you have to look all over the place to see where to post your reviews.

Done with the venting, let’s turn to Macbeth.

I read and studied thoroughly Macbeth a few decades ago, and I remember being then fascinated by the portrayal of Lady Macbeth. This time, I found her more shallow, and was more attracted by the complexity of Macbeth’s character himself. It’s always tragic to see where false ambition and envy can carry you. Once you’ve entered that terrible circle, it’s very hard if not humanly impossible to get out of it. We see instead Macbeth going deeper and deeper into darkness, to the point of becoming anti-human, – this was a theme I was more attentive to this time.

I prefer tragedies to comedies, and especially the richness of Shakespeare’s characters in that genre.

Along with Macbeth, I read the Cliffs Notes on Macbeth, by Alex Went.
I really appreciated the way he analyzed each act under these categories:
theme, character insight, literary device, style and language. Very helpful!


One of the great Shakespearean tragedies, Macbeth is a dark and bloody drama of ambition, murder, guilt and revenge. Prompted by the prophecies of three mysterious witches and goaded by his ambitious wife, the Scottish thane Macbeth murders Duncan, King of Scotland, in order to succeed him on the throne. This foul deed soon entangles the conscience-stricken nobleman in a web of treachery, deceit and more murders that ultimately spells his doom. [Goodreads]


William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon” (or simply “The Bard”). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592 he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of the playing company the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later known as the King’s Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare’s private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.

Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century. Next he wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest examples in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights. Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime, and in 1623, two of his former theatrical colleagues published the First Folio, a collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognised as Shakespeare’s.

Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the nineteenth century. The Romantics, in particular, acclaimed Shakespeare’s genius, and the Victorians hero-worshipped Shakespeare with a reverence that George Bernard Shaw called “bardolatry”. In the twentieth century, his work was repeatedly adopted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain highly popular today and are consistently performed and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts throughout the world.



4 thoughts on “(2012) #19 review: Macbeth

  1. Pingback: Reading Shakespeare A Play A Month Challenge – Wrap up « Words And Peace

  2. Pingback: Six degrees of separation: From Three Women to a riddle | Words And Peace

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