Macbeth - William Shakespeare

Title: Macbeth
Author: William Shakespeare
Pages: 272
Published: 2011 (first published 1606)
Challenges: 2012 Reading Shakespeare: A Play a month
Genre: Drama, Classic
Edition: E-book
Source: Downloaded for free

Description: This drama is one of the great tragedy themed plays by William Shakespeare. The themes illustrated in the play include ambition, fate, deception and treachery. Three witches decide to confront the great Scottish general Macbeth on his victorious return from a war between Scotland and Norway. The Scottish king, Duncan, decides that he will confer the title of the traitorous Cawdor on the heroic Macbeth. Macbeth, and another General called Banquo, happen upon the three witches. The witches predict that he will one day become king. He decides that he will murder Duncan. Macbeth's wife agrees to his plan. He then murders Duncan assisted by his wife who smears the blood of Duncan on the daggers of the sleeping guards. A nobleman called Macduff discovers the body. Macbeth kills the guards insisting that their daggers smeared with Duncan's blood are proof that they committed the murder. The crown passes to Macbeth. More murders ensue and the bloodied ghost of Banquo appears to Macbeth. Lady Macbeth's conscience now begins to torture her and she imagines that she can see her hands covered with blood. She commits suicide. Macduff kills Macbeth and becomes king. (via

Thoughts: I have seen Macbeth performed, but I had never read it and this was something that I did enjoy but was not necessarily something that I just wanted to pick up for the sake of reading and honestly felt it was hard to find the motivation to read it.  Overall, the play was really good, but it wasn't something that I liked.  It felt like it was dark and morbid and maybe Shakespeare was playing with those themes as he was about 10 years away from dying when he wrote this play.  I think the most enjoyable scene was the witches scene in which they go "Double Double toil and trouble.  Clearly this play has a threshold quality to it, as Shakespeare companies and schools put on this play time and time again and clearly attracts people to come and see, but not necessarily read it.  I don't think that reading something like this is exactly popular (but neither is Titus Andronicus, which I never want to ever read again; trust me, its horrible).

While this is an excellent play, it didn't have the addictiveness that I have found with most of his plays that I have read beforehand (there are a number that I have read before that are good that aren't that addictive) and I also didn't feel that the themes were particularly strong in this play, especially when compared with Hamlet, which I find was a little more original and a little more addictive than Macbeth, but then that's me.

Bottom line: Overall it is pretty good and I was quite impressed with the play and the language and if you are a big fan of Shakespeare or of classic literature, I would highly recommend this play.

Rating: 4/5

Pages for 2012: 7701

If you have read this play, what did you think of it? Anything about this play that piqued your interest in maybe finally picking it up?


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