RIPVI: Macbeth

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril

 

I read Macbeth by William Shakespeare for the RIP VI challenge hosted by Stainlessdroppings. It was indeed a great experience for two reasons- firstly, I was thrilled to clear one book off my TBR pile and secondly, the book transported me back to the days when I had a lot more of Shakespeare’s company with me. Those were the days of incessant Shakespeare quoting and enacting.

Now, Macbeth was certainly a macabre read very apt for the challenge. The witchcraft, treachery and upheaval that form the central matrix of the play kept re-assuring me, as I read, about all the ill talk associated with it. Of all the things in the play, I enjoyed thoroughly the character of
Lady Macbeth and of course the ‘weird witches’. Even though this play is not as acclaimed as other plays of Shakespeare, it is nonetheless nifty in its own right.

Who but the master can so artfully ascribe such horrific qualities to a woman? Lady Macbeth seemed very real and all the malevolence oozing out of the text kept me engrossed through and through. How could he that created a Portia or Calphurnia create a Lady Macbeth? That had me stumped. But then, that’s the reason he is Shakespeare, isn’t it?

The witches provided a comic relief apart from being ominous creatures. Their utterances sometimes were deeply disgusting and comical all the same. I suppose this was Shakespeare at his mischievous best.

ALL

Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch

Fillet of a fenny snake,

In the cauldron boil and bake;

Eye of newt and toe of frog,

Wool of bat and tongue of dog,

Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,

Lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing,

For a charm of powerful trouble,

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

ALL

Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Third Witch

Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,

Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf

Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark,

Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark,

Liver of blaspheming Jew,

Gall of goat, and slips of yew

Silver’d in the moon’s eclipse,

Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips,

Finger of birth-strangled babe

Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,

Make the gruel thick and slab:

Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,

For the ingredients of our cauldron.

ALL

Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch

Cool it with a baboon’s blood,

Then the charm is firm and good.

The other characters in the play are much like the rest of the Shakespeare train; some noble and some not. Macbeth proved himself a worthy protagonist and villain, marking off his enemies ruthlessly blinded by ambition and prophecies, all the time. His meeting with the three witches in Act IV Scene I was certainly the most enjoyable of all the scenes where Lady Macbeth is absent.

First Witch

He knows thy thought:

Hear his speech, but say thou nought.

First Apparition

Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! beware Macduff;

Beware the thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough.

Descends

MACBETH

Whate’er thou art, for thy good caution, thanks;

Thou hast harp’d my fear aright: but one

word more,–

First Witch

He will not be commanded: here’s another,

More potent than the first.

Thunder. Second Apparition: A bloody Child

Second Apparition

Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!

MACBETH

Had I three ears, I’ld hear thee.

Second Apparition

Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn

The power of man, for none of woman born

Shall harm Macbeth.

Descends

MACBETH

Then live, Macduff: what need I fear of thee?

But yet I’ll make assurance double sure,

And take a bond of fate: thou shalt not live;

That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies,

And sleep in spite of thunder.

Thunder. Third Apparition: a Child crowned, with a tree in his hand

What is this

That rises like the issue of a king,

And wears upon his baby-brow the round

And top of sovereignty?

ALL

Listen, but speak not to’t.

Third Apparition

Be lion-mettled, proud; and take no care

Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are:

Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until

Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill

Shall come against him.

The death of Lady Macbeth is again a part of the play that interested me most. The few happenings prior her death is so full of insane things such as sleep-walking and sleep-talking. I couldn’t help chuckling as I revelled in Lady Macbeth’s distress and devoured the flowing text. Many are of the opinion that the last scene of the play is pretty disappointing in that it lacks the usual embellishments of Shakespeare’s wit.

But I felt it was an apt and clean ending because the fall of Macbeth does not call for so much of rejoicing in style. I suppose Shakespeare designed it to be that way. This is owing to the fact that the reader in a way starts to sympathise with Macbeth; the malice creeps into the reader’s mind too. He lets us revel in the world of witches, prophecies and dark imagery. For the theme at hand I feel it couldn’t have been delivered in any other better way.

I truly imbibed the peril in the story.


 

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5 thoughts on “RIPVI: Macbeth

  1. One of my favorite plays, reminds me of my high school days! Though, now all I can think of is the Harry Potter movie version of “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” 😀

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m embarrassed to say that I have never read Macbeth. I know the story, have seen re-interpretations, but have never actually read the darned thing.

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