Review: Macbeth by William Shakespeare

SIMON & SCHUSTER, 2003/1606

‘Stars, hide your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires.’

One of Shakespeare’s darkest and most violent tragedies, Macbeth’s struggle between his own ambition and his loyalty to the King is dramatically compelling. As those he kills return to haunt him, Macbeth is plagued by the prophecy of three sinister witches and the power hungry desires of his wife.

I didn’t plan to read anything special on Halloween but it turned out that Macbeth fits the day – or should I say night – perfectly. Witches, assassinations, tragedy – Macbeth has it all. The story follows a man named Macbeth, a distinguished hero and a Thane of Glamis (for the word thane, see Oxford definition). Returning from a battle with his friend Banquo he meets three witches that tell him he shall first become the Thane of Gawdor and later the King of Scotland. Macbeth dismisses these words as lies of the devil but when the news is brought that the current king has decided to name him Thane of Gawdor, Macbeth begins to believe that the witches were truly foretelling his future.

I originally picked up this and Twelfth Night because I’m working on a group presentation on Shakespeare based on these two plays. As I mentioned in the review of Twelfth Night, I am ashamed of how little Shakespeare I have actually read. Alas, I am now very much falling in love with Shakespeare. His plays are fast paced with multiple characters and still manage to have elements that ring deeper than surface. In the introduction of this play, the editor puts forth the idea that Macbeth is a fairly simple play with a straightforward plot and a distinct opposition between the good and evil. However, as one starts to read deeper into the play, the simpleness of the surface disappears leaving questions behind.

Shakespeare’s works do have a reputation of being hard to read (mostly because of the language) but I still recommend people to give it their best shot. The plays are fairly short and once you get past the old English and the verse structure, the story will carry you till the end. (Reading aloud helps sometimes.)


Fair is foul, and foul is fair, hover through fog and filthy air.


One thought on “Review: Macbeth by William Shakespeare

  1. Pingback: The Blossom By William Shakespeare | Renard Moreau Presents

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