Missed a few weeks. Sorry ’bout that. I had an assessment. Thought I ought to pay attention. Anyway –
DUCK, HERE COMES SHAKESPEARE!
Alright. Gotta have some thoughts. Think I’m going to go for yet another amorphous blob, take all this Macbeth out in one go. A lot of these ‘questions’ from the course assume I haven’t already finished the play. I assumed we had to finish it before we started studying it and now I’ve read the whole thing. I’m a little brown-noser like that. So since I’m viewing the text less linearly than the course would have me, I’m just going to go with my usual formula of free-wheeling but fun rants. We’ll try to make some meaning out of it. It’ll be an adventure.
I think what I’ll have to accept when studying something like Macbeth is that I’m probably never going to understand it in full without becoming some crazed Victorian madman, loping down Swanson street, chainsaw in hand, screaming “I HAVE A DEGREE IN SHAAAAAAKESPEARE!!!” (Apologies to anyone who has a degree in Shakespeare. He seems to have been a crafty character. But do you ever feel sad that your job is talking about his job to other people who have that job?)
I think Macbeth stands out in its portrayal of power as not worth the hassle. It’s the dawn of last millenium – you most likely live on, in and are nourished purely by mud. You can want money, I can understand that. ‘Power’ I guess is an okay motive, but only because we’ve still got the Feudal system and if you’re not already a bishop or slaying some dragons you’re not really allowed to be happy. So yeah, be a social climber or start a revolution I guess. But this is all from a working class perspective. Macbeth has his own castle. He just got a big promotion. Why should he kill the king?
I wonder about to what degree Macbeth is a character driven by power anyway. Maybe not at all. At first, he’s just doing what some witches and his wife tell him to. His choice was to chicken out and not commit any homicides that night. After that, it seems like it was more about clinging to this royalty he’d won for himself, even though it doesn’t seem to give him any real happiness. Power for the sake of power. He worked hard getting this. Went through some bad times psychologically. He’ll be damned if he’s going to let that snotty punk Fleance get all the glory. Let’s kill everybody!
Macbeth seems like a character running on self destruct. He doesn’t want this. There’s just no going back. He knows he has it coming. At the end of the play he finds out that Macduff has the power to kill him. He accepts this, and decides to go out guns blazing. I’d almost sympathise with the guy if it weren’t for the ‘burning down Macbuff’s village’ deal. And the attempted child murder. That was kind of harsh.