Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Shakespeare Study: The Tragedy Of Macbeth (revisited)

My Shakespeare study was originally a three-and-a-half year venture, in which I read one play a month, and watched as many film versions as I could find. Well, I continue to find and purchase more film versions, as well as different editions of the plays. So this month I decided to revisit The Tragedy Of Macbeth, as I had acquired another edition of the play, as well as a few more DVDs.

This time around I read The New Penguin edition, which was first published in 1967. My copy of the book is a reprint from 1987. This edition was edited by G.K. Hunter, and includes a forty-page introduction. In this introduction, Hunter writes: “But as a crime-does-not-pay story it is less concerned with the uncovering of the crime to others than with the uncovering of the criminal to himself” (p. 7). And then: “Macbeth falls, but does not do so primarily because of the processes or power of his enemies. His black tyranny produces the engines of his own destruction; the movement that carries Malcolm, Macduff and Seyward above him is generated first by his own downward tendency and only secondarily by their efforts” (p. 8). “When we first hear of Macbeth he is a great warrior, marvelously steeped in blood… The stage-horror of the messenger’s account of the extraordinarily bloody series of battles in Act I is being used at the explicit level to suggest that Macbeth is a hero. But I think that we are also aware (and meant to be aware) that this horrifying potentiality (even penchant) for destruction is held inside human morality only by bonds of loyalty that are easy to snap” (p. 9). About Macbeth, Hunter writes: “Macbeth fears to do evil; but what he fears is the image of himself committing the evil deed, rather than the evil deed itself. What is startling by its absence from this moral landscape is any sense of positive love for good, any sense of personal involvement in virtue, loyalty, restraint” (p. 10). On evil in the play, Hunter writes: “The play begins with the Witches, and the Witches must be supposed to be evil; but the mode of evil they can create is potential only, not actual, till the human agent takes it inside his mind and makes it his own by a motion of the will” (p. 11). Hunter also writes: “The deed is done, for reasons that he does not understand; the rest of his life is the attempt to live with the deed as well as the self that his social existence might seem to imply. The deed itself is a denial of all social obligations, all sharing, all community of feeling, even with his wife; but it is only gradually that the complete divorce between self and society is realized and accepted, where realization means total sterility, and acceptance requires moral death” (pages 16-17). Regarding performance, Hunter writes: “It has been supposed that the last figure in the dumb-show of kings in Act IV, scene 1, who is said in the text to have ‘a glass in his hand’, represented Mary, Queen of Scots; and used the glass to reflect the figure of James himself, the principal spectator of the play. No doubt it would have been improper to represent James in any other way; but it is difficult to see how the glass operated, or how the audience knew it was operating” (p. 30). And then: “Most modern Macbeths are of this breed – anxious, dismayed, hysterical, but lacking in the stature that would terrify us. It is worth noticing that the final duologue of Act III, scene 4, which is the emotional highlight of many modern productions, was hardly mentioned in the accounts of eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century productions” (p. 36).

The notes in this edition are presented after the play rather than at the bottom of the page, and there are no marks in the text to indicate when a note is present.

A note on the line “Hover through the fog and filthy air” reads, “This may be taken to imply that the witches depart by flying” (p. 139). The note on Ross’ line “Point against point-rebellious, arm ‘gainst arm” reads, “F reads ‘Point, rebellious’; most editors suppose that this makes rebellious qualify arm. I take the comma to be here (as often) equivalent to the modern hyphen, so that the first phrase means ‘sword raised against rebellious sword’” (p. 141). On Macbeth’s line “So foul and fair a day I have not seen,” Hunter notes: “catching up the ‘Fair is foul’ exit of the witches in I.1; so that, on entering, Macbeth seems to be entering into their world, in mind as well as body” (p. 142). Regarding Macbeth’s lines “I have no spur/To prick the sides of my intent but only/Vaulting ambition which o’erleaps itself/And falls on the other,” Hunter notes, “The horse imagery of ‘Striding’ and ‘horsed’ leads now (1) to a view of Macbeth’s intention to murder as a horse that must be spurred, and (2) to a view of ambition (which could be a spur or stimulus) as a rider vaulting into his saddle, but overshooting the mark and falling on the other side” (p. 149). Hunter notes, regarding Macbeth, “We heard much about the loyally bloodstained Macbeth in I.2. The first time we see him bloodstained it is with the blood of his rightful King” (p. 152). Regarding the line “I pray you remember the porter,” Hunter notes: “Returning to his role as the company clown, the Porter begs for a tip” (p. 155). Hunter notes, regarding the line “Ring the bell,” “This is sometimes supposed to be a stage direction added by the prompter, and accidentally printed as part of the text” (p. 156). Regarding Macbeth’s lines “Ay, in the catalogue he go for men…” Hunter notes, “Macbeth now uses the taunt of unmanliness which was so effective when used against him” (p. 160). Regarding the Apparitions, Hunter writes that the Armed Head is “presumably that of Macbeth himself, cut off by Macduff” (pages 173-174), and that the Bloody Child is “presumably Macduff, ‘from his mother’s womb untimely ripped’” (p. 174), and that the Child crowned is “Malcolm, advancing with a branch of Birnan Wood” (p. 174). Regarding the spelling of “Birnan,” Hunter writes: “F has ‘Byrnam’ here; the correct form in modern geography is Birnam. But Elizabethan authorities spell the word with an n (‘Bernane’ in Holinshed; ‘Brynnane’ in Wintoun’s Original Chronicle); and this is the form the Folio uses on every other occasion when the name appears (IV.1.97; V.3.2 and 60; V.4.3; V.5.34 and 44; V.6.69). We must assume that the m is an error here, and that Birnan is the correct Shakespearian form” (p. 174). Regarding the word farced in Macbeth’s line “Were they not farced with those that should be ours,” Hunter notes: “The F word ‘forc’d’ is sometimes defended as having the sense of ‘reinforced’; but this meaning is only doubtfully attested. In view of the food images in the line before it seems best to take ‘forc’d’ as the common Elizabethan variant of farced” (p. 185). Regarding Macbeth’s line “There would have been a time for such a word,” Hunter writes: “His mind moves back from the meaninglessness of any future to the meaningfulness of the past. ‘At one time I could have responded to such a word (announcement).’ The transition to the following line implies the transition from that past to this present” (p. 186). And then regarding the line “in this petty pace,” Hunter writes: “in the petty manner of this pace. I assume that he paces as he speaks” (p. 186).

Related Books:

- Macbeth Before During After by Ben Crystal  -  This is a volume in the Arden Shakespeare’s Springboard Shakespeare series, and works as an introduction and study guide for students and those new to the play. Regarding the theatre in Shakespeare’s day, Crystal writes, “The legal fiction was that any performance at a public theatre was technically a rehearsal and preparation, before showing the play to the royal patron” (p. 5). And about current productions, Crystal writes: “Recently, some productions have placed a break at the beginning of Act 3, before Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s entrance as King and Queen, though many more run the play without an interval at all (but with cuts made to the text). Indeed, the ferocious action can make the play feel like it wants to sprint on to the end without pause” (p. 9). Regarding the Porter, Crystal writes: “The Porter is a famous character in the play who has a speech calling on ideologies and gags well known the Shakespeare’s audience. He jokes that he’s the porter to the gate to Hell, and perhaps he is. By killing the King in their castle, the Macbeths have essentially opened the doors to Hell” (p. 9). Crystal adds: “On a practical level, the scene gives an opportunity for the blood-soaked actors playing the Macbeths to change and wash. On a more symbolic level, if the Porter represents Macbeth’s castle as Hell then he reinforces the unsettling, supernatural element in the play. Indeed, some productions extend the part of the Porter to include the lines later used by the servant character Seyton. To an audience’s ear, it might sound as if Macbeth has grown so evil that even a minion of Hell is serving him” (pages 9-10). Regarding Shakespeare’s style, Crystal writes: “A speech full of longer thoughts indicate a mind more settled. A speech with many mid-line endings indicate a frantic, less composed state-of-mind – switching from subject to subject, the characters are interrupting themselves” (p. 15). Regarding the character Ross, Crystal writes: “Productions have reinvented Ross as Macbeth’s master spy, the man responsible for Banquo’s and Lady’s Macduff’s murder. He has also been reimagined as Duncan’s priest, a man who bears witness to the tragic horrors as they unfold and (taking on the role of Doctor) called on to minister to Lady Macbeth’s sleep-walking. Having been written in such an open-ended way, and not specified as being particularly good or bad, it’s a party you can choose to do very little with and ignore or one that can be given an important narrative arc throughout the whole play” (p. 18). About the text, Crystal adds: “The Hecate scenes (3:5 and 4:1) are now thought to have been written by Thomas Middleton, a collaborator who worked with Shakespeare towards the end of his career. Some productions include these scenes, some cut them” (p. 19). Crystal later adds: “Collaboration was a common practice in theatres then, and young writers wrote to their strengths, whether they excelled in plot, character, verse or prose. Some say that the lines spoken by Hecate in 3:5 were written by one of Shakespeare’s collaborators, Thomas Middleton, who is thought to have added the lines long after the play was first performed. Most are convinced of his participation because the song ‘Come away, come away’ (mentioned in a stage direction and sung by the Witches to send off Hecate) is found in a later Middleton play called The Witch” (pages 84-85). Crystal includes an historical note: “The crown of Scotland was originally not hereditary. When a successor was declared in the lifetime of a king, the title of Prince of Cumberland was immediately bestowed on him as the mark of his designation” (p. 20). Regarding the Witches’ last line of the first scene, Crystal tells us: “But it’s a nine-syllable line (rather than ten), making a bridge from the Witches’ tetrameter to Duncan’s pentameter which opens the next scene, with the possible effect of their chant blending and shifting into regular speech” (p. 30). Regarding Lady Macbeth’s line “Had he not resembled/My father as he slept, I had done’t,” Crystal writes: “Why would she murder Duncan, when she knows she had persuaded Macbeth to do it? And what psychological horrors lie in wait for her if she sees her father in the man they murder? Lady Macbeth returns the dagger to the King’s chamber; in so doing, covering her hands in blood, and momentarily sees the image she did not want to see – an image of her ‘father’ murdered. As we’ll see, both these images have a tremendous effect on her state of mind later in the play” (p. 46). And then regarding Lady Macbeth seeming to wash her hands, Crystal writes: “Witches were believed to have renounced their baptism by water; so in theory water cannot touch a witch. For Shakespeare’s audience, Lady Macbeth has become very witch-like” (p. 66). Regarding Macbeth’s death, Crystal writes: “Macduff has cut off Macbeth’s head, and carries it on-stage, presumably by the hair. Modern productions often have him carry a bloodied sack, to avoid the complications (and possible laughter) that can be triggered by an ill-made fake decapitated head” (p. 75). Regarding the character of Macbeth, Crystal writes: “The last shred of sympathy for him is often used up when Lady Macbeth dies. From thereon he feels like a man with nothing left to lose, although a form of pity for his tragic end is often reignited if the actor lets us see a look of shock during his final encounter with Macduff, as all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place for him” (pages 79-80). About long-term insomnia, Crystal writes: “Other symptoms of long-term sleep loss are menopause in women and impotence in men. Both are fascinating possible character choices, especially considering Lady Macbeth’s reference to losing a child. Equally so, as she lambasts Macbeth’s manliness, prompting his I dare do all that may become a man, and, after seeing Banquo’s Ghost, his I am a man again” (p. 83). This book was published in 2013.

- Macbeth: Language And Writing by Emma Smith  -  This volume is aimed at students, and focuses on the language of the play. Regarding the belief that Shakespeare wrote Macbeth to please James, Smith writes: “Perhaps, as has been suggested, the play addressed its depiction of regal tyranny to the increasingly absolutist James in a more satiric or subversive spirit, marking his unpopularity rather than toadying to his wishes. If contemporary references to the play are an index of its popularity, then Macbeth seems to have been markedly less favoured than Shakespeare’s other tragedies: maybe this suggests it was not a success” (p. 7). And then: “Macbeth is less about a simplistic identification of Catholicism as the enemy and more about the effects of fear, terror and guilt on a population and an individual. If it is not directly ‘about’ the Gunpowder Plot in any obvious way, then, Macbeth is marked by its legacy of political and social unease” (p. 9). Regarding the text, Smith writes: “It is generally assumed that the underlying text from which the printers worked was a theatre prompt-book (evidence for this includes the directions for offstage noises and the relatively complete entry and exit stage directions, which suggest a text prepared for use in the theatre)” (pages 15-16). Regarding Middleton perhaps having a hand in the text, Smith writes: “In addition, the stage direction formula ‘enter X meeting Y’ has been identified as distinctive to Middleton: it appears in Macbeth at the beginning of 2.1 and in 3.5. Gary Taylor has suggested that Middleton wrote about 11 per cent of the text of Macbeth as printed in the Folio (Middleton, 1165) including 3.5 and parts of 4.1, and, further, that he may have been responsible for cuts to the text that have produced so notably compressed a play” (p. 29). Regarding Macbeth’s “If it were done when ‘tis done” speech, Smith writes: “One noticeable feature of Macbeth’s soliloquy here is his inability to name the deed he contemplates. The witches later will claim that they do ‘a deed without a name’ (4.1.49): but that namelessness is anticipated here. The deed that is contemplated is so terrible as to be unnameable. We can see that Macbeth begins his speech here with pronouns rather than nouns: ‘If it were done when ‘tis done’ begins without the noun to which ‘it’ refers. In part we catch his thought here in mid-flow, as if he is continuing an internal conversation begun when he left Lady Macbeth with the words ‘We will speak further’ at 1.5.70” (pages 35-36). Regarding Banquo’s ghost, Smith writes: “The scene, 3.4, opens with the stage direction ‘Banquet prepar’d’ (3.4.0SD): although the word ‘banquet’ is never spoken in the scene, its presence in the stage direction is a submerged echo or anticipation of Banquo’s name (a pun anticipated by Duncan: ‘True, worthy Banquo: he [Mabeth] is full so valiant,/And in his commendations I am fed;/It is a banquet to me’ (1.4.54-6))” (page 56). Smith also writes: “and even in death Banquo pushes him from his usurped throne, which is only ever a stool” (p. 59). Regarding the shift toward Malcom near the end, Smith writes: “With the Macduff murders, the play tries to wake up our outrage as part of its shift towards the new order of Malcolm’s reign. It is followed immediately by the scene between Malcolm and Macduff, then that of the doctor and the gentlewoman observing Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking, then the scene with the thanes leading their soldiers towards Dunsinane. Thus, it is one of the means by which the play changes gear, aligning itself with Macbeth’s victims rather than, as before, with his own tortured psyche” (p. 70). Regarding the Witches, Smith writes: “Most ominous about the witches’ opening scene is their plan ‘to meet with Macbeth’ (1.1.7). Does this suggest they control him? Or merely know where he will be and can intercept him? Directing the play in 1934, Tyrone Guthrie cut 1.1 entirely, precisely because he felt it gave the witches undue influence: ‘by making the three Weird Sisters open the play, one cannot avoid the implication that they are a governing influence of the tragedy…Surely the grandeur of the tragedy lies in the fact that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are ruined by precisely those qualities that make them great’ (Braunmuller, 32)” (p. 112). Regarding the order of the opening scenes, Smith writes: “This sequence retrospectively turns the greeting ‘All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee Thane of Cawdor’ into a prophecy, and further, suggests that the next statement, ‘All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter’ is another prophecy and one that will, similarly, be fulfilled. In fact the tense of the witches’ second greeting is not phrased as a future prediction but as a present fact – perhaps the witches simply know what has happened, rather than being able to predict the future. But that precise distinction is overwhelmed by the speed with which Macbeth is awarded the title of Cawdor” (pages 114-115). About Banquo, Smith writes: “He has heard that his children shall be kings, and appears to undertake no action to bring that about. His behaviour is not apparently changed by the prophecy in order to make it self-fulfilling” (p. 115). And then: “But the point is that Banquo hears a prophecy and does not obviously change his behaviour to meet it, and thus shows that this is a possible alternative to Macbeth’s chosen course of action” (p. 116). Regarding the first scene between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, Smith writes: “He replies, ‘Tomorrow, as he purposes.’ So far, so innocent, as if the room were bugged. But why add ‘as he purposes’? A simple ‘Tomorrow’ would have done. In the husband-and-wife telepathy this added phrase means: ‘At least that is what he thinks,’ and that is enough of a cue for Lady Macbeth to pounce in with: ‘O! never/Shall sun that morrow see!’” (p. 131). Regarding the Porter scene, Smith writes, “But the echo of ‘king’ in the repeated word ‘knocking’ (4 times in 20 lines at the end of 2.2) may suggest that Duncan is half-remembered as a verbal ghost” (p. 140). And about Lady Macbeth, Smith writes: “The extent to which she still transgresses norms of female behaviour is striking, although it is also noticeable that, while her behaviour has been dominant in criticism of the play, no one within it, apart from Malcolm in the closing lines, ever expresses any condemnation of her” (p. 153). This book was published in 2013.

- The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents: Macbeth by Ian Lendler and Zack Giallongo  -  This children’s book is presented in a comic book style, and is of animals putting on a production of Macbeth for an audience of other animals, who occasionally comment on the action. Macbeth is a lion, and Duncan is an owl. When Macbeth wins a battle, he’s not made Thane of Cawdor, but rather given the world’s largest hot dog. In this version, Banquo is named Banksy. Macbeth is bored, and his nose leads him to the three Weird Sisters. Next to their cauldron is a sign: “Today’s Special: King Stew! Free Wi-Fi” (p.9). The witches urge Macbeth to eat the king, telling him, “He tastes like chicken” (p. 10). Macbeth realizes what he wants is power. Macbeth tells his wife about the witches, rather than write a letter. He soon decides it isn’t right to eat the king, “So Lady Macbeth started nagging” (p. 14). Some cute lines result, like “Night, night, sleep tight. Be sure to eat the king tonight” (p. 15). Rather than a dagger, he sees a knife and fork, leading him to say, “Is this silverware I see before me?” (p. 19). He doesn’t carry out the utensils, so Lady Macbeth does not enter the king’s chamber in this version. The Porter is cut, as are Malcolm and Donalbain. Macduff is presented as a detective (and as a bird). Because there is no prophecy regarding Banksy’s heirs, Macbeth kills him simply to keep him quiet about the witches’ prediction that he’d eat the king. In this version, Macbeth kills Banksy before being crowned king. (A member of the audience says: “I’m confused. I thought Macbeth was the hero of the story. Is he a good guy or a bad guy?” (p. 33).) Lady Macbeth’s hands become stained when washing Macbeth’s dirty clothing. Rather than seeing a Ghost in the banquet scene, Macbeth believes he hears Banksy talking to him from his stomach. As this is presented as a play, there is an intermission. It’s positioned soon after the banquet scene, but first Macbeth takes a walk at night and says a line from his speech in Act V: “Out, out, brief candle.”  After the intermission he returns to “Out, out, brief candle,” until the audience calls out for the witches, and so the book then goes to Act IV Scene i, when the Witches warn him about Macduff. The other predictions are worded thus: “Macbeth cannot be killed by another person who’s been born from a mother. Macbeth won’t taste defeat or hassle until the trees march toward his castle” (p. 46). It lacks Shakespeare’s poetry, of course, but leads to some humorous lines, like “And I want you to chop off the feet of every tree in the forest. That’ll stop them from coming any closer” (p. 48). Macbeth eats Macduff’s wife and children. Lady Macbeth says, “Out! Out! Dumb spot!” (p. 56). Then she scrubs herself so hard that she, as Macbeth says, “rubbed herself out” (p. 61). It is due to a lack of armor that the soldiers cut down branches from the trees in this version. Macbeth gives the “tomorrow” line, but in a different context: “I bet tomorrow will be lousy too. And tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…” (p. 65). Macduff says: “But I wasn’t born from a mother. I was delivered… By a stork!” (p. 68). Macduff doesn’t decapitate Macbeth in this version. In fact, none of the characters are actually dead. Macduff jumps on Macbeth’s belly, and all the characters that were eaten are suddenly freed. It ends with the animals planning a production of Romeo And Juliet. This book was written by Ian Lendler, and the art was done by Zack Giallongo. Alisa Harris is credited with the color. This book was published in 2014 by First Second, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press.

- Exposure by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes  -  This is a volume in the Twisted Lit series, and is a modern adaptation of Macbeth, setting the events in a high school in Alaska. Alaska really works for the Macbeth tale, as this description shows: “This was home, but there was a bleakness and foreboding atmosphere that made you cling more tightly to the people in your life” (p. 52). After the prologue, the story is told from the perspective of Skye Kingston, a high school student who is into photography and is a bit of an outsider. Skye has a crush on Craig Mackenzie, this version’s Macbeth. But Craig is dating Beth Morgan, the book’s Lady Macbeth. Beth wants desperately to be prom queen (the high school equivalent of queen of Scotland), and even Craig describes her as “ambitious” (p. 24). Duncan Shaw is the senior hockey team captain. Duff Wallace is this telling’s Macduff, and Kristy Winters is Lady Macduff, Duff Wallace’s girlfriend. When the story begins, Duff is already out of town, away in Scotland on a student exchange program, and Kristy believes that Beth is somehow responsible for his exile. Each of the chapter titles comes directly from the play. For example, the first chapter is “Fair Is Foul and Foul Is Fair.” And in that chapter, Craig says, “Foul is fair, fair is foul,” referring to the referee not calling a foul on him during a game. The second chapter is titled “I Dreamt Last Night of the Three Weird Sisters,” and this chapter introduces this book’s version of the three witches: Cat Ayuluk, Kaya Gilbert and Tess Littlefish. When introduced, they are wearing demonic-looking masks, which they created for a class project. And this book’s version of the prophecy involves handing Craig a mask. Cat tells him: “The red color signifies royalty and power” (p. 19). And Kaya warns him: “Red can also signify blood and death” (p. 19). The fourth chapter is titled “Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing,” and in it the students are assigned to read Faulker’s The Sound And The Fury, whose title of course comes from Macbeth’s famous speech. For Halloween, the three girls wear witch hats, and Craig is dressed as Elvis (get it – the King). Later, Tess says, “It’s a cauldron in here” (p. 109), a nice little reference to the Witches’ famous prop. Duncan Shaw does die in this version, but it may be the result of an accident, rather than Craig deliberately murdering him. Skye overhears Beth say, “What’s done is done, Craig” (p. 54). She then continues: “It was an accident. I’m just as freaked out about this as you are, so just get a grip!” (p. 54). Later Craig also says, “What’s done is done” (p. 154). The title of the eighth chapter is “Nothing in His Life Became Him Like the Leaving It,” though in this version that line seems to refer to Duncan, whom we learn in this chapter has died. The spot that will later drive Beth a bit mad in this adaptation is a red dot on her white leather coat. Like the Macbeths, Beth has trouble sleeping. “Not that I could sleep anyway” (p. 81), she says. And later, “Beth ambled around school like she was sleepwalking” (p. 127). Beth also says, “My hands are not clean” (p. 107), reminding us of Lady Macbeth trying to scrub her hands in her sleep. And moments later, seeing the red spot on her coat, Beth “started rubbing furiously at the wool and leather coat with her bare hands until they were raw and chafed” (p. 108). Later Skye tells us she’s heard that Beth has “been admitted to a psychiatric facility” (p. 205). The twenty-first chapter is titled “Double, Double, Toil And Trouble,” and in it Kaya says, “I just pricked my thumb on the pin,” a cute reference to one of the play’s most famous lines. Craig and Beth do become prom king and queen, as the Macbeths become king and queen in the play, and Craig asks the three girls for more prophecies, as Macbeth returns to the Weird Sisters. They tell him things are good, leading him to respond, “I’m out of the woods?” (p. 160). This, of course, is a play on the Witches prediction, “Macbeth shall never vanquished be until/Great Birnam Wood to high Duninane Hill/Shall come against him” (from Act IV Scene i.) There is a further reference to Birnam Wood, in that a tree on campus is fondly referred to as “Old Burny” (p. 185). And then an environmentalist, in leading a protest against the cutting down of that tree, has several other students march forward with construction paper leaves on posterboard. Another student comments, “It looks like we’re being attacked by a grove of angry trees” (p. 187). Craig and Duff do fight in this version, but over something seemingly trivial. Craig doesn’t get decapitated, but he does get “a gash about his left eye” (p. 168). When Skye admits having trouble with her senior project, her teacher says, “The attempt, and not the deed confounds you” (p. 202), a reference to Lady Macbeth’s line, “Th’ attempt and not the deed/Confounds us,” from Act II scene ii. This book has a few references to other Shakespeare plays. For example, Skye describes Beth: “She brushed past me and practically leaped into Craig’s arms, clutching him with heightened histrionics, as if he were Romeo, soon to be forever banished from Verona” (p. 10). And later she tells us, “I didn’t want to run the risk of running into a pack of wolves, or worse still, a beast with two backs,” a reference to Othello. There is also a Hamlet reference when Skye sees what Beth wrote in memory of Duncan: “Good night, sweet prince” (p. 126). And in one class they discuss one of Shakespeare’s sonnets. The first four lines from Sonnet 130 are quoted: “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;/Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;/If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;/If hairs be wired, black wires grow on her head” (p. 104). Exposure was published in 2012 by Merit Press.

- Traffic With Macbeth by Larissa Szporluk  -  This is a book of poetry whose title comes from a scene that is often cut from productions of Macbeth, and which some believe was actually added later by Thomas Middleton: Act III Scene v, the Hecate scene. Hecate says to the Witches: “How did you dare/To trade and traffic with Macbeth/In riddles and affairs of death.” The book then opens with a couple of lines from Act I Scene iii: “Come what come may,/Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.” The poems themselves deal with death and witches and other elements familiar to readers of the play. Here is a stanza from the poem titled “Traffic With Macbeth”: “or a king/with a king-eating/fungus” (p. 5). And then in a poem titled “The Fungus,” Szporluk writes, “The greater than we./The less than we” (. 54), which brings to mind the witch’s line to Banquo from Act I Scene iii: “Lesser than Macbeth and greater.” Traffic With Macbeth was published in 2011, though these poems appeared earlier in various publications.

For those who are interested, here are links to my other Macbeth-related blog posts:
- Shakespeare Study: The Tragedy Of Macbeth (Part 1: Books)
- Shakespeare Study: The Tragedy Of Macbeth (Part 2: Films and Television Programs)
- Duel Scene From Macbeth (1905) DVD Review
- Macbeth (1948) DVD Review
- Macbeth (Independent Shakespeare Company 2013 Production)
- Macbeth (A Noise Within 2014 Production) 

No comments:

Post a Comment