Book Review (#7): Macbeth

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Now, I know what you’re thinking. Who, for common sense’s sake, reviews Shakespeare?! In fact, I myself have been juggling this question around my head ever since I’ve finished the play yesterday. Besides, up until two weeks ago I didn’t even know how to read Shakespeare, so leave alone analyse and review his work! Nonetheless, I did promise myself to chronicle my reading journey this year and Shakespeare is too important of a step to skip writing about. So this isn’t to going to be much a review really. This is just me talking about all the things that went through my head as I took my first steps into a new territory of literature.

I won’t deny it. Shakespeare has always been a intimidation factor for me. And my inability to tackle his works always made me feel like I’m less of a reader because which book lover has not tread the lands of Shakespearean glory?! Around a year ago, I got to know Patsy. She’s a friend of mine whose love for Shakespeare is marrow-deep, who has played central roles in several Shakespearean plays, and who should someday write a book about her experience with Shakespeare. Her existence, alongside the fact that Macbeth is a part of this year’s literature curriculum, is what gave me the final push I needed to give this a try.

I started the play with an entanglement of feelings: expectations, mortification, excitement… I worried the language would hinder me; I worried I won’t get the artistic side of it; most of all, I worried I wouldn’t like it at all. Then this happened:

   “Was the hope drunk
Wherein you dress’d yourself? hath it slept since?
And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
At what it did so freely? From this time
Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard
To be the same in thine own act and valour
As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life,
And live a coward in thine own esteem,
Letting ‘I dare not’ wait upon ‘I would,’
Like the poor cat i’ the adage? “

This was the part that made me fall in love with play and, most particularly, Lady Macbeth. My God, was I so happy to have understood this and appreciated the elegance of the comparison and the beauty of the wording! I remember emailing Patsy after finishing the scene and raving on about random Shakespeare feels! I!!! I have Shakespearean “FEELS”! And from that point onward, things only went uphill!

Now, I’ll be honest with you. My teacher told us while introducing the play that Macbeth is a tragic hero. That in the end, when he dies, I am supposed to sympathise with him. And the problem was that I didn’t. In the beginning, before he went onto a slaughter-spree across the kingdom, I did feel very sorry for him that he had fallen to Lady Macbeth’s “charms” and for her wicked games. When he was hallucinating and seeing the dagger then Banquo, I very much pitied him. But the more we moved forward, the less I found myself feeling anything at all for him. I was sad when Lady Macbeth died though and for me, that compensated for the sorrow I was supposed to feel for Macbeth’s fall.

I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m only a toddler when it comes to literature. I get distracted by all the pretty colours and all the different aspects and genres of literature and I want to have everything at once. Yet, to some extent, I kind of know what I’m looking for and I know what I like, and Shakespeare, thankfully is a part of that. I am planning to read one of his lighter plays next and tackle a few other things by him before heading for Hamlet because I hear that it’s truly enjoyable yet quite complex. And since I want to absorb and enjoy every little bit of it, I want to be ready for it when I get to it.

I know this is not much of a review but recounting my experience with Shakespeare to y’all has put a smile on my face and I can’t wait to look back on this post 5 Shakespearean plays from now and see how I’ll feel about it all!

I hope everyone is having a good day!

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One thought on “Book Review (#7): Macbeth

  1. Such a lovely, honest review! Shakespeare grows on you, 5 plays down and your mind just tunes in to his language and you get used to it. We had Julius Caesar and Tempest in high school, we HAD to do it, so I learned to love him to bits!
    He’s fantastic, and you must read more of him 🙂

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