Monday, August 22, 2016

Let's Bust a Recap : Macbeth

Ok, so: I made it through more than one Shakespearean play this year. (yay me!) And in my opinion, this was the first major one I've ever read of my own volition because Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer-Night's Dream are both short and funny and easy. Macbeth? Definitely a tragedy, pretty dark, and not quite so easy, but definitely the biggest page-turner yet. Let's break it down and SPOILER! I'm going to talk about the whole dang thing, so if you've somehow been living under a rock and don't know the basic plot of one of Shakespeare's biggest plays, well, don't feel bad because, truth be told, I didn't really either, but I am warning you here and now that I will be revealing the entire story, so if you want to stay under your rock in sweet oblivion until that future time when you might actually read it for yourself, go ahead and be on your way.

Let's first list off some of our main characters: Macbeth (obviously), Lady Macbeth (his wife, duh), Banquo (his friend...or SO WE THINK), Duncan (king of Scotland), Donalbain (one of Duncan's sons), and Macduff (a soldier and the hero of the story). There are several others but for the purpose of this recap, these are the only characters I really care about.

At the beginning of the play, we learn that Macbeth is this totally awesome soldier, moving up in the ranks, and grabbing titles left and right. Everyone loves him. Everyone trusts him. Yay Macbeth.

Then he and his buddy Banquo come across three crazy witches (literally, witches), and these witches tell them their future which includes Macbeth becoming king of Scotland. Banquo and Macbeth think, "Surely not....this can't be true....loyal to Duncan forever....blah blah blah." But then some of what the witches told them starts to come true and they start thinking, "Hmmm....maybe they had something....what sorcery is this?!"

Macbeth writes home to Lady Macbeth telling her about the encounter and the lofty predictions, and that crazy chic starts lamenting how weak Macbeth is and how she's going to have to prod him to murder Duncan. (Be very careful about who you marry, folks. Don't end up with a Lady Macbeth.) Macbeth gets home and his wife tells him to man up and kill the king so that they can become Scotland's new royalty.

The king and several of the noblemen come to visit Macbeth, and Macbeth and the Mrs. murder him in his sleep and frame it on his two personal guards who Macbeth also kills when they all "discover" Duncan dead because "who can remain calm when seeing the king he loves so much slaughtered by these guys." (Oh please.) At this point, Duncan's sons flee the country because they know what's good for them.

So Macbeth is crowned king, but instead of stopping there, he basically goes on a killing rampage because part of the witches' little divination included Banquo's seed also ascending to the throne so, of course, he has to have Banquo and his son killed (although Banquo's son actually escapes), and then after that he starts going crazy seeing Banquo's ghost and becoming totally paranoid which is warranted because when you start killing people, you should probably feel guilty and a tad insecure.

In the meantime, Macduff has figured out what is going on and rushes to find Donalbain (Duncan's son and rightful heir to the throne, in case you forgot) to beg him to come wage war against Macbeth and make things right. After a little back-and-forth, Macduff wins Donalbain over and along with 10,000 English troops, they march on Scotland. Lady Macbeth goes insane and commits suicide, Macduff finds Macbeth and kills him, and Scotland lives happily ever after with Donalbain as its king at the end of the play.

Pretty dark, right? The moral of the story: steer clear of witches.

I would recommend Macbeth because (as I've said before) it's Shakespeare. But I'll probably never read it again because 1) I have a long way to go before I've read everything else Shakespeare has to offer and 2) Shakespeare isn't exactly the most fun reading material. We don't talk like that anymore, and if I'm going to re-read something, it's going to be Anne of Green Gables or the Christy Miller series, not complicated prose that works my brain to death just trying to understand the language. So in future, if I'm trying to remember what Macbeth was all about, I'll most likely just come back to this post. #beneficialblogging

Have you ever read Macbeth? What is your favorite Shakespearean tragedy? Pretty sure Hamlet will be making the 2017 book list, but feel free to suggest your favorite in the comments.


  1. Hannah, only you could make Shakespeare enjoyable. Lol This synopsis seriously cracked me up. Favorite part - "which is warranted because when you start killing people, you should probably feel guilty and a tad insecure." Hahaha! I almost died :)

    1. Haha! That part cracked Cody up too. That and the moral I took away from the story. LOL! Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. That's such a huge commitment reading Shakespeare plays - MacBeth is a goody! Haven't read Shakespeare for pleasure ever (only if I'm studying it or acting in it) but now I think I should... :-)

    1. I usually have to give myself a little kick in the pants to get started, but once I do, I'm always glad I did. :) Thanks for commenting!!