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William Shakespeare's Macbeth is a play whose plot is propelled by various murders/deaths done out of greed, fear and revenge

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Introduction

Andrew McKone 11TS 23.11.01 Macbeth Essay Hypothesis William Shakespeare's Macbeth is a play whose plot is propelled by various murders/deaths done out of greed, fear and revenge. It explores the nature of various types of murder and the results that each brings. This essay will look at two attempts to find meaning in a rather destructive play. The first look is at Alan Sinfield's essay, "Macbeth: History, Ideology and Intellectuals." Sinfield's Marxist approach to Macbeth, however, is a play, a story to be experienced, not to be merely read and examined. So, then, how are these multiple deaths interpreted when experienced in a more oral form? The second part of this essay addresses this, looking at reader response in a unique way, through the adaptation of Macbeth for children. The first adaptation is a traditional picture book, soliciting images to help interpret this tale. The second adaptation is for "stage" and has examples of children's actual responses to the play. What is revealed in both adaptations by the authors/illustrator in their portrayal of the various killings is their unconscious judgement of what is an appropriate murder. ...read more.

Middle

(WSM) Macduff zeros in on Macbeth as the guilty party and Donalbain and Malcolm are sided with Macduff. Teams are being drawn up. Burdett, however, keeps more closely to Shakespeare by shifting the focus off Macbeth through the action of Lady Macbeth's swooning. This event is followed by the escape of King Duncan's sons as merely an act of self-preservation. The illustrations for these scenes are also quite different. Kelly shows the body of the King almost as if he were sleeping, except for the blood trickling down his arm and the table tipped over. Donalbain and Malcolm are hardly discernible in the gathering on the stairs. Burdett's classroom children, however, go for the blood. It drips off the daggers (pp. 27,28) and down the King's chest and onto the bed (p33). Their letters are from characters tormented by the death of the King. Donalbain and Malcolm almost look as if they are shouting in fear to one another and their letters to one another convey a panic not found in the texts of Shakespeare, Burdett or Coville. It is very clear that the children are imaging what it would be like to lose a father and fear for their lives. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is the only murder that brings about this kind of reaction. And in both adaptations Macduff's revenge as the driving force behind his desire to fight Macbeth is avoided. Instead, they rely on the magic of the witches and the fable-like predictions of Macbeth's downfall and death. It isn't really Macduff that kills Macbeth, but Fate and magic. Macduff can only be represented as a good man with no blackness in his heart. While the Burdett and Coville adaptations present the multiple murders, they deal less with the realities of murder and it's many aspects, than with the morality of murder itself. Tied up in this morality is the idea of a soul, a core or foundation, that is bad through and through. Murder is presented as purely an evil act committed by a man with an evil soul so that finally, it is easier to present this story as having black and white issues with purely good and evil people. The book jacket of Coville's adaptation describes Macbeth as "a tormented man who is at once heroic and evil," but neither adaptation can allow Macbeth to be that complex. He must, in the end, be simply a "villainous tyrant" driven by greed. ...read more.

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