Shakespeare

Macbeth

Shakespeare’s Macbeth delves into the world of darkness, chaos, and conflict that arises when one’s lust for power usurps the moral order. Titular-character Macbeth decides to murder the beloved King Duncan when three witches prophesize that he will one day take the throne. His wife, Lady Macbeth, whose own power-hungry greed reaches even deeper than her husband’s, incites his ambition, and helps him carry out the task. Their ruthless ambition quickly sours to paranoia, madness, and guilt, and the power they once craved becomes the couple’s downfall. This play unfolds within the unnatural night where “fair is foul and foul is fair,” and it examines disrupted sleep in order to explore inversions in the natural and moral order. While it lacks the length, character depth, and dual plots that most Shakespearean tragedies have perfected, this tragedy seeps into the psyche of the audience and causes us to question our own ability to commit horrors in service of our desires. Indeed, superstition that the very title of this play is cursed has even gathered among theater people who fear uttering “Macbeth” will wreak havoc on any performance. For this reason, it often is referred to only as “the Scottish Play.”

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