Macbeth Review

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Title: Macbeth

Author: William Shakespeare

Genre & Age Group: Classics, plays, paranormal

Goodreads Synopsis:

Folger Shakespeare Library: the world’s leading center for Shakespeare studies.
Each edition includes: Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play; Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play; Scene-by-scene plot summaries; A key to famous lines and phrases; An introduction to reading Shakespeare’s language; An essay by an outstanding scholar providing a modern perspective on the play; Illustrations from the Folger Shakespeare Library’s vast holdings of rare books; Essay by Susan Snyder; The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is home to the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare’s printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs.

Source: Read from an online copy at school


Macbeth is the second Shakespearean play I have had to read for school, with the first being last year’s Romeo and JulietBefore my English class dove into it, I had been hearing mixed thoughts about it. I decided to get an early look into the play by reading and really enjoying adaptation As I Descendedbut it was no match for how mediocre I found this play to be.

I liked R & J so much more than this play. Just like with novels written in modern English, romance is more appealing to me than the supernatural, so it was not really a surprise to me. For those just getting a head start on Shakespeare, this play was ten times harder for me to understand not only because of the Elizabethan language, but because of the paranormal elements, so I would recommend starting with R & J. Due to this, I made use of SparkNotes and another website for the scene summaries way more often than I did last year. Anyways, as much as I wanted it to, this play just did not tickle my fancy. I am so disappointed!

For a brief synopsis of what the play is about, it follows Macbeth, a Scottish thane who wins a battle against an opposing country and is said to be very brave. He receives word from three witches that he is to eventually become Scotland’s King, and this really excites him. Powered by ambition, he then goes on to do several regretful things to get him to the status of being king, but everything comes right back at him in small doses of guilt.

I liked Macbeth as a character, but I think that in the end, fierce ambition took over his brave and thoughtful personality. He made many decisions that I just wanted to knock him for, and by the end of the play my liking of him basically disappeared. My favourite character had to have been Duncan. Ahhh, he was such a sweet guy! He was extremely sincere, hospitable, altruistic, and kind, constantly going out of his way to help and support others. Unlike Macbeth, I found Duncan to be selfless and a great role model for readers and viewers of the play.

There are many messages that this play touches upon, including (but not limited to) fate vs. free will, appearance vs. reality, and bravery. However, I feel as if readers would only be able to easily grasp these if they have a strong understanding of the play and all of the characters’ wishes and motives.

All in all, I would recommend Macbeth to those who do not mind the Elizabethan language and the supernatural elements it includes. Although the characters and messages were strong, I didn’t really find myself enjoying it much. Two and a half stars from me.



Which of Shakespeare’s plays have you read? Did you enjoy them, or were you annoyed by the language?

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