Monday, October 4, 2010

The Fate of Life and Death

The American Shakespeare Center performed the play, “Macbeth”, by William Shakespeare, on September 29th. Their performances were much better than I had ever imagined. The stage was very vivid and dramatic, which allowed the audience to visualize each scene even better. “Macbeth” is about the deliberate murder of a king and its consequences. Macbeth is a Scottish general and the Thane of Glamis who has returned from being victorious in the battle against Norway and the Scottish rebels. Macbeth is led to believe in the prophecies depicted by three witches, after their prediction that he will become Thane of Cawdor comes true. He decides that he will murder Duncan, who is the current king of Scotland, in order to become his successor. Lady Macbeth’s conscience begins to torture her and she decides to commit suicide. Macduff, Thane of Fife, kills Macbeth and Malcolm takes on the role as king. The themes illustrated in this play include fate, desire, trickery and treason. “Macbeth” is not Shakespeare’s most complex play, but it is certainly one of his most powerful and emotionally intense.

I thought that the American Shakespeare actors and actresses displayed exceptional talents when performing this play. There abilities to express emotion through their voices and acting allowed me to become immersed in the particular time period. I had never read or seen this play before and I thought that their performances were very outstanding and clear. Throughout the play, I wondered which characters would remain truthful and which characters would become deceitful. I found myself on the edge of my seat from time to time because of all the tension and suspense that they had built up in through each scene. There were so many deaths throughout the play that I questioned whether or not any of the main characters would survive until the end. I couldn’t believe my eyes when Macduff murdered Macbeth to finish their conflicts.

I think that “Macbeth” relates to each of our class’ current readings. Our current readings include: “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor, “God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins, and “Happiness” by Jane Hirshfield. Macbeth relates to “A Good Man is Hard to Find” because death is an apparent symbol in each story. Macbeth, among other characters, dies throughout the story due to their egoistic nature and “blindness”. Macbeth believed that no one “mother born” would ever be able to kill him. Instead, Macduff proclaims that he was “mother born” and beheads Macbeth. The grandmother in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is murdered in the end by The Misfit because she believes that no man would ever have the capability or willingness to murder “a lady”. Instead, due to his egoism and inability to recognize the things that are going on around her, she makes an attempt to persuade The Misfit to spare her life. The Misfit cannot believe his ears when she states, “you are one of my children” and shoots her in the chest three times saying that she would have been a better woman if someone was around to “shoot her every minute of her life”.

“Macbeth” relates to the poem, “God’s Grandeur”, because God’s presence is represented in each literary work. Macbeth defies God by murdering others. He believes that his kinship is enough to allow him into the gates of heaven. However, murdering other characters in the story would probably send him straight to hell. In “God’s Grandeur”, God is represented as a being who has created all things in this world. He judges the living and the dead while displaying his divine authority. This poem also demonstrates God guarding the potential of the world and the promise of rebirth. The second quatrain contains an indictment of the way a culture’s neglect of God. “Macbeth’s” characters neglected God because they took the lives of others. “Macbeth” relates to the poem, “Happiness”, because certainty is relevant in each literary work. Macbeth was certain that if he murdered Duncan, then he will be king and everyone will live “happily ever after”. Instead, by murdering Duncan, he creates chaos and hysteria that lead to unlawful and unreasonable deaths. Macbeth, along with seven other characters, die mainly because of the murder of Duncan. “Happiness” is a very soft poem that speaks about the certainty of every moment, and that one is able to “go free” because of their comfortable feelings.

“Macbeth” was a magnificent play performed by The American Shakespeare Center. I thought that their acting was exceptional and gave me much better insight on Shakespeare’s story. “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor, “God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins, and “Happiness” by Jane Hirshfield could be easily related to “Macbeth” because of its themes and symbols. Life, death and God played a major role throughout each particular literary work, which enhanced each of their significance to one another.

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