For the second event analysis, I chose to attend the play “Macbeth” that was performed by the cast of the American Shakespeare Center in McManus Theater on Wednesday, September 29th. I had read the play “Macbeth” in high school and Shakespeare has always been interesting to me. His works are one of a kind and the scenarios he creates are intriguing. Since we are studying poetry in class I decided that seeing “Macbeth” could relate to some themes of the poetry and readings we have discussed so far.
The play “Macbeth” was written in the early 1600s by William Shakespeare and is a tragedy. The performers of the American Shakespeare Center did a fantastic job of displaying “Macbeth”. They interacted with the audience, gave background to the plays history, and were fully dedicated to the script. As a spectator, you could feel the passion of the cast members developing the storyline just as Shakespeare had intended it to be seen. For those of you who have never read or seen “Macbeth”, here is a short synopsis of what was shown at the event. After returning from battle, Macbeth, a brave Scottish general, encounters three witches who tell him that he will one day be crowned the King of Scotland. Throughout the play, Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth, become obsessed with the idea of this kingship. Lady Macbeth pressures him into killing Duncan, the current reigning King of Scotland. At first hesitant, Macbeth rejects this thought, but later gives in and the two plot Duncan’s murder. The murder is successful and Macbeth assumes the position as king. The sense of power reveals an arrogant, evil Macbeth, which ultimately leads him and his wife to their death. Macbeth is so hungry for power and maintaining his status as king that he murders anyone who stands in his way, including his close friend Banquo. Macbeth is confronted by the ghosts of those he had killed and he is driven mad as he becomes overwhelmed with guilt. Lady Macbeth ends up killing herself because she is haunted and possessed by her wrong-doings. Macbeth goes into battle with his long-time enemy Macduff, who fled to England after Macbeth was crowned king. Macbeth is defeated by Macduff and Macduff takes the throne as the new king of Scotland. Through the corruption of power and his cruelty towards others to achieve status, Macbeth met his fate of death. His desire to be king led to his downfall. This play is a tragedy that consisted of much blood, violence, and death. Macbeth’s actions foreshadowed his own death. The actors of the American Shakespeare Center displayed this play perfectly. Each character demonstrated the role to the fullest. You could have never read the play “Macbeth” and would have known exactly what was going on. It was a pleasure to watch and the stage was well set up. Overall, it was a wonderful event.
After viewing Macbeth, I sat down and thought about the true meaning of the play and what works of literature we have read in class that could relate. Since we have not read many violent tragedies yet I realized this might be difficult. Then, I thought of the meaning of some of the literature we have read and discovered Macbeth can relate to “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera. “The Birthmarks” embodies the theme that obsession on things can create barriers. Aylmer was obsessed with his wife’s birthmark, which he did not discover until after they were married. He viewed “it as the symbol of his wife’s liability to sin, sorrow, decay, and death” (Hawthorne, page 468). Aylmer takes for-granted Georgiana’s overall beauty and focuses on the one imperfection. His obsession to define her through this imperfection and Georgiana’s weakness to let other’s define her birthmark eventually leads to Georgiana’s death in the end. Aylmer’s obsession with his wife’s imperfection can be linked to Macbeth’s obsession with becoming king and obtaining power because both ultimately lead to death and display that obsessions create barriers. Macbeth can also be related to Whale Rider because of the masculinity factor. Koro Apirana is a very traditional man, who fears change. From the very beginning the idea of male dominance is presented with the description of the whale rider; “He was wondrous to look upon, the whale rider. The water streamed away from him and he opened his mouth to gasp in the cold air. His eyes were wide shining with splendor. His body dazzled with diamond spray. Upon that beast he looked like a small tattooed figurine, dark brown, glistening, and erect. He seemed, with all his strength, to be pulling the whale into the sky” (Ihimaera, page 6). The description of the whale rider displays his character as a God-like figure. The main character in the book, Koro Apirana, will continue to further the idea of male superiority in society. When his son’s wife gives birth to a baby girl, Kahu, Koro is disgusted. He wants nothing to do with the child and angrily states “she has broken the male line of descent in our tribe” (Ihimaera, page 13). For a majority of the book Koro spends most of his time searching for a male to assume the inheritance of power in the tribe because he will not have a woman take on this task. He puts the men through a series of task but none are able to rise to the occasion. Koro Apirana is blinded by the strength and power of the one he has right in front of him, Kahu. It takes him until the final scene in the book to understand his faults and stubbornness. The idea of a “man world” in evident in both Whale Rider and “Macbeth” because the obsession of power once again relates to “The Birthmark” by obsession creates barriers. Koro Apirana’s obsession to find a male figure to take on the role of leader of the tribe causes him to not appreciate the special uniqueness of his kind and loving granddaughter.
In conclusion, the play “Macbeth” was an exciting and fun event to watch. If you are a person who enjoys Shakespeare I highly recommend attending this event in the future if the American Shakespeare Center tours here again. The play “Macbeth” is a tragedy that displays how one’s obsession with power and cruelty towards other’s to obtain that power will ultimately lead to death. I related “Macbeth” to Whale Rider and “The Birthmark” because all incorporate the common theme of obsession creating barriers. In “Macbeth”, Macbeth’s obsession with power and status created barriers which lead to his death and the death of several other characters. In the book Whale Rider, Koro Apirana’s obsession with a “man’s world” created a barrier with his family. In the short story “The Birthmark” Aylmer’s obsession with his wife’s imperfection caused by nature, her birthmark, creates a barrier for him to appreciate his wife’s beauty and leads to her death.