The Bard is the bomb

I wonder if Shakespeare would survive a critique group today.  Finding an agent? Unlikely. Self-published? Almost definitely.

MyAPers (Advanced Placement class which recently had an assignment requiring them to find  PEE  [point/evidence/explanation] in their writing) are reading Macbeth.  I  want to fill a bathtub with Shakespeare’s words and simply soak until his language saturates me.  Reading his plays, I often feel historically dumb. But the intellectual void in my British, Scottish and everything foreign chronicles, forces me to research.  The discoveries are often amazing, like reading one 17th century woman’s plea to mothers that they consider nursing their own babies.

This morning, we were introduced to Lady Macbeth. Obviously, Shakespeare did not get the memo about not creating totally unsympathetic characters. She is the epitome of manipulative, emasculating and reprehensible greed. Of course, there’s a price she pays for that.

I love that Shakespeare demands our full attention, yet I fear his becoming too transparent. If more people understood him, his plays would probably be censored in schools along with Of Mice and Men.  For those who don’t have the time, here’s:

The 32-second Macbeth

Actors 1, 2, 3 Fair is foul and foul is fair

Actor 4 What bloody man is that?

Actor 2 A drum, a drum! Macbeth doth come

Macbeth So foul and fair a day I have not seen

Actor 3 All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!

Macbeth If chance will have me king, then chance will crown me

Actor 5 Unsex me here

Macbeth If it were done when ‘tis done

Actor 5 Screw your courage to the sticking place

Macbeth Is this a dagger that I see before me? (Actor 4 dies)

Actor 5 A little water clears us of this deed.

Actor 6 Fly, good Fleance, fly! (dies)

Macbeth Blood will have blood

Actors 1, 2, 3 Double, double, toil and trouble

Actor 7 He has kill’d me, mother! (dies)

Actor 8 Bleed, bleed, poor country!

Actor 5 Out damn’d spot! (dies)

Macbeth Out, out, brief candle!

Actor 8 Turn, hell-hound, turn!

Macbeth Lay on Macduff! (dies)

Actor 8 Hail, king of Scotland!


© 2001 Folger Shakespeare Library


6 thoughts on “The Bard is the bomb

  1. Oh Christa… are you sure you want to have coffee with me? I despise this stuff! Shakespeare almost kept me from passing senior English. And I was totally turned off when my teacher insisted we celebrate his birthday — with cake and all the party junk. arghhhhhh! You scare me, O literary Christa… you really do!

  2. Christa, I have to agree with Jess. I also despise this stuff. Even the 32 second Macbeth is too long for me, albeit very creative. 😉

  3. YAY! Now we don’t have to read the rest of the book.

    Thanks for the summary Mrs.A

    p.s.- I don’t think Shakespeare is that bad, I just think we like to whine and hear stories about Sarah aaaand your “other school” said in your Fran Drescher, the nanny voice.

  4. Pingback: Writer Interrupted » April Carnival of Christian Writers #19

  5. I loved reading Shakespeare in school! Of course, if I ventured it on my own, I might not have liked it so much. But oh what fun it was to watch the Smurfs and hear “Out! Out Darn spot!” Luv it!

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