Married to the Gangster: "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare, A. L. Rowse

The Annotated Shakespeare (Three Volumes in One): The Comedies, The Histories, Sonnets and Other Poems, The Tragedies and Romances - William Shakespeare

 

Macbeth has always been one of my favourite Shakespeare plays (along with Hamlet). What has always fascinated me, however, is the fact that I have never seen a production of it that comes anywhere near invoking the terrors that you feel when you're reading it. I have seen it played by wonderful actors, such as Welles, Sher, Olivier, and many, many more, but they all failed horribly, and they knew, as actors, that they had failed. I think the reason that it is impossible to play the role convincingly, at least in this day and age, is the fact that every generation or so, we get a remarkable Hamlet, Lear or Othello, but unfortunately such a thing has never happened with Macbeth, because it is so much harder for an actor to really face up to the terrors that must invade the mind of a real murderer when he still possesses a conscience and a humanity within himself. The real tragedy of this play is that the actor (and the director) fixates everything upon the ordeal, not of the victim, but of the murderer himself. Macbeth is not the typical bad guy in the fashion of Iago, for example, but is actually a tragic figure who is undone by his faults. 

 

The rest of this review can be found on my blog.

 

NB: Reading progress update: I've read 659 out of 2462 pages corresponding to the plays read so far).