Before we start, I don’t pretend to be an expert on Shakespeare. Not in the slightest. If I’m being totally honest, it’s been years since I read Shakespeare. If I hadn’t come across these beautiful covers at Barnes and Nobles for only 8 bucks (not an endorsement, but really, buy one), then who knows when I next would have read it. BUT I did, and I appreciated his writing way more than I thought I would.
The plot is one we know well: Macbeth learns of a prophecy given by the weird sisters (the classic “double, double, toil and trouble” girls), that tells him he shall be king, etc. etc. Well, we all know that prophecy more often than not is self-fulfilling, and the play proceeds in a fairly predictable way. Murder, murder, more murder. War. Death. And with that:
All in all, the plot is alright, but what makes Shakespeare beautiful is something that I didn’t appreciate in school when I was forced to read it (which inevitably takes all the joy out of a story), which is THAT WRITING. Shakespeare was basically like:
Except replace writing with prose. Because, dang, that prose is beautiful. Say what you will about the plot, how flat the characters are, etc. etc. etc.–all excused because of that dang prose. And while the plot was predictable it was still enjoyable. I wanted to watch it play out, which is really what matters.
The lesson to the book is think like a chess player and don’t pay attention to prophecy and you’ll live to see the next day. The lesson is don’t let selfish ambition motivate you to murder people. The lesson is all fine and dandy, but as a writer, let me tell you, it is a joy to read that prose.
4/5 stars. Must read. Excuse me while I buy more Shakespeare.