This particular play not only fulfills my requirement for "What People Expect a Teacher to Read" (of my own making), but also for the Shakespearean Summer Challenge, being hosted by Liv's Book Reviews. I have now completed one of my three, to be completed by August 31st.
Synopsis: Semi-good guy gets power hungry. Kills or schemes the murder of multiple characters. Gets just reward for said murder and killing.
Okay, so not a good synopsis, but I will say that the overriding theme of this play is power & greed. Set in Scotland, Macbeth and Banquo return from battle having pushed back the enemies. They are told by three witches a prophecy of their futures, which includes titles and even crowning as king. Rather than wait to see how this prophecy might be fulfilled, Macbeth returns to his wife and they set out to make it come true, even if that means the killing of those who stand between them and said title.
Review: Since it's been about 17 years since I last read this play, I only remembered the broad ideas and plot, so revisiting the language and story again were well worth my time. As Shakespeare was known to do brilliantly, he showed how even the most common man can fall victim to vices of pride, greed, lust, hate, envy, etc. The thirst for power, and the ensuing paranoia that endeavour creates, really sent the message across loud and clear. Overall, I found this to be a great cautionary tale for myself, reminding me that even the most centered person can be enticed by worldly pursuits to the point that they would cause harm or injury to another to get ahead.
Now for the big question. Why in the world are these lines from Act IV:I so well-known and famous?
Double, double toil and trouble;Are they famous just because three witches recite them and they are lyrical and use assonance and alliteration to cast their spell? I get that they are increasing the trouble to come to Macbeth, but what else am I missing here? What has given these lines their power and popularity?
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.