A director could have Macbeth look the doctor squarelyin the face, hand him money; the doctor smiles knowingly and give hima bottle and Macbeth then pours it into something on Lady Macbeth'snightstand from the sleepwalking scene.
Here's what we think really happenedwith Macbeth and the other characters.In a barbaric era, population pressuresmade war and even the slaughter of one community by another a fact of life.
Another witch offers to help with a bit of magical wind.
Shakespeare (even more so than Sophocles) is writing about real-life, flesh-and-blood people ("tragic flaws" -- nobody always acts smart)who live in an imperfect world ("tragic choices").
Shakespeare's audience knew this.
For this reason, Aristotle's thoughts on tragedy (i.e., peopleare imperfect)really seem more useful in discussing Shakespeare than indiscussing Sophocles.In my course and here, my advice is the same -- focus on the human beings, the real-life, individual situations.
All teens knowthat severed headswere probably the first soccer balls.
then the answer is probably"Nothing."If a contemporary American can still ask, "Is lifejust a meaningless exercise in status-seeking, or is there anything to give us hopethat morality is real?" -- then the answer is maybe that"Shakespeare deals with basic human issues." -- just getting started
-- including something about the "tragic hero" business and "predestination"
There are MacBeth families in Scotland and Nova Scotia.
Macbeth, for whom life is a painfulmeaningless enterprise, speaks of Duncan sleeping peacefully indeath "after life's fitful fever"; part ofMacbeth's own punishment is to be aninsomniac, and Lady Macbeth's is to sleepwalk.
Macbeth was not named "Lady", but "Gruoch"(GROO-och).
You decide.)Other movie adaptations include "Joe Macbeth" and "Men of Respect" -- bothgangster tales, a contemporary version from India calledMaqbool (link is down),and "Throne of Blood", a classic samurai version.
ThenDuncan managed to killhis rivals and seize the throne.
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My favorite of the movie versions is Roman Polanski's dark and(in Macbeth's time) accurate visionof a world in which murder is normal means of achieving power.