“Macbeth” by William Shakespeare – A book review

When I first read Macbeth, it was my literature text in secondary school back in the early 1970s. I sat for the GCE “O” Level examination for it. Now it was made into a motion picture.

I remember the three witches that said, “Fair is foul, and foul is fair. Hover through the fog and filthy air.” This started the tragedy of Macbeth who was loved by King Duncan, King of Scotland, at the beginning for emerging victorious in fighting the country’s enemies. But the prophecies of the three witches set in motion a chain of events that led to a bloody end for Macbeth. “It will have blood, they say; blood will have blood”. This sums up a series of murders and a battle to the end.

Lady Macbeth was so inflicted with guilt that she uttered: “Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh! Oh! Oh!”

As I re-read this penguin classic, I was struck by the Shakespearean language of his era. I was surprised that I could pass the examination for it; but probably not appreciating every sentence spoken by various characters. Thanks to the accompanying commentaries in the book, I got to understand it better now.



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