Hecate: And thou shalt be King hereafter.

Macbeth: King?!

Hecate: Aye. And you, Banquo, you will not be King. Yet, you will be royal.

Banquo: Oh, oh, I’m going to be Queen!

I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again, June 1968

Macbeth has never been a favourite. Probably something to do with having studied it in Drama in Yr 7, Music in Yr 8 and then for SATs in Yr 9. Now that I’ve got some distance from all of that (it doesn’t quite feel like ten years since I last read it), I dislike it less. The ISIRTA version is my favourite though.

Now I know that without Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s actions there isn’t much of a play, but seriously, what good did they really think would come of murdering Duncan in his bed? Killing a King in battle is one thing, but while he sleeps? Really? Such a bright idea!

I’m still trying to decide if it makes for a better story than what actually happened to Macbeth. He was King of the Scots in the mid-11th Century, for about 17 years. He’d defeated King Duncan in battle, whose widow and sons then fled. Then, in 1054, Earl Siward of Northumbria – who may or may not have been related to both Duncan and his wife – launched an invasion in which lots of people died, including his own son. And in 1057, Macbeth made his last stand, being defeated by Duncan’s son Malcolm. Macbeth died the following April, and his stepson is crowned King. But, you know, life is tricky, and he met an untimely end, after which Malcolm becomes the Third Malcolm of Scotland and manages a long reign. Sadly none of the Three Weird Sisters stuff is recorded as having happened…

Anyway, Macbeth. In which a man is goaded into killing the King and it all ends messily. Supposedly it’s a tragedy, but I think they had it coming.