Macbeth by William Shakespeare (1606)

Your favourite bit, aside from unsex me here and Show his eyes and grieve his heart; come like shadows so depart?

Mine’s got to be Macbeth’s glum it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Which reminds me, I must get on with my memoirs.

But Hold enough! There is a hidden not often referred to gem that haunts. Can’t really call it a ‘favourite bit’ as it’s pretty grim. Powerful in its wrenching.

But what style.

It’s the heartbreaking moment when Ross tells Macduff that his wife and children have been slain by King Macbeth’s henchmen.

It’s so awful, Macduff just can’t take it on board and has to keep asking for confirmation.

[Ross:]

…I have words that would be howl’d out in the desert air,

Where hearing should not latch them….

Let not your ears despise my tongue forever,

Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound

that ever yet they heard.

[Macd:]

Hum! I guess at it.

[Ross:]

Your castle is surprised; your wife and babes savagely slaughtered…

[Macd:]

My children too?

[Ross:]

Wife, children, servants, all that could be found.

[Macd:]

And I must be from thence! My wife kill’d too?

[Ross:]

I have said.

[Macd:]

He [Macbeth] has no children. – All my pretty ones?

Did you say, all? – O, hell-kite! – All?

What all my pretty chickens and their dam

At one fell swoop?

[Malcom:]

Dispute it like a man.

Maybe he just needed to turn his hearing aid up.

Thanks for being here.

Buy Macbeth (free delivery, cardboard wrapping)

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Book Bore.

Guy Nicholls, writer and book bore.

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