Thursday, June 14, 2018

A beautiful evening at Macbeth?

You cannot describe an evening at Macbeth as entertaining, as lovely; rather I must say I have never found the play so absorbing an evening as at the National Theatre last night, with Rory Kinnear in the nightmarish title role.
In this world of unrelieved horror, what can be the appeal? We know it is about vaulting ambition, Macbeth's and his wife's, about the destruction it wreaks, the cruelty and murder it can drive human beings to, the dire consequences of underestimating our imagination and conscience. Why sit through that darkness when you could simply stay away?
It is because the dark too, I decided as I listened, takes on an incandescent beauty: not some sick beauty of horror and death: not, for once, because of Shakespeare's profound insights into character and motivation: but from the matchless use of words, the sublime language that elevates and absolves all action.

Whether for Oberon scheming about a bank where the wild thyme blows, for the exiled Duke serenely accepting the uses of adversity in As You Like It, for the monstrous Macbeth shrieking at his terrors, Shakespeare makes empyrean music.

He gives the lie to the tale told signifying nothing, heard even in Hell the harmony of the spheres.


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