Tag Archives: macbeth


Some say
In a place far away
The gods play dice
And we humans pay the price.

How easy to blame some external force,
“Matters will take their course.
We must to fate submit
And our teeth in the face of adversity grit”.

Macbeth his dagger drew
And ran king Duncan through.
It was his own shame.
No witches where to blame.

We make our own fate,
Though oft we hate
The fact however true,
It was we alone, who ran King Duncan through.

In Search of the Ultimate

The search for the ultimate thrill
May chill
Or kill
The fickle heart.
Better to leave dark
Yearnings to art
Where they can do no harm,
Than down the primrose way start.

The charm
Of a thing
May oft times bring
A fleeting pleasure,
But come the set of sun
When our fun is done
The sting
We feel, then repent at leisure.

“Knock, knock! Never at quiet. What are you? But this place is too cold for hell. I’ll devil-porter it no further. I had thought to have let in some of all professions that go the primrose way to the everlasting bonfire”.
Macbeth. Act 2, Scene 3.


Why do you ask

If I wear a mask?

Do you suppose my expression benign

Conceals some hideous crime?

Look in the glass

And rather ask

About your own mask.

Put away the stones

For bones

Are brittle

And friend’s opinions fickle

As the witches in Macbeth

Who promise much, then leave him bereft.

Can Anyone Name The Novel In Which The Following Dialogue Takes Place?

A question for you. Can anyone name the novel in which the following dialogue takes place?

“Sir, on hearing you speak I am reminded of Shakespeare”.

“Really! My conversation has the ring of Shakespeare about it!You compliment me. To which heroic character do you refer?”

“I refer sir to Macbeth and the lines voiced by him as he nears his end, namely

“a poor playerThat struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more: it is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing”.

Sounds borne on the wings of night

Sounds are incredibly evocative. My home is some 25 minutes walk from several train stations. Occasionally, when the wind is in the right direction and most often at the dead of night when the traffic has ceased I hear the whistle of a train. It is a mournful sound which induces in me feelings of sadness. I am not sure why this should be the case. Perhaps it flows from my perception that there is something about the sound, in and of itself which is evocative of sadness. The speed of the train also reminds me that life is passing by rapidly, we are here now but very soon, like the speeding night train we will be lost in the darkness which for me is symbolic of death.

At other times I hear the hooting of an owl as he hunts in the park next to my home. It is an erie sound which has, in many different cultures been associated with bad luck or death. In Macbeth it is the bird of ill omen which portends the death of Duncan

Lady Macbeth: ”hark! Peace! It was the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman,

Which gives the stern’st good-night”.

Whenever I hear the cry of an owl it is of lady Macbeth’s words that I think. However, having said that I love listening to the owl as he hunts for his prey. I can stand for long periods by my open window harkening to his call.

Some sounds produce feelings of rest and contentment. I love listening to the sound of running water. It is hypnotic and soothes me when I feel tired or stressed.

Of course the lack of sound can be wonderful. To sit in tranquillity reading or just relaxing is very necessary to the human spirit.

There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so

Are certain pleasures in life intrinsically more valuable than others? Is the person who derives pleasure from watching Coronation Street (a British soap opera) but finds nothing which speaks to him in Shakespeare correct when he voices his opinion that soaps possess greater value for him than the Bard’s work due to Coronation Street arousing feelings of enjoyment not aroused by Shakespeare?

Yesterday evening, on the way home from the office I popped into my favourite pub for a pint or two. While there I fell into conversation with an acquaintance. Our discussion ranged far and wide. At one point during our conversation my acquaintance voiced the opinion that a child’s drawing may possess more value than works of art hanging in art galleries and on the walls of rich collectors. Let us leave aside whether the child in question is a budding artist with great talent and assume instead that his picture is a mere scrawl or a mediocre drawing. In such an instance the picture may (and often is) greatly treasured by the child’s parents as being a product of their son or daughter’s artistic efforts. Those unacquainted with the girl or boy in question may not give his creation a second glance but to the loving parents it possesses sentimental importance (they may keep the drawing for years taking it out of a drawer to look at from time to time).

The love of a parent for their children is a precious and beautiful thing, however we can not allow a parents biased view of their child’s talents to determine what constitutes great art. We would not, for example permit the parents of one child to judge the creations of children unrelated to them if the competition included pictures produced by the judge’s own children! The judge might be able to put aside his natural desire to favour his child but even so we would, quite rightly determine that it was inappropriate for him to sit in judgement in a competition featuring pictures produced by his offspring.

Let us broaden the debate and return to the person who obtains greater pleasure from watching soap operas than he derives from Shakespeare. We may disagree with the lover of soap operas and contend (as I do) that Shakespeare is more valuable in that his works portray humanity in all it’s rich diversity, however we can not argue against the fact that for the given individual Coronation Street possesses more value than the works of the bard. However while accepting that the lover of soap operas holds the subjective opinion that Coronation Street is more valuable than Shakespeare we can, by standing back and taking the broader perspective vigorously defend the concept of great art and literature.

Shakespeare’s plays have remained popular since they where first performed in Elizabethan times. The issues addressed by Shakespeare remain as relevant today as when the plays where first written. For example take Macbeth’s musings on ambition

“I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself,
And falls on th’other.”

Many a despot has been driven and continues to be propelled by “vaulting ambition”. Wonderful writing which can not be compared to the happenings in Coranation Street. Again Hamlet’s “To be or not to be, that is the question” soliloquy is arguably one of the greatest meditations on the subject of suicide ever written:

To be, or not “to be, that is the question:

Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer

The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,

Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,

And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep

No more; and by a sleep, to say we end

The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks

That Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wished. To die to sleep,

To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there’s the rub,

For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause. There’s the respect

That makes Calamity of so long life:

For who would bear the Whips and Scorns of time,

The Oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s Contumely,

The pangs of despised Love, the Law’s delay,

The insolence of Office, and the Spurns

That patient merit of the unworthy takes,

When he himself might his Quietus make

With a bare Bodkin? Who would Fardels bear,

To grunt and sweat under a weary life,

But that the dread of something after death,

The undiscovered Country, from whose bourn

No Traveller returns, Puzzles the will,

And makes us rather bear those ills we have,

Than fly to others that we know not of.

Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all,

And thus the Native hue of Resolution

Is sicklied o’er, with the pale cast of Thought,

And enterprises of great pitch and moment,

With this regard their Currents turn awry,

And lose the name of Action.”

Doubtless in future centuries historians will study soap operas to understand popular culture and some will continue to find such soaps entertaining, however it will be Shakespeare and Dickens who retain their positions centre stage not soap operas or mindless “reality” shows in which the boyfriend of a girl who has slept with his (the boy’s father) shouts insults at his partner for the entertainment of the studio audience and the viewer. We no longer have the spectacle of hapless victims being thrown to the lions. It has been replaced by ill educated people who want their paltry 5 minutes of fame strutting and threating their hour upon the stage and, once over to be heard from no more. This is entertainment of a sort but it is not great art or literature, perish the thought.