I wasn't sure what play I would choose but then I happened to see How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare on sale for kindle and picked it up. You can not read that book, which I highly recommend by the way, without being inspired to read one or more Shakespeare plays. Then my ao forum friends decided to go through MacBeth and I thought, why not?
Why not indeed! I don't think I would have picked a tragedy on my own, I'm more of a comedy gal, but I really enjoyed this. I did have to read it aloud though. If I tried for even a few lines to switch to reading it in my head, I completely lost interest and found myself writing a grocery list in my head. Oops. Since I do most of my harder reading when the kids are napping/sleeping, I had to do a lot of whisper reading. And I tried not to focus too much on figuring out the deep meanings of everything. I just enjoyed the language and the story. I'm having a hard time even describing how much I enjoyed the language or how well written it was because to describe Shakespeare as "really good" is kinda pathetic. But do I really need to say that, y'all know, he's Shakespeare. He's good. Most of the characters in this play, not so much. Lady MacBeth - she's scary!
Another thing I really enjoyed about branching out from my Shakespeare comedy rut is his amazing ability to keep you on your toes in terms of mood. You'll be in the middle of a funny scene with a mom and son bantering and then, bam, mood change! Or the other way, you are in the middle of this intense act and then all of a sudden, you realize that you just almost missed a joke (or you did miss it but luckily a fellow reader caught it and you can go back and laugh).You never quite know what's gonna happen next.
I will be honest though. The one downside to reading Shakespeare, for me at least, is that I feel kinda stupid. When I read other classics, even if I have to trod through them, I get a good sense of accomplishment at the end. Wow, yay me, I made it through Dickens! With Shakespeare, I know I missed so much of it. So many jokes and references and deeper ideas that were totally over my head. Even with reading it in a discussion, which helped a lot, I could probably read this again 10 times and still find new things to think about. Which in reality, isn't really a problem at all. But in my head, I kinda miss feeling smart (and now feel free to judge me, I won't mind :-).
I want to read another now. Probably Hamlet because our town's Shakespeare in the Park is putting it on in a few weeks and Craig and I are hoping to snag ourselves a babysitter and make a night of it. And if for some reason that doesn't work out, there is always David Tennant. But I think it might hurt my soul a bit to see David Tennant play somewhat less loveable than what I'm used to.
MacBeth was my Classic Play selection for the Back to the Classics Challenge. Check out more plays and classics over at Books and Chocolate.