A rich merchant, Antonio is depressed for no good reason, until his good friend Bassanio comes to tell him how he's in love with Portia. Portia's father has died and left a very strange ... See full summary »
Spurred on by an eerie prophecy of the power he could gain if he were King, Macbeth, an army general, murders Duncan, the King of Scotland, and takes the throne. However, his guilt, and that of his wife, may prove to be their undoing.
The Shakespeare tragedy that gave us the expression "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child." King Lear has not one but two ungrateful children, and it's ... See full summary »
King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him. When Cordelia, youngest and most honest, refuses to idly ... See full summary »
Whither should I fly? I have done no harm. - But I remember now... I am in this earthly world, where to do harm is often laudable, to do good sometimes accounted dangerous folly.
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WARNING: if you do not know the play Macbeth, I refer to the ending, so please do not read this if you wish to keep the ending a surprise!*****
Most of the later, stylized BBC Shakespeare TV-films have impressed me to some degree. Not so, Macbeth. While the highly stylized setting was effective in parts, the actors seemed to misunderstand much of the play, the ironies and character development. Lady Macbeth was especially guilty of this, during the speech in which she asks the "spirits which tend on mortal thoughts" to unsex her. The point of the speech is that Lady Macbeth is asking to be made sexless, remorseless and resolute. This Lady Macbeth, however, throws herself onto the (convenient) bed, legs spread wide in an almost masturbatory speech. I began to wonder at this point if she had actually read the play, or was being given her lines scene at a time! Sadly, the performance only got worse. Macbeth was marginally better, although the use of the "evil" rasping voice for his murderous thoughts, contrasted with the "manly" voice in the parts where his conscience is awakened makes for a very two dimensional tragic hero. Yes, that's right, Macbeth is a tragic hero, who is bought to downfall by his ambition and paranoia. Instead, the interpretation Jack Gold has given the play turns it into something resembling a 19th century melodrama, with an evil villain, pious king and Malcolm, and a heroic Macduff, completely ignoring the irony of Malcolm's statement of Macbeth as a butcher (Macduff, carrying Macbeth's head is visually the only butcher on stage) and the fiend-like Lady Macbeth (who we last saw wracked with guilt, sleep walking, only to kill herself later out of despair in the knowledge of what they have done). The introduction of the Weird Sisters, who rise out of stone was impressive. It is a pity the rest of the production did not follow suit.
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