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March 24 , 2008

A Canadian Macbeth


Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth contains timeless lessons on human nature and human frailties but the beautiful language of his day and the violence of regicide and assassination seems less and less easy for most people to appreciate as time goes by. 

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This adaptation, in modern English, puts the story in 21st century Canada, bringing the struggles of Duncan, Macbeth and Malcolm into the Cabinet room of Parliament and the dining room of the Prime Minister’s official residence. It explores the same struggle of ambition versus principle as in the original, but in the contemporary context of policies on economic growth and climate change. Shakespeare’s three witches become three television pundits who conspire to flatter Macbeth and then tempt him to think he’s invincible. Lady Macbeth (“Mrs” Macbeth in contemporary Canada) is as diabolical, but ultimately conscience-stricken, as in the original. Readers will discover how Macbeth is finally undone despite the media’s suggestion of his invincibility.

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