It’s been said before that Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a young man’s play, and his Macbeth is a middle-aged man’s play. And in some ways, it’s an apt description. Hamlet is a man tortured and torn apart by his frenzied emotions. Seemingly every move he makes is motivated by passion, not thought. Macbeth, on the other hand, seems to be pushed along by envy and ambition and, of course, the voice of Lady Macbeth whispering in his ear.
He sees himself being passed over by those he’s been loyal to, despite his accomplishments as a military general. And he wonders if his current station is the highest he’ll ever reach. When he is finally consumed by an emotion, it’s ambition, not anger or devotion, and his trail to becoming King Of Scotland is marked by the bodies of those who were simply in his way, rather than those who inspired hatred or anger.
“He’s a weak man,” says Michael Leaser, who’ll be playing the conflicted Scottish general in the Flowertown Underground Players production of Macbeth. “He has ambition in him, but he has too much of what Lady Macbeth (played by Jensen Stauffer) might call ‘the milk of goodness.’ He can’t quite jump over that hurdle and take what he feels is his. It’s his wife who pushes him on.”
In fact, Leaser sees an interesting current parallel in popular entertainment for the symbiotic-but-toxic relationship between Macbeth and his manipulative bride. “The analogy I use is Frank and Claire Underwood from House Of Cards,” he says. “Although Frank is a little more in control then I think Macbeth is. He looks at Lady Macbeth and she’s…
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