Indeed, as individuals it’s doubtful that either could have committed murder to gain power. But when the two begin to plot and rationalize together, evil gains strength in the sexual orgy of that marriage.
The oppositeness of the sexes plays a very important part in evil’s cumulative effect. Macbeth doesn’t want to murder King Duncan until Lady Macbeth challenges his manhood. When three witches tell Macbeth that no man of woman born will ever harm him, it makes him feel invincible. It’s also interesting that the three witches have beards making their sex ambiguous. However, Macduff, who was cut from his mother’s womb instead of being born naturally, is out to prove Macbeth’s mortality.
But guilt is the pervading theme in Macbeth as in many of Shakespeare’s tragedies. Evil deeds may bring power, but it comes with a price. For Macbeth, guilt renders many sleepless nights and ghostly visions of those he has murdered while Lady Macbeth is infected by obsessive cleanliness. It seems that no matter how hard she tries, she can’t wash the blood from her hands. While Lady Macbeth fades off into insanity and death, Macbeth’s false sense of invincibility does him in. Evil exists but is short lived and dies badly.
Marin Shakespeare Company stuck closely to the original ending where Macbeth and Macduff’s fight to the death is mostly off stage. This felt a little flat for a modern audience, especially since there were other battle scenes that were done well on stage. Indeed, an abundance of on stage swordplay is one of the highlights of this production. There was also trouble with the sound system, making some of the lines difficult to hear in the back rows of the outdoor San Rafael theatre. But these were minor problems in an otherwise excellent production.
For tickets or more information call (415) 499-4488 or visit www.marinshakespeare.org.
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