To thane own self be true

In an attempt to write the shortest film review of Justin Kurzel’s new film adaptation of Macbeth, I’ve basically come up with the one pun. And you’ve read it already. Feel free to wheel it out at parties.

But it does make a tiny point. Watching this glorious reincarnation of a story that never loses its horror, I finally realised what Macbeth’s problem was. It’s the weight of expectation. He was totally fine, pootling around battlefields with a bit of badly applied eyeliner, doing battle. Totally fine, in an ancient, killing machine type of way.

It only goes horribly wrong when the witches tell him he’ll be king. He’s not king, but he will be king. They don’t tell him how, and they don’t tell him why. And unfolding the riddle, and forcing his will behind their words, is what drives him mad. I came out of the auditorium determined to ignore people’s predictions, especially about my life. From how many children I should have, to what will make me happy, to what will make me unhappy, to how I should run my life, to what should matter to me, to the sad and lonely death I’ll suffer if I don’t get a pension. (Okay, that one might actually be true. But answer me this. How sad and lonely can a death be, if one has ten cats and the entire box set of Curb Your Enthusiasm?)

No one can tell me my fate, and if they try to I’ll stick my fingers in my ears and run away.

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