Most of you will probably be familiar with the plot line and don’t need summary, but if you do, read on.
Macbeth is a decorated war hero, fighting in wars for the king of Scotland, Duncan. After one such battle, three witches appear to Macbeth and his friend Banquo, promising titles and even the crown in Macbeth’s future. Lady Macbeth doesn’t want to leave things up to chance, so she convinces Macbeth to murder Duncan in his sleep as he stays the night in their castle. The king’s sons flee, afraid for their own safety, and Macbeth is made king. He is driven mad by keeping his crown and destroying anyone who could take it away from him, plunging the kingdom into terror. A force led by Macduff, another noblemen, gather strength from other nobles and even the King of England in the hopes of unseating Macbeth.
If you're looking for a very faithful adaptation of the play, this is it. The acts and scenes are included, so it's easy to see where everything lines up with the original play. The Modern English is a fine way for students to get into the story who may be struggling with the Shakespearean text. However, there are a few times when the adaptation text is a little clunky. Michael Barltrop, the modern English adaptor, says in the End Notes that he was trying to keep the colorful language of Shakespeare, but there are some times when the figurative language doesn't sound natural in its translated form, or being true to the original language results in strange sentences.
Other than some of these moments, this volume is a great way for students to experience the play in a different medium. The beautiful illustrations make this reading closer to seeing the play performed, which is really how Shakespeare is intended to be consumed. Reading a static play and with very few stage directions is often very difficult for students, and teachers expend a lot of energy explaining, reenacting, and "translating" for students so they can enjoy the play. It's not impossible, but it definitely is a difficult task, and reading it with these visuals would definitely help.
Sara's Rating: 8/10
Suitability Level: Grades 9-12
This review was made possible with a digital reader copy from the publisher.
Publisher: Manga Classics (Udon Entertainment)
Publication Date: August 10, 2021
ISBN: 9781947808218 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: High School, Manga, Adaptations, Paranormal
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