Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Tragedy of Macbeth Part II: The Seed of Banquo- Noah Lukeman

Macbeth Act V Sc V

Title: The Tragedy of Macbeth Part II: The Seed of Banquo

Author: Noah Lukeman

Publisher and Date: Pegasus Books 2008

Summary: Shakespeare’s Macbeth ended with the death of Macbeth and Malcolm taking over the Scottish throne. The witches however did not prophesize such a fate for Scotland, because Malcolm was not the seed of Banquo. For years after first reading Macbeth I wondered if there was something I missed in the play could the witches really have been wrong? Could there actually be a plot left unsettled in a Shakespearian play? Apparently Noah Lukeman felt the same way and wrote the sequel to Shakespeare’s Macbeth. After ten years of peaceful rule of Scotland by Malcolm the original prophecy is settled. The seed of Banquo comes back to take his rightful place on the throne.

Favorite Quotation from the Book:
Malcolm about Lady Macbeth (yes there is another Lady Macbeth in the play): Can she sit so content in such a place as if this worldly setting held no threat? See how her lips move, how she kneels So softly upon unyielding stone, as if repenting for every soul in Dunsinane Such prayers must go unanswered whilst I inhabit My descent to Hades is set, the only question being the time of my arrival. Satan you shall have your prize. But not yet. For whilst she lives I too have cause to live see how she floats to the window, as a bird to light.

Review: (this review does contain a few spoilers)
I have to admit when I first read what Lukeman was attempting to do with his play I was a little shocked. Someone actually dared to write a sequel to one of Shakespeare’s play and in blank verse no less!? I did not expect much from it and was pleasantly surprised by the work. After the first scene in the first act I was hooked. It is fast paced, exciting and truly I did not know what to expect, well we do have the new prophecy that predicts Malcolm’s downfall and the return of Fleance but there is the mysterious new love of Malcolm and why exactly does Fleance come back? It was easy to become lost in the language and story. Lukeman and Shakespeare’s writing are so similar I had to convince myself that I was indeed reading Lukeman and not Shakespeare. Lukeman follows the structure, the pace and the language of Shakespeare so closely that an opinion of the play can go both ways… one Lukeman is not really jumping out on a limb and creating his own version of Shakespeare or two Lukeman truly has mastered the Shakespearian art and created a play that can stand as a sequel to the great Shakespearian play. I lean towards the latter. I like the fact that he follows the speed and language of Shakespeare. I can see the two played back to back at Shakespeare festivals. It is a worthy creation that is a must read for Shakespeare fans. To make sure I am balanced in my review of Lukeman though I have a few minor issues with the text. The characters of Lady Macbeth and Fleance are underdeveloped. I wanted more time with Fleance and Fiona to see more of their undying love for each other and how the loss of Fiona drove Fleance to avenge her death and his father’s. I also wanted to hear just a little more about Lady Macbeth she was such an interesting character, especially after just an innocent embrace of MacDuff could have awoken within her a passion that lay dormant. If given the chance could the saintly Lady Malcolm actually have become a traitor to the crown? All the same these are personal preferences that in no way detract from the masterpiece Lukeman has created. I give The Tragedy of Macbeth Part II: The Seed of Banquo 5 out 5.

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