Revisions and revisions and revisions.
One of my favorite texts that I get to read through with my senior students each year is Macbeth. I’ve always enjoyed the story and the themes of this play since I first read it in college. Every year, there’s always something else to notice, another character to spend more time dissecting, another scene that seems to take on an even greater significance. In recent years, I’ve started showing the Rupert Goold version starring Patrick Stewart in the title role. It takes the story and sets its aesthetic in Stalinist Russia while keeping all the names of people and places of the original. It’s really dark and explores some of the play’s themes of power, violence, and politics in a memorable way. I used to stream it from PBS’s website, but they took it down. Luckily, our library bought a copy so I still get to use it each year.
Shakespeare’s stories have a way of staying with me, as they do with many people. There’s a reason we keep telling and retelling these things, after all, and it’s not just because English teachers like him. The universality of Shakespeare has stood the test of time, and it is a testament to the power of storytelling that four hundred years later, we can still appreciate and enjoy what he gave the world. Even if most of us as writers can’t change the world like he did, we can still create a story or two, and that is worth the effort.
Write your story!
-J. E. Ayers
Jeff Ayers writes books that are pretty good.