This book was written to solve two basic problems stopping the average person from enjoying the works of Shakespeare. The first part is the language is just so hard to understand. There are many different annotated versions of his plays you can read to help with this. But the second problem has not been solved yet, until now.
The problem is this, Shakespeare wrote plays. This is a format intended to be viewed, not read. The novel not only has made the language easy to understand, but also made it actually enjoyable to just sit down and read. It is a book, with dialogue and descriptions both. It is easily understood, and so easily enjoyable.
For your reading pleasure, I would like to give you a gift. The first chapter of THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH: A NOVEL.
Though dawn cracks the night, the sun’s warming rays cannot reach the cold shadow upon the ground. Occasional flashes of lightening reveal a frozen moment burned fleetingly into one’s eyes, dragging on blindness in the intervening time. Looking up during these moments of sight show thick clouds like dark smoke billowing to overcast the land. They carry the promise of a deluge that will soak anyone and everything caught outside when the heavens begin to cry. A precursor to the terrible downpour only moments away, the storm flashes brightly once again.
The booming thunder that follows shakes the ground, heralding in the rain, which begins to falls in a drumming of large, cold, raindrops. The darkness deepens even more, swallowing all but the flashes of light the storm itself brings. The hilltop beneath the sky is illuminated in another blinding flash. It has been made barren under the marching feet of an army that passed by merely the day before. And now the rain quickly turns the hill’s exposed dirt into viscous mud.
On the hilltop, three old hags approach one another, seemingly not harried by the storm but instead reveling in it. Each are dressed alike, wearing clothes that have long since decayed into old and moldy rags that hang from their thin and seemingly weak frames. The rags have been added on to cover the previous soiled cloth, leaving the old women to appear bulky in the layers. Their faces are old and dark, their thin hair hoary, and their shoulders slumped from long lives spent on hard paths. Their aged faces are covered by thin, wispy beards of hair that would look at home on a long dead corpse.
The first raises her arms up in greeting and speaks in a creaking voice. “Well met, under the thunder on the hilltop.”
The second and third grin in reply, showing rotten and missing teeth.
The second says, “It shall be as we foresaw at our last meeting. The events have come to pass.”
The third adds, “Then we shall need to meet once more to speak the prophesy to Macbeth. He is the one who must listen.”
“When shall that be? Under the thunder, the lightening, or shall it be in the rain?” the first asks.
The second answers, “After the battle the army marches to, when the victor emerges. We shall meet then.”
The third looks across the horizon, her eyes growing unfocused, seeing that which is hidden in the dark. “That will come before the sun sets on this day. They lock in battle as we speak.”
The second declares, “Then let the meeting be on the field, among the corpses, two days after the battle. It is a fitting setting for such deeds as any would be.”
The third cackles in joy. “And it will be there that Macbeth comes to us.”
The first hag looks behind her, into the darkness, her attention drawn by some sound only she can hear. The second and third also are distracted away momentarily before the three return their attentions to one another.
The shadowy outline of a cat emerges from the rain. Darker than even the night sky, the cat’s form is visible only as a shadow in the downpour. It comes from behind the first hag and sits, licking its front paw as it waits, unconcerned with the falling rain. A toad emerges from behind the second witch, looking much larger than a toad should naturally grow. Nothing comes from behind the third, but still she hears her familiar’s call.
“I am coming, Graymalkin,” the first says to the cat, waving a hand dismissively.
“Paddock also calls,” the second says to the first.
The third exclaims, calling to her familiar, who has yet to arrive, “I am here!”
Pulling their attention back to one another, the witches say in unison, “That which is fair is now foul, and that which is foul is now fair. Fly! Take to the fog and filthy air. After the battle we shall meet Macbeth to bear witness and ensnare.” The three fade from sight as if by some otherworldly sorcery, and their familiars vanish with them.