Blast From the Past: In Remembrance of a Scottish Play

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another Blast from my Past. Last year, when I was still in school (ah, such “great” memories) and as part of our English Class, we studied the classic Shakespearean play Macbeth. After going through a long, long term (I still don’t get every line of the play), our coffee-addicted teacher gave us an assignment: To eulogise Macbeth. Or rather, pretend to be a character from Macbeth making a eulogy for Macbeth.

Writing as King Malcolm III, I attempted to make Macbeth the innocent victim and tried to rouse the patriotic Scottish spirit. My teacher, who was Australian, wasn’t affected. I have NO idea why my he didn’t laugh and throw it out. I mean, he should have stopped the speech. An asian King Malcolm? Yeah right.

Anyway, I’m putting it up here for you guys to read – have a look and laugh, as you imagine me having to say this while quivering under my teacher’s caffiene-laden eyes.

******

Honourable thanes, lords of the kingdom, worthy nobles, and the king of England’s representative, brave Siward, we are gathered here today to pay our respects to the man who was the late Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and King of Scotland, Macbeth. Many of you might remember him as the man who murdered my father, or as a man who was deeply disturbed, but Macbeth, while all of these things, was also a worthy, honourable man who defended Scotland to within an inch of his life, and brought Scotland to a whole new level of modernism. Macbeth was a good man, led astray by several dishonourable people and a series of unfortunate events.

I am King Malcolm the Third, and while I am well known around the shires of Scotland, Macbeth’s name was just as well known as mine. In his early life, Macbeth was many things, and none of them evil. He was a fearsome warrior, tactician, and swordsman, trained at my father’s most famous military camp at Inverness and excelling overall. Surely all of you would have heard of his famous exploits at Fife, where he, with the late Banquo, defeated the King of Norway, along with the previous Thane of Cawdor and the rebel leader Macdonwald. In that very battle, he was described as: ‘…brave Macbeth, – well he deserves the name, – disdaining fortune, with his brandish’d steel, which smok’d with bloody execution, Like valour’s minion carv’d out his passage till he fac’d the slave; which ne’er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him, till he unseam’d him from the nave to the chaps, and fix’d his head upon our battlements.’ Brave in battle, slaughtering the King’s enemies, he was a truly great man indeed.

He was also a caring, loving family man, spending a considerable amount of time at his wife’s side. Together, they were a formidable couple, and their love and ambition for each other knew no bounds. When appointed Thane of Cawdor, his letter to his wife told her of the great news, calling her his ‘partner in greatness’. What other man would immediately write to his wife on receiving such news? Macbeth was definitely, sincerely, a man with vast courage and endless love.

Therefore, if such a man was so patriotic and loving, willing to risk life and limb for Scotland and family, why did he kill my father? The answer, I feel, is that he was led astray by a combination of witchcraft and his selfish, power-hungry wife. There have been rumours of a meeting between Macbeth and several witches, or the “weird sisters”. They caused Macbeth to believe that he would become king. They orchestrated the ensuing fiasco, poisoned his mind and ultimately pressured him into wickedness.

The very evil of sorcery and witchcraft cannot even begin to be contemplated, but its effects could be seen in Macbeth and his actions. Previously a virtuous, loyal servant, he now began to consider the possibility of becoming king. We can only hope and pray to the good Lord that we would never be exposed to such a temptation. But this would have remained only as a temptation, if not for his power-hungry wife and her actions, which ultimately decided Macbeth’s fate.

While Macbeth cared deeply for his wife, the late Lady Macbeth may have felt the same way, but loved nothing else. Hearsay seems to paint a picture of an ambitious wife, willing to destroy everyone in the way in order to instil Macbeth on the throne and to make herself the Queen of Scotland. How true this assessment is we shall never know, but what is known is that her urging convinced Macbeth to give himself over to evil. My father died because of that decision.

Of course evil will never go unpunished forever. Over the past few months, Lady Macbeth had not slept without light; she continually sleepwalked and talked in her sleep, and was seen to constantly wash her hands, in order to remove an imaginary spot of blood. Mark that: Blood on her hands. These were all signs of “…..a great perturbation in nature”, which is a fitting punishment for her crimes. Lady Macbeth perished by killing herself, throwing herself out of a window. And as we all know, a suicide victim will never find rest. God’s retribution for her actions.

From this, is it not evident that Macbeth was led astray? While people will rightfully remember his evil actions, pray recall to mind the good he also performed. He improved Scotland’s economy and legal system, as well as providing mandatory education and military training throughout the country. Macbeth was therefore a good king and leader of Scotland, making many decisions to forward Scotland in the world. Had murder and treason never happened, Macbeth would be remembered as one of the greatest kings in Scottish history.

However, the evil and atrocities that Macbeth performed have left a blight on our fair Scotland, and while he may not have been fully responsible for his actions, the wrongs must be set right. I, Malcolm, as the king of Scotland, pledge to make witchcraft illegal, as well as rectify our diplomatic relations with both England and Norway. Compensation will be made to all parties affected, including Macduff in remembrance of his “wife and babes savagely slaughter’d”. As God’s chosen leader, I can honestly say that while I will be a good leader, unlike Macbeth, I will base my rule on wise decisions and military genius, and not Macbeth’s conflicted reign of terror.

One thing everyone can learn from Macbeth is that, while he was a moral and honourable man, the evil around him finally influenced him into destruction. He, like every one of us, was a human being, with human faults and desires. Judge his life not by its end, but by the good he left behind. Macbeth was a good man who made wrong choices. Let us always live honestly by the Word of God, and pray for the Lord God to “…deliver us from evil”. Hark, the future is bright, and a new dawn breaks! Let us always remember the hero of Scotland and the good, not the evil, that he did. Let us always remember Macbeth, as we strive for a better Scotland.

***END***

Do YOU think that the speech was a timely reminder of inherent evil, or the reason why censorship cuts boring material? Leave a comment and tell us!

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  1. I’ve been there. Earlier this year, actually. Not bad, but a little long. Captures Malcolm well. Nice 🙂

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