Macbeth banned?
Friday, 08 August 2008 17:56

In a move widely expected in Westminster it was announced that Gordon Brown is considering banning the Shakespear play Macbeth. A spokesidiot for the prime minister confirmed that Macbeth is regarded as a bad role model for young people because it glorifies killing, in particular knife killing or knife crime.

Particular exception was taken to the lines where Macbeth says . . .

'Is this a dagger I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still . . .'

Which suggest that Macbeth might be anxious to grasp the knife and start using it. Scholars have pointed out that this is not the real meaning but were told very firmly to mind their own business and not to interfere in politics.

Similarly, where Macbeth says . . .

'If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
It were done quickly.'

Has been interpreted by ministers as proving that Macbeth is not only intent on using the knife but that he intends to do so quickly. A bright 13 year-old did tell ministers that they were totally mistaken and that if they had gone to a proper school they would know that what was meant was that if action needed then it was better that it was taken quickly. This lesson was totally wasted on Alistair Darling who has been dithering about stamp duty for some time while the housing market collapses awaiting his decision.

The spokesidiot went on to say that it was wholey inappropriate for young people or indeed people of any age to witness such violence on stage. A decision on a number of other Shakespear plays is expected in the near future.

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