An Old Post Revisited – The Macbeth Story

The Macbeth Story: For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his soul

Matthew 16 verse 26

Most people know the story of Macbeth written by William Shakespeare. They have either read the book at school like I did when I was younger or they have seen the movie like I did recently. Some people say that Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s tragedies. I say that Macbeth had two choices and he made the wrong one. To me, the witches symbolise words that can be sown into either good or bad soil and in the case of Macbeth according to Shakespeare they were sown into bad soil.

So here is a basic summary of the story: Duncan is the reigning king of Scotland. There is a battle, Macbeth, and his fellow officer Banquo are victorious despite there being many casualties on all sides. They meet some witches on the moor who tell Macbeth that he is going to be the Thane of Cawdor and then the King of Scotland. They also tell Banquo that although he would never be king he would beget a line of Scottish kings, meaning that his descendants would be kings. Not long after King Duncan has the current Thane of Cawdor killed because of treason and sends some men to give the title of Thane of Cawdor to Macbeth on the battlefield. This obviously sets Macbeth on the path of thinking that if the first thing predicted by the witches has come true, maybe the next would soon follow. (Point to note here, Macbeth didn’t betray anyone to get this title; it was earned by his brave deeds on the battlefield).

Macbeth sends a message to his wife of what has occurred, and she comes up with the idea of killing the reigning king, Duncan so that Macbeth would be king. One thing leads to another and king Duncan, Banquo and Lady Macduff and her children end up dead while Macbeth becomes king of Scotland. There is a time in the current movie where you see Macbeth sitting in the castle (his mansion) amid all his wealth looking crazed and completely unhappy – he has gained the world (wealth) but has completely lost his soul. I remember watching the actor on screen portray this is such a thought-provoking way that the title scripture immediately came into my mind.

I said that I thought Macbeth had two choices and he chose what he did because he thought that was the only way to get the things the witches said he would get. But, and this is me looking at things from a completely different perspective, what if Macbeth chose option number 2.

What if on hearing the words of the witches he did absolutely nothing?

What if he waited to see what would happen naturally instead of taking matters into his own hands?

Picture this: Macbeth and Banquo hear the words of the witches. Soon after the king’s men appoint Macbeth as Thane of Cawdor and he goes on to have the king and co for dinner but instead of killing Duncan he does nothing. King Duncan is an old man, he is a king surrounded by foreign enemies that want him dead. Sooner rather than later he dies from old age or at the hands of his enemies. Macbeth, the Thane of Cawdor, is well liked and respected and because the king’s sons are young the people decide to make Macbeth king until Malcolm (first-born of King Duncan) is old enough to take over. Macbeth would have got the two things predicted without having the blood of his king on his hands. His wife wouldn’t have gone mad and killed herself. They could have been King and Queen of Scotland, murder free.

If Macbeth never had children and Malcolm never had children then Banquo’s son Fleance and his son’s would be kings fulfilling the prediction of the witches.

Here’s a thought – what if the witches knew that things were meant to happen like this (option 2) but being evil decided to cause havoc by spilling innocent blood. All they had to do was provide the seeds and hope for the ‘sower’ to sow them into bad soil. Remember they never told Macbeth to kill anyone; the Macbeths did all the plotting and planning themselves. Banquo didn’t think about wiping everyone out so his descendants would be kings did he? I mean he heard the same words Macbeth did, didn’t he so why didn’t he take matters into his own hands?

In life, we have choices, good and bad. The good choices we make will always lead us to the right path and the bad choices in the opposite direction. Things happen; people say things to us and our character usually determines how we react. We want things, we don’t want to wait and our character determines what we do.

Sitting in a mansion surrounded by everything you have ever wanted (like Macbeth) and being completely miserable is the worst possible thing to happen to a person.

Sitting in a mansion surrounded by everything you have ever wanted and being completely happy is the best thing to happen to a person.

What’s the difference?

The choices you make and the way you obtain your mansion!


Choose wisely!

Gladys x



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