Saturday, January 30, 2010

Battle # 4 Macbeth vs. King Lear

Battle #4 - Macbeth vs. King Lear

Welcome, welcome one and all to the third and forth official day of the Battle of the Bards!!
Today is a very special day because we will be having a double.... that is right DOUBLE match up. Make sure to scroll down or use the convenient battle list to your right ----> to check out the match up from earlier today. It has already gotten pretty heated so don't forget to cast your votes for both plays!!
For official rules and as well as explanations to how the game works be sure to check any of the other posts. We are curretly still in the first tier of the brackets so each correct answer for today's battles will earn you one point torwards THE GRAND PRIZE!?!?
The path is sure to be long and hard but fear not, your efforts shall be rewarded in the end!

Now that you have heard the rules it is time to begin the second battle of the day! So break out your foam fingers, practice your iambic pentameter, and let's get ready to rummmbbllleeeeee in.....
The Battle of the Bards!!!!!


First up we have a play that we hope you all know and love. Macbeth has been a front runner since the very beginning but that doesn't mean it has quite shaken off the black spot that King Lear is sure to provide!!

Weighing in at: 2113
First Appearance: 1603-1607
Shortish Summary: wicked witches, possible prophesies, amazingggg speeches.
Much longer summary:

The first act of this play is down right creepy. It starts with the Three Witches deciding that their next meeting shall be with Macbeth. In the following scene, a wounded captain reports to King Duncan of Scotland that his generals Macbeth and Banquo have just won a nice victory, and Macbeth gets all the praise.

The scene changes. Macbeth and Banquo enter, discussing the weather and their victory ... however the 3 witches show up and burst their happy bubble with some prophesies. Apparently Macbeth will be king and Banquo will have some sons... who will eventually kill a king A little later, they find out that Macbeth is now officially king of some random country! Go figure. The first prophecy is thus fulfilled. Immediately, Macbeth begins to harbor ambitions of becoming king of his land.

Macbeth tells his wife who comes up with a plan to kill the current king (Duncan). Macbeth objects but she tells him to suck it up and be a man. So sure enough Macbeth kills the king and frames the servants. Later when the body is discovered, Macbeth pretends to be socked and kills some guards in his fake rage. However the country is still minus one king so Macbeth (as foretold) steps up.

Despite his success, Macbeth remains uneasy about the prophecy about Banquo and hires someone to kill his sons. However there is a bit of a mix up and Banquo ends up dead and his son runs back to the castle. A little later while everyone is partying, Banquo's ghost shows up and sits in Macbeth's seat! However unfortunately for Macbeth, he is the only one that can see the ghost, leading everyone to think hes nuts.

Macbeth is freaking out by this point goes to see the Witches They conjure up three spirits with three further warnings and prophecies, which tell him he will "never vanquish'd be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him". Since Macduff is in exile in England, thinks he golden, but just to be safe he locks up Macduffs family.

Meanwhile, Lady Macbeth becomes wracked with guilt from the crimes she and her husband have committed. In a famous scene, she sleepwalks and tries to wash imaginary bloodstains from her hands, all the while speaking of the terrible things she knows.

In England, Malcolm and Macduff hear about the chaos going on at the castle and decide to return and take down Macbeth. Around this time Macbeth delivers a famous soliloquy ("Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow" read it, it's amazing) uponhearing Lady Macbeth's killed herself.

There is a fight and Macbeth is beheaded by Macduff fulfilling the witches' prophesies. Sad.

Fun Facts:

- You can't even begin to imagine how prevalent this place is in our daily life. Just by reading the very short 'tomorrow, and tomorrow' speech you can find at least 10 modern day works that have taken their titles or used an allusion. Aldus Huxley even has a short book of esssay's with the same title. Just look around folks, you will be suprised how many modern day things actually comes from this play.

Amazing Quotes:

  • "Stars, hide your fires:
    Let not light see my black and deep desires:
    The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be
    Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see."
  • Out, damned spot! Out, I say! One: two:
    why, then 'tis time to do't. Hell is murky. Fie, my lord,
    Fie! A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who
    Knows it, when none can call our power accompt?
    Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?"
  • "By the pricing of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes."

Here we have a nice modern translation of the famous 'something wicked' scene, as told by our good friends: The Animaniacs.

Well folks Macbeth came out swinging. With powerful quotes and the odds on it's side Macbeth is looking confident. Can the next contestant give it a run for it's money?
In the left corner, representing all those oldies out there we have:

King Lear
Weighing in at : 3216 Lines
First Appearance: 1603-1606
Short Summary: stubborn old fathers, greedy daughters, dysfunctional family
Longish Summary:

Lear, who is really old, wants to retire. He decides to divide his realm among his three daughters, and offers the largest share to the one who loves him best. Goneril and Regan (two of his daughters) both say over and over they love him more than anything in the world, which pleases him. To bad for Lear, but the two good daughters are just lying to get what they want.

Cordelia (the 3rd daughter) is quiet but honest which annoys him. Gramps gets made, disinherits them, and divides the kingdom between the other two. Kent (some guy hanging around) objects to this unfair treatment. Lear throws another fit and kicks him out too. Cordelia's two suitors enter. Learning that she is disinherited, the Duke of Burgundy withdraws his suit, but the King of France is impressed by her honesty and marries her anyway (yay!)

Kent returns from exile in disguise under the name of Caius, and Lear hires him as a servant. Around this time King Lear is starting to pick up on the fact that his daughters think he is an old fool and is getting pretty upset.

Alot, and I meant alot of death follows. We won't include spoilers but just know this isn't a Disney movie. Some eye-gouging might be included. As people are plotting and scheming away, King Lear who has this time basically become senile, realizes that the whole world is corrupt and runs away from the kingdom.

(A lot happens between then and now) But long story short Lear ends up carrying one of his dead daughters bodies (no spoiler here) across the stage and promptly dies himself.

What follows is even more death, corruption, and madness but we don't want to give it all away. If you want to know which daughter makes it to the end, if King Lear gets his 'crazy' under control, or hear about the entire subplot of a war, then by all means rush out and pick yourself up a copy!!!

(click to make bigger)

Sadly dinosaurs are not included in the play

Fun Facts: (taken from here)

  • Portions of a radio performance of the play on BBC Radio 3 in the UK were used by John Lennon in The Beatles' song "I Am the Walrus", starting at about the halfway point, but most audible towards the end and during the long fadeout. Lennon added the BBC audio (live as it was being broadcast) during mixing of the track. The character Oswald's exhortation, "bury my body", as well as his lament, "O, untimely death!" (Act IV, Scene VI) were interpreted by fans as further pieces of evidence that band member Paul McCartney was dead.
  • A lake in Watermead Country Park, Leicestershire is named King Lear's Lake, owing to its proximity of the legendary burial tomb of King Lear.
  • At the beginning of the video game Final Fantasy IX, the play 'I Want To Be Your Canary' played in front of Queen Brahne is heavily inspired from King Lear (the two plays share both the characters' names and the plot) .
Fun Quotes:
  • Come not between the dragon and his wrath.
  • A man may see how this world goes with no eyes. Look with thine ears
  • The weight of this sad time we must obey;
    Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
    The oldest hath borne most: we that are young
    Shall never see so much, nor live so long.

Finally for your viewing pleasure, we have some meerkat's a reading passage from King Lear because.... well why not?

Alright Bard lover's are you crying yet? If so, probably out of frustration on which play to pick. We encourage all of you to leave your comments, questions, personal anecdotes, etc to help others, and possibly yourselves to make up your minds! As always we encourage you to go above and beyond and possibly pick up the plays or at the very least, google some quotes. You might just be amazed at what you find!!


  1. ... and Macbeth is the second Shakespeare play I ever read! I must admit that one of the only reasons why this one is favorited is because, well, witches? Yes, please.

  2. This was a really difficult choice for me as I adore both of these plays. I think I may have enjoyed reading King Lear more, but overall Macbeth is just a better, more artful, story.

  3. @ Gabby - Haha great logic. Witches really do mak everything better (haha we are such HP nerds).

    @Trisha - Yea I think this is the first battle we have had that will really be a tough one to call. Good reasoning though!!

  4. Macbeth all the way biatches!!! I don't have much reasoning though. Except, yeah the witches thing. And every good story should have its own chilling riddle-like prophecy - it makes everything more interesting!


  5. Out damn spot out! Oh Macbeth is my favorite of all the Bard's plays. I had a high school teach act it out, sword fight and all! From that time on, I have been a big fan of the bard and this play.
    From the witches to Lady Macbeth, the women in this play rock!

  6. Soooo hard to choose. Is it fair to say I enjoy both equally and refuse to choose? :)

  7. @Aimee - Your comment made me laugh hysterically. Yes the witches are excellenntt

    @Sari- You are so right! Macbeth really is a great play for the ladies, since so few other Shakespeare plays are haha.

    @Sanity - Haha it is only going to get harder from here!!

  8. Ok, someone has to stand up for King Lear a bit, if we don't want him to become even more sour than he already is, right? I saw the play a couple of years ago, it was incredible, so I vote for King Lear !!

  9. Macbeth all the way, because I am obsessed with the play. You may want to re-read Macbeth though...
    -Banquo's sons would BE kings, not murder one.
    -Macbeth is not king of some random country, he was rewarded the Thaneship (lordship) of Cawdor, for doing well against the traitor
    Macdonald, previous Thane of Cawdor.
    -Frames Duncans guards actually, not servants really. Kills these 2 guards in his fake rage, not random 2.
    -Hires to kill Banquo too, not just his son
    -Macduff wasn't exiled, he ran
    -Macduffs family, and every servant in Fife, was killed, not locked up.
    First time reading, and probably last time, if everything is researched this badly, some offense meant.
    I know nothing about King Lear, so for all I know, good job on that if it lessens the sting.


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