Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

The Hired Girl

Laura Amy Schlitz

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Author: William Shakespeare

Year: 1603

Famous for: Excessive bloodshed, a world gone mad, “Double, double toil and trouble” and other witchy chants.

Main character: Macbeth, a Shakespearean (political) serial killer.

The scoop:

If you’re the bloodthirsty sort, Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, will speak directly to your love of gore. That’s because the main character, Macbeth, spends the bulk of this play killing people—and all in the name of power. There’s a king’s crown to be had—and haven’t Shakespeare’s characters killed for less?

But don’t blame all the blood and guts on Macbeth. One of the big questions of Shakespeare’s tragedy is whether the guy is completely responsible for his actions. After all, it’s the witches’ prophecies that prompt the first murder. And Macbeth’s wife, Lady Macbeth, plays more than just a supporting role in the killing spree.

Which is to say that unlike today’s slasher flicks, there’s actually some nuance to Macbeth. And if you can get past the violence, you’ll see that Shakespeare was playing with some important questions about responsibility, influence, and consequences—questions that keep this play feeling relevant nearly 400 years later.


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