Macbeth: A Dagger of the Mind

Harold Bloom. Scribner, $24 (176p) ISBN 978-1-5011-6425-5
Acclaimed critic Bloom (How to Read and Why) once again plumbs the depths of a Shakespeare play to reveal new insights, this time offering a richly detailed character sketch of Macbeth. In a close, scene-by-scene reading, Bloom presents Macbeth as an ambitious visionary driven by a “prophetic imagination,” while leaving death and destruction in his wake. Referring to Macbeth’s vision of the bloody dagger, Bloom frames the character’s too-active imagination as a “dagger of the mind,” and his tragic flaw as the “fantasy-making power” that allows him to easily picture himself as king after hearing the witches’ prophecy. As the play progresses, Bloom finds Macbeth growing ever more frustrated by his failure to achieve his desires, and remarks that it is “difficult not to sympathize with a powerful representation of outrage,” causing the audience to identify with Macbeth despite his crimes. Even Lady Macbeth, as Bloom describes her, possesses a “negative exuberance of shuddering beauty,” though this diminishes after the play’s early scenes as the passion between her and her husband wanes and her own desires become frustrated. As he has so often done, Bloom will shift the reader’s perceptions of a literary classic. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 11/19/2018
Release date: 04/02/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 275 pages - 978-0-585-25673-3
Paperback - 978-0-7910-3677-8
Hardcover - 259 pages - 978-0-7910-0923-9
Paperback - 402 pages - 978-0-7910-9842-4
Hardcover - 119 pages - 978-1-60413-877-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-68441-686-8
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