I noticed something while working on my silly little adaptation of Macbeth. Something kind-of fundamental to the story. Well, the first thing I learned by looking at Wikipedia of all things was that Macbeth was not an original story to Shakespeare. The play itself was an adaptation. Quite possibly based on historical events. At the very least, it was based on well known stories about guys killing other guys for the purpose of becoming king or whatever. What fascinated me the most was that it wasn't always a secret. The guy killing the other guy said he did it because the other guy was crap as leader or something. I'm being vague on details for no good reason. Not the point of this little writing jag.
Anyway, the thing I noticed was Macbeth had no problem killing. It's what everybody says. Macbeth is about a guy who doesn't want to kill another guy but is talked into it by his wife. Once he kills the other guy, Macbeth gets all bloodthirsty and goes on a wild and wacky murder spree. Oh, and while Macbeth is dancing around in the blood and entrails of his many assorted victims, his wife is slowly losing her marbles. Sure, she may have thought this killing thing sounded like a good idea at the time and was all for slaying the other guy if it meant her guy would become king, but she just couldn't deal with it when actually faced with the fact that murder had been committed.
So all as part of reading the play a couple of times over while figuring out if I could make an adaptation of Macbeth work, I noticed that Macbeth did not have a problem with killing. The play started with Macbeth killing quite a few guys, in fact. It was how he wound up so close in line to the throne in the first place. The play started with a rebellion. The rebels were even kicking ass until Macbeth got involved. Macbeth and Banquo between the two of them killed more than their fair share of people, but it was okay because they only killed naughty people who rebelled against the king.
So, it wasn't killing. Macbeth had no problem with killing. Had no problem with murder. He was good at it. Macbeth had a problem with regicide. He had just finished killing quite a few people as I said to protect the king so turning around and murdering the very person he had been defending didn't sit very well with him. Took just a bit of convincing. But, he finally did it. He was good at it, after all. This was also why he had no problem killing all those other guys to protect his claim to the throne once he was king. He wasn't slowly going insane. He was just good at doing his job. After killing the king, anyway. That did bug him a bit. But not much. Oh, and he did feel guilty about ordering his good friend Banquo murdered.
That surprised me while working on my silly little adaptation. Strange feeling. That everybody had it wrong. Or my understanding of what everybody always said about Macbeth was about was wrong. Wild, huh?