I had forgotten how political the Scottish play is. Watching the latest production of Macbeth, with Ralph Fiennes and Indira Varma as the king and queen, acting out the bloodstained drama on a specially constructed stage near Edinburgh airport, a shiver of recognition ran round the audience. “Stands Scotland where it did?” asks Macduff, to which Ross replies: “Alas, poor country, almost afraid to know itself. It cannot be called our mother, but our grave…”
With Macbeth on the throne, there is a long discussion among the exiled nobles about what happens to a country when too much power is concentrated in autocratic hands, and how that poses a risk to “justice, verity, temperance and stability”.
Malcolm, bidding to overthrow the tyrant, speculates on