Ambition, intrigue, betrayal, murder. In 1610 The Tragedy of Macbeth was first performed . . . now 400 years later, the sequel.
Ten years dead, Macbeth may lie in an uneasy grave, but the three witches who led the ill-fated thane to his tragic destiny still hover in Scotland’s eerily medieval “fog and filthy air.” Still, too, their cauldron boils with toil and trouble. Ten years king, Malcolm sits on an uneasy throne. If Malcolm’s mind is haunted by the ghosts of his royal father as well as the thane and lady who so bloodily betrayed him, Malcolm’s soul is sickened, as was Macbeth’s, by the witches’ prophecy that from Banquo’s seed would spring a line of Scottish kings: a prophecy that remained unfulfilled at the end of Shakespeare’s play. The witches also taunt Malcolm with riddles all his own: that sorrows will visit him from Ireland (where his younger brother fled upon their father’s death); that his love for Macbeth will breed fresh treachery. To disastrous effect Malcolm will make these riddles a reality. He will greet his brother and see a usurper. Conspiracy will flourish as loyalties divide. Rebellion will brew. The kingdom will founder. True to the Shakespearean model, its devious plot unfolding in five acts and its speech set to the measure of blank verse, The Tragedy of Macbeth Part II draws bold the tragedy of a powerful man undone by the terrors he imagines and the truths he fails to see.