What is A.C. Bradley's interpretation of Macbeth?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Bradley has some distinct views on Macbeth in relation to other Shakespearean tragedies.  One notion he suggests is the idea that Macbeth is closer to Hamlet in its assertion that evil is a "prodigious force" which is accompanied by a supernatural quality.  The linking of both elements, the life force of evil, and its connection to another worldly quality make it closer to Hamlet and distinctive amongst Shakespeare's works.  Bradley also suggests that the characterizations presented are almost "superhuman" in their presentation and action, which would be consistent with the otherworldly quality.  Bringing to life the play's connection to a realm of the supernatural, Bradley contrasts the opening of Macbeth to the other Shakespearean tragedies.  As opposed to opening with hushed conversations, Macbeth opens in the midst of a thunderstorm, with action "bursting into real life" as the sounds of a battle are close behind.  Another interpretation of Macbeth that Bradley asserts is the overall dark quality of the work.  Bradley notes that the color of black pervades the play, suggesting  that Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's "darkest" works: "Macbeth bids the stars hide their fires that his 'black desires may be concealed; Lady Macbeth calls on thick night to come, palled in the dunnest smoke of hell."

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