Manga Classics: Macbeth by Crystal S. Chan – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Let me put it this way: I got a free digital copy for review, and it was so good that before I’d even finished it I had bought the print version to finish it on. 😍😍😍 Just brought so much depth to the story, even I caught some new details! Absolutely loved this adaptation!
For teachers looking for ways to make Macbeth clearer for students while still using the original language, for those who love a badass graphic novel, for an interesting and faithful illustrated interpretation of Macbeth.
Welcome to the Manga Classics’ brilliant adaptation of Macbeth! In this dark tale by William Shakespeare, a brave Scottish general named Macbeth receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and takes the Scottish throne for himself. He is then wracked with guilt and paranoia. This manga adaptation brings a modern look to the classic language with the full original text alongside 300+ pages of stunning art.
As an avid reader and someone who majored in English and English Education in college, I’ve read Macbeth a good number of times. I even did a thesis on it and created a website around it at one point! I have some pretty solid theories around the 3rd murderer and Hecate’s role in everything. And yet, despite my familiarity, there were still details I had never fully understood before that the manga version of Macbeth revealed to me.
One that sticks in my head is when Duncan’s crew comments on how the air is nice where they are, then spot a a certain kind of bird and say it makes sense to see one since will only live where the air is really nice. I still have no idea what “nice air” is all about, but the at least now I know what they were saying!
Point being, this was an amazing blend of modernity, through the manga illustrations, with the classic language of Shakespeare. What a powerful combo! I loved the way foreground through background was leveraged for metaphorical imagery. That’s one aspect that I think is particularly well done and powerful in conveying meaning in some of the lesser-known phrases they use. Would be SUPER helpful for students to see! It doesn’t have the explanation of words in text (ie. ‘cuckold: a man who’s been cheated on’) but it does the same through images, making it a lot more natural and still allowing readers to remain immersed and use those context clues to find meaning. Facial expressions on the characters are great at conveying the emotion and tone that can be hard to find in the text alone, as well.
The art! It’s SO GOOD! The way they slowly change Macbeth’s appearance through the story is so cleverly done and a beautiful mirror to his growth. Also, Hecate is just a straight up badass. I adore her, so seeing her look so awesome was awesome. It’s truly gorgeous, and this has immediately become a yearly re-read for me, if not more often! Macbeth is a dark and gripping story, and the manga version makes it more accessible while keeping the cleverness of the original language.
Thanks to NetGalley and Udon Entertainment for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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