Macbeth: A Dagger of the Mind (Harold Bloom book)

Published 2021-12-31.

I read this short book right after reading the play itself. Harold Bloom picks passages from Macbeth, in order, and talks about their significance, whether literary, historical, or even personal.

The main thing I enjoyed about this book is that Bloom’s love for Shakespeare is so palpable. I occasionally felt suspicious that Bloom was exaggerating a bit, in the same way that one might feel suspicious of an art snob who is moved to tears by painting of a banana. Which is not to say that Macbeth is bland or abstract; it’s just that some of the passages seemed, to me, less “extraordinary” or “ludicrous” than Bloom thinks they are. But it seems like people who get really into Shakespeare commonly have increasingly intense feelings about it the more they study it.

Anyway, I enjoyed this book, and it augmented my appreciation of the play. Bloom also wrote short books about Falstaff, Cleopatra, King Lear, and Iago; maybe I’ll let a few of those guide my further exploration into Shakespeare.

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