‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’ actor on why William Shakespeare is timeless

denzel washington tragedy of macbeth
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Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth is undoubtedly one of the most striking adaptations of 2021; a film that once again attempts to bring the words of the Bard to the big screen, and quite successfully, at that.

It’s been more than five years since Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth – starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard as the titular Scottish military leader and his wife – delivered a faithful adaptation to the 17th-century tragedy by William Shakespeare. Now, the acclaimed director Joel Coen has decided to take a crack at it with yet another star-studded cast, and the result has been spectacular to experience.

The legendary Denzel Washington portrays Macbeth, while the three-time Academy Award winner Frances McDormand plays his wife, Lady Macbeth. Other cast members include Brendan Gleeson as King Duncan and Corey Hawkins as Macduff.

The past few weeks have been extremely kind to The Tragedy of Macbeth, with the film winning accolades left and right and getting nominated in almost every important category in different award shows. To celebrate this stupendous acclaim, Corey Hawkins recently had a chat with Collider, where he discussed working with Coen, Washington, and Shakespeare.

When asked why he thinks Shakespeare is, well, Shakespeare, the actor had an interesting response, saying:

“Shakespeare, I say it all the time, was a poet of the streets. That’s what he was. He wrote for every man. He wrote about the kings and queens, and the courts, and the palace intrigue. And he wrote these incredible plays that have stood the test of time because while the characters change, the plot stays the same. So, while we, over time, have come and gone and left this Earth, the plot stays the same. There are always people sort of fighting for ambition. There’s fate, love, mistrust, sacrifice, there’s all of these things that we know and love. And the beautiful poetry of it that helps us wrap our minds around it and feel it. But the plot stays the same. Everything will play its course. I think that’s the beauty of Shakespeare.”

I think that beautifully sums up why Shakespeare is still relevant today, or why so many artists continue to adapt his work or even imitate his universal themes.

The Tragedy of Macbeth is available for streaming on Apple TV+ as of Jan. 14. You can check out our review of the film here.

About the author


Jonathan Wright

Jonathan is a religious consumer of movies, TV shows, video games, and speculative fiction. And when he isn't doing that, he likes to write about them. He can get particularly worked up when talking about 'The Lord of the Rings' or 'A Song of Ice and Fire' or any work of high fantasy, come to think of it.