Macbeth a graphic novel adapted and illustrated by Gareth Hinds

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Based on the play by William Shakespeare. Candlewick Press 2015. ISBN 9780763678029
Any new publication which helps students engage with Shakespeare is welcome, and this well- constructed and attractive graphic novel, rather than simply condensing the story and adding pictures, carefully preserves the essential aspects of the play. Sensitive to the power of the language, speeches have been carefully abridged and the removal of line breaks, scene and act breaks, whilst preserving the Shakespearian language, lend fluency to the text. Legibility is good with not too much text on the page while black text boxes are used to indicate dark forces at work and asides. The graphic elements are engaging, the characters are consistent and evolve; Macbeth starts out strong and attractive and ends up haggard and a bit mad. Macduff starts out as the thoughtful comrade, and at the end when he kills Macbeth he is the epitome of a hardened warrior. The images of him when he learns of the murder of his wife and children reflect the heartbreak of his emotional journey. The whole is supported by dramatic use of colour, atmospheric settings and carefully researched, dramatic battle scenes. At the front of book is a helpful map of England and Scotland and a useful illustrated guide to the characters. At the back are historical notes, notes on the text and page by page notes in a conversational tone outlining Hinds' decision making frame by frame. Many of our Stage 1 students struggle through Macbeth each year and this edition will be useful in enhancing understanding and enjoyment of the play. For visual learners it could form a useful bridge between movie versions of the play and the written word.
Sue Speck