Dear Mr. Shakespeare

By on May 10, 2015 in Fiction, Humor

Ben Jonson thinking of a sad Shakespeare

Dear Mr. Shakespeare:

Sir, some are convinced that your wisdom and creative genius are unsurpassed; others believe someone else is writing those so-called masterpieces that bear your name. To point 2 above, I say “Sir Francis Bacon? Christopher Marlowe?” To point 1, I say “Baloney!”

I have waded through your most recent  bloodbath, Macbeth, which you recently proffered for publication. Having recovered from several nightmares about drowning in an ocean of blood, I am ready to respond.

Since I can’t address every weakness in this lurid “historical” drama, I will focus on specific areas of character and plot development and your reference to this play as ” historical.”  I’ll begin with the wildly unrealistic and shoddy development of your main character. Macbeth morphs practically overnight  into a rabid serial killer with a sword drawn for anyone who crosses his path. Why? It all starts when three witches predict kingship for him, and his wife then asks him to kill King Duncan. Princes stand between Macbeth and the throne, but —swayed by the words of four hags — he kills the ancient king, whose mutilated corpse becomes the first in an astronomical body count. By this point, you’ve added asinine reasoning to faulty character development.

Last, I will address the classification of Macbeth as a “historical”  tragedy. Historical? PUH-LEEASE! To say that most of this drama is historically inaccurate is an understatement. First of all, Duncan, whom you describe as an elderly, highly-respected, good king, was in reality a brash, young, arrogant, spoiled brat who served Scotland very poorly and whom Macbeth killed in battle (not while he slept). Also, Macbeth was not killed by Macduff, who did not then become king. Do I agree that the play is a tragedy? Well, it would be tragic if I agreed to publish it!

I relish the opportunity to do my part to save the world from Macbeth. It gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling. With this rejection, I offer sound advice concerning your future means of livelihood. Slaughterhouses are always looking for reliable workers. They offer only animals, but you would still get to see torrents of blood.


Ben Jonson
Senior Editor
Macduff Publishing


Janice Canerdy is a retired high-school English teacher from Potts Camp, Mississippi. As a teacherof great literature, she especially relished writing over-the-top parodies of the classic poems she taught. She did not share these with her students because she liked her job. Her writings have appeared in several publications, including Wild Violet, Light Quarterly, The Road Not Taken, Lyric, Parody, Bitterroot, Cyclamens and Swords, Society of Classical Poets, Westward Quarterly, Lighten Up Online, Better Than Starbucks, and Southern Tablet; and anthologies, including those published by the Mississippi Poetry Society, the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, Whispering Angel Books, and Quill Books. Her first book, Expressions of Faith (Christian Faith Publishing), was published in December 2016.