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I wrote this in April of 2012 for my Shakespeare class.

Besides the conjured spirits, Caliban was the only native to and inhabitant of the mysterious island which is the setting for William Shakepeare’s The Tempest. Prospero and his daughter Miranda chanced upon the island after fleeing forces from Milan that drove them out and appointed the dukedom to his brother, Antonio. This new exotic place became territory for Prospero to rule and utilize in his studies of the magical arts. Yet instead of being accepted and befriended, Caliban was enslaved and subjected to constant torments and insults. Prospero referred to him as “thou poisonous slave, got by the devil himself” (1.2.319). Did he deserve this treatment and portrayal as a monster, or was he simply a reflection of the more savage qualities to which any man can be reduced?

Caliban is the son of the witch Sycorax who previously ruled the island in tyranny before her death. His appearance is described as not quite human and animalistic in nature. Prospero attempts to civilize him and even teaches him how to speak properly. Yet all he does is give him orders and chores, threatening torture of cramps and unpleasant tormentsif he refuses to obey. Caliban retorts back, “You taught me language, and my profit on’t / Is, I know how to curse” (1.2.363-364). He finds ways to defy Prospero and eventually joins up with Stephano and Trinculo in an attempt to seek revenge.

The two members that are part of the shipwrecked crew, Stephano and Trinculo, aren’t the most ideal companions, but they accept Caliban readily enough and impress him with a fascinating item in their possession: alcohol. Particularly affected by the drink, he sees Stephano as a god and pledges them fealty: “These be fine things, and if they be not sprites. / That’s a brave god and celestial liquor. / I will kneel to him” (2.2.116-118). Caliban is regarded in a comic and almost pitiful light. The two men do nothing but enforce the portrayal and use him for their own means as a guide. However, Caliban shines forth as a true and reverent guardian of the island, filled with respect for it. “Be not afeared, the isle is full of noises, / Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not” (3.2.135-136). He speaks eloquently about the island in a way those regarding him stereotypically would not expect, sharing his own hopes and vulnerabilities. “The clouds methought would open, and show riches / Ready to drop upon me. That when I wak’d / I cried to dream again” (3.2.141-143). Winning the two over, he includes them in a plot to overthrow Prospero and gain power.

Ultimately, the plan fails, and Prospero sends spirits on a chase after them as punishment. However, as he speaks to the gathered group, Prospero recognizes Caliban as a part of him: “This thing of darkness I / Acknowledge mine” (5.1.275-276). He admits imperfection and asserts everyone’s rights to fairness and deliverance. Everyone has a darker side, and both light and dark sides should be embraced. Humanity gives rights to all seeking a place in the world.

Caliban

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Faith and trust in women and relationships have a large impact on the plot and character development in William Shakespeare’s play, The Winter’s Tale. King Leontes of Sicilia and his queen, Hermione have a cooperative and successful partnership initially with his admiration of her wit and power of persuasion. Then the provocation of a handclasp between her and his childhood friend, King Polixenes of Bohemia, spirals Leontes into a pit of paranoia convinced Hermione is a treasonous adulteress. She maintains a steadfast conviction of her innocence during the trial and defends herself courageously until she faints upon hearing of her son’s death. In addition and perhaps more so, Hermione’s closest confidante and attendant Paulina shines forth as a strong figure throughout the play with the ability to influence and shape Leontes into a more sympathetic character.

From her strong entrance demanding to visit the queen in prison, Paulina is described as “a worthy lady, / And one who much I honor” (2.2.5-6) by the jailer. She is relentless and fierce in her defense of Hermione, constantly brainstorming new ideas to present to the king in an effort to make him see reason. No man is too powerful or privileged for her to stand up against. Well aware of her strengths, Paulina asserts, “I’ll use that tongue I have. If wit flow from’t / As boldness from my bosom, let’t not be doubted / I shall do good” (2.2.50-52). She has a firm understanding of the value of well-prepared words.

Leontes is incensed by Paulina’s unrelenting defense of Hermione and appeal to his heart by involving their newborn child he does not believe is his own. He is consumed by his false ideas so much that an oracle delegated from the gods has no truth or merit in his eyes. No one is willing to stand up against him except Paulina. It is she that reports Hermione’s death. She rails against him, shouting, “Thy tyranny, / Together working with thy jealousies / … O, think what they have done, / And then run mad indeed – stark mad! For all / Thy by-gone fooleries were but spices of it.” (3.2.179-180, 182-184). With her words, Paulina begins to incite Leontes’ guilt and reconsideration of his accusations.

Sixteen long years pass, and still Paulina remains by King Leontes’ side. Grief and pain have wracked him steadily.  Paulina maintains the strong voice of feminine reason, echoing and supporting the memory of Hermione in her counsel. As Leontes is being pressured to remarry, she asserts that no woman on earth could equal his late wife and requests the power to control who he would be with. His acquiescence is an indicator of how he has transformed over time in regaining respect for women. In an astonishing revelation, Paulina presents Hermione returned to life, and Leontes is overwhelmed with joy and surprise. Paulina replies wittily, “I like your silence, it the more shows off / Your wonder” (5.3.21-22). Her steadfast resolve to see justice fulfilled and honor restored make her an inspiration for all.

 

paulinawinterstale

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During the time of William Shakespeare, particularly in the early 1600s, witchcraft and magic sparked into a widespread phenomenon and source of fascination in England. King James I was extremely superstitious and integrated observation and written research of the phenomena eagerly into his life. Many suggest Shakespeare wrote his bloody Scottish play, Macbeth, knowing that it would gain the eager, entertained audience of the reigning monarch with its supernatural themes. Indeed, the dark and mystical issues form a pivotal role in the driving force and motivations concerning the entire play. Without magic behind the ensuing madness, it would be yet another cold-hearted bloodbath plot commonly found in the entertainment world.

The witches and their leader, Hecat are knowledgeable of the past, present, and future revolving around the fates of the mortals in Macbeth. One could even consider them to be the puppeteers responsible for the tragic events that occurred and Macbeth’s descent into insanity, later followed by his wife. The three weïrd sisters proclaim to Macbeth and his companion Banquo that Macbeth will be king and later the heirs of Banquo. This plants the seed of greed and murder within Macbeth’s heart and mind that soon will overtake his reason. Banquo comments on the witches’ power of persuasion, saying, “And oftentimes, to win us to our harm / The instruments of darkness tell us truths, / Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s / In deepest consequence” (Shakespeare 1.3.123-126). He believes in their prophecies yet makes note of the ease in which to be seduced by dark power. Hecat, the leader of the witches and goddess of witchcraft, also declares their control over the situation:

As by the strength of their illusion

Shall draw him on to his confusion.

He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear

His hopes ‘bove wisdom, grace, and fear;

And you all know, security

Is mortals’ chiefest enemy.

(3.5.28-33)

With this declaration of meddling responsibility, the audience sees the inevitability of the murders to follow that are beyond Macbeth’s control. The witches prey upon his weak and impressionable mind as he continues to seek them out for more prophecies and answers, addicted to having his fate planned by another rather than thinking for himself and making his own future.  Every action he takes and person he kills stems from the witches’ words fed to him. This magical element behind the murders creates more intrigue and fascination for those observing from the outside.

The hallucinations and visions of the paranormal incorporate an element of sympathy for the infected minds of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth that would otherwise be lost. As he sneaks in the night to kill King Duncan, Macbeth has delusions of a bloody dagger as a precursor to his madness and paranoia. The ghost of Banquo appears at a banquet held in the recently crowned Macbeth’s honor, bringing his insanity to the public eye. In the end, Lady Macbeth’s mind succumbs to a dreamlike state in which she perpetually envisions blood on her hands, sleepwalks, and reveals their part in the murders without awareness. These add qualities that bring out their human frailty as a contrast to their portrayal as tyrannical and barbaric souls. The magic and paranormal aspects in this play bring a new perspective to the motivations behind the characters.

 

macbeth witches

 

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Faith, trust, and responsibility have large roles in the development of plot and characterization in William Shakespeare’s play, Cymbeline. Some figures such as the Queen and Cloten are one-dimensional stock characters without growth or depth, but their constancy can help serve as a basis for comparison to the evolution of others. One such person that undergoes a major shift in perspective is Posthumus, exiled for marrying the king’s daughter Imogen and then tested to the brink of his trust in her fidelity by the trickster Jiachimo. In fact, the vision of his family and Jupiter that Posthumus experiences in prison helps to bring about a transformation within of growth and responsibility impacting his future decisions and conclusions.

Initially, Posthumus is very concerned with his reputation and image. He selfishly bases his entire relationship with Imogen on how it reflects back onto him. Willing to gamble on her fidelity, he diminishes the value of her true character almost to the point of dehumanization. When Jiachimo falsely persuades him that she indeed committed adultery, Posthumus is very quick to condemn and believe the worst: “All faults that name, nay, that hell knows, / Why, hers, in part or all; but rather all” (2.5.27-28). He places complete blame onto her without thinking of how his actions and absence could possibly have given cause for it, had it been true.

After receiving a bloody handkerchief as “proof” that Imogen has supposedly been killed by his request, Posthumus begins to show a change in heart. He forgives her and acknowledges that all faults do not rest on her alone. Even though he believes her dead, he gradually takes steps to redeem himself. Posthumus says, “Let me make men know / More valor in me than my habits show” (5.1.29-30). He actively desires to right his wrong and change for the better, yet his mind is conflicted about the path he should take. With the exception of Imogen in the beginning, no one has complete and utter faith in Posthumus, and he feels as if he belongs to neither the Roman nor British side of the conflict that arises in the play. He surrenders to the first side that approaches him (the British) in hopes that he will be punished in reconciliation for Imogen.

While imprisoned, Posthumus asks the gods’ help in easing his conflicted mind and has a vision of his family and Jupiter while sleeping. Each parent and brother tells the story of their fate and relates back to Posthumus with their opinion on his current situation. They beseech the intercession of Jupiter to help bring a positive outcome to his fate. This encounter is a strong way to unite and make connections with his family that he never knew, creating a sense of support, companionship, and belonging. Jupiter assures that Posthumus will have an optimistic fate suggesting, “happier much by his affliction made” (5.4.108). He feels humility after receiving favor from the gods and no longer has an air of entitlement. In learning from his mistakes, he gains a sense of maturity and growth to accept responsibility for his actions.

 

PosthumusVision

 

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(I wrote this a year ago exactly for my Shakespeare class. February 26, 2012, fancy that!)

Everyone in the literary world is familiar to some extent with the premise of the tragic tale of two star-crossed lovers in William Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet. Their love story doomed by fate and feuding families has since been the inspiration for many works in literature and later cinema through to the present day. What makes this couple memorable enough to be studied in classrooms across the globe? Is it their youth, their steadfast devotion in life and following into death, the tragic events that lead to their demise, or a mixture of possibilities? One aspect of the play that has a profound impact on the reader is the usage and beauty of the language of Shakespeare. It breathes unique life into each character creating distinct personality traits with which many can relate. Through his words, society in Verona, Italy is clearly painted as well as the expectations for beliefs, values, and behaviors in both men and women. The characters of Romeo and Juliet, however, challenge these ideas and incorporate traits of the opposite gender. Shakespeare’s decision for the pair to defy the gender standards of the time brings their love together in an undeniable way, yet their later attempts to re-conform to the societal expectations eventually leads to their ill-fated tragedy.

The world of men in Verona is founded upon violence, sexual domination, and conquest. Every action taken is an expression of comparing oneself to another and the driving need to be proven more powerful. Daily life walking through the streets and passageways is a tense affair particularly due to the feud between the two powerful families of the city, the Capulets and the Montagues. The cause of the enmity between the two houses is never explained, but one can see the dislike transmitted all the way down to the servants who would taunt the opposite side and coerce them into a fight. Quick to respond on impulse, men tend to think of their immediate needs first. Jokes are made at the expense of everyone thought to be inferior. One of the servants of the Capulets, Sampson, boasts to another, “’Tis true, and therefore women, being the / weaker vessels, are ever thrust to the wall; therefore I / will push Montague’s men from the wall, and thrust / his maids to the wall” (Shakespeare 1.1.15-18). This distinctly shows the enforced concept of dominance. Men from opposite sides are meant to be defeated through fighting duels, and women are objects to conquer and overpower to sate sexual desires. Primal nature and instinct tend to be initiated without second thought of morality and consequence. Anything less than boldness is not considered to be male. Sampson also challenges, “Draw, if you be men” (1.1.62) feeding upon societal standards and teasing his opponent with the idea that he is less than a man if he does not respond and fight. There isn’t any room for ruminations of love and emotional introspection. One of Romeo’s best friends, Mercutio, suggests, “If love be rough with you, be rough with love; / Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down” (1.4.27-28). The thought reinforces the need for men to constantly be above what are considered to be lesser emotions of weakness. Detachment is necessary so as not to allow one to be overpowered by something such as love.

However, Romeo challenges this idea of masculinity and is portrayed with more feminine and submissive traits. He speaks with a poetic melancholy contrary to that of the other men: “Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs, / Being purg’d, a fire sparkling in lovers’ eyes, / Being vex’d, a sea nourish’d with loving tears” (1.1.190-193). Romance and longing fuel his daily thoughts, giving him the most fulfillment and satisfaction. Romeo is in love with the idea of love, and his way of thinking is teased mercilessly by both his friends and enemies. When paired with Juliet in scenes, his male role is increasingly diminished. He puts himself below her both literally and figuratively in a gesture of submission, especially during the balcony scene. “O, speak again, bright angel, for thou art / As glorious to this night, being o’er my head, / As a winged messenger of heaven” (2.2.26-28).  A Veronese male would never dream of considering himself below a woman, nor would he put her on a pedestal to worship and revere. While the pair exchanges vows of love, it is Romeo who revokes his name: “Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptiz’d; / Henceforth I never will be Romeo” (2.2.50-51). This act of giving up his name for his love is non-traditional, even in the standards of today. Yet these qualities that make him uniquely Romeo are what draw Juliet in toward him to shine forth in strength and merge her heart with his.

Women of Verona are considered to be a completely different class in comparison to men. They are thought of as inferior, weaker, and more as objects to possess. Never would they be called equals with opinions that would be heard and understood. Pleasing her parents, marriage, then pleasing their husband, and bearing children are the life goals of which a woman should dream. Juliet’s nurse makes multiple references to a joke her husband made years ago: “Thou wilt fall backward when thou comest to age” (1.3.56). This is an attempt to make light of the sexually subservient lifestyle a woman must become comfortable with when she becomes a fertile age. Lady Capulet, Juliet’s mother, also presses forth the expected honor of women saying, “Here in Verona, ladies of esteem, / Are already made mothers. By my count, / I was your mother much upon these years” (1.3.70-72). A girl is quickly transferred from the house of her parents to the house of her husband without any chance of independent thought, action, or growth.

Shakespeare portrays Juliet in a way that defies these standards for women and gives her an uncommon strength contrary to society. Upon first meeting Romeo at her father’s masked party, she does not shy away from his forward nature as would be proper and typical of an unmarried girl but rather engages him in playful banter and builds upon their flirtation. She even allows him to kiss her. During the balcony scene, Juliet takes on the role of the leader and dominates the conversation, challenging Romeo’s motives while he obligingly acquiesces and replies to her satisfaction. She is very straightforward in her ideas and daringly proposes the idea of marriage first: “If that thy bent of love be honorable, / Thy purpose marriage, send me word to-morrow” (2.2.143-144). She is possessed with very eager and sexual thoughts than would be considered normal for a woman of the time.  Upon waiting to consummate their marriage, Juliet sighs in a highly erotic speech, “O, I have bought the mansion of a love, / But not possess’d it, and though I am sold, / Not yet enjoy’d. So tedious is this day” (3.2.26-28). Women are not regarded as sexual beings in Veronese society. She even defies her parents when they try to force her to marry Paris, risking their wrath and dishonor. Romeo gladly makes way for Juliet to be in power and rise with an inner strength.

Yet when the pressures of society begin to weigh down upon them, Romeo and Juliet succumb and attempt to fit back into their traditional gender roles. Romeo accuses Juliet of making him soft and losing his manhood: “O sweet Juliet. / Thy beauty hath made me effeminate, / And in my temper soft’ned valor’s steel!” (3.1.113-115). He involves himself in a fight to the death in order to defend his murdered friend Mercutio as well as his honor as a man, which leads to his banishment and the tragic turn of the play. In succumbing to his male self, he increases in his rash judgments and behavior, causing him to seek out a way to kill himself and others in his way to be with Juliet without realizing she was not yet dead. Juliet, in becoming submissive to Friar Lawrence’s plan and taking a potion that would make her seem dead in order to avoid the conflict of the marriage dispute between her parents, reverts back to a feminine role and surrenders to what others decide for her. In putting her trust and fate in someone’s hand other than herself, she creates an opening for disaster. In surrendering to the standard gender roles, the couple falls into an inescapable tragedy.

During their final moments, however, they revert back to their opposite roles. Romeo becomes very heartfelt and distraught at seeing his beloved lying cold in the tomb and takes his life with poison, a more passive feminine form of suicide. Juliet, upon seeing her husband’s dead body, stabs herself with a dagger in a violent and dominant manner that reflects masculinity. In death, they are reunited together forever successfully within their unconventional roles that defy society.

Romeo and Juliet

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I wrote this for my Shakespeare class last semester and thought I’d share it with anyone interested in reading it.

The Madness and Masculinity of Lady Macbeth

Bloodthirsty ambition and conquest run rampant in William Shakespeare’s violent play, The Tragedy of Macbeth. Success and the subsequent renown depend on the desire to strive for constant excellence and refuse defeat. There are no other settings in the works of this celebrated playwright that have a darker mood plagued by demons and witchcraft than in Macbeth’s Scotland.  Magic and malevolence infuse themselves inside the characters, inspiring deeds that cause a shudder to run through the soul. One of the most formidable characters responsible for the fatal consequences of the kingdom is the Lady Macbeth. In his psychological sketch, philosopher Robert Munro describes her as “the true Celtic type of woman… quick mind, a strong will, and a form beautiful as it was instinct with grace and animation” (Munro 30). She is a powerful ally to have by one’s side, terrible and fearless. In the male-dominated society which she is fully submerged, she recognizes that in order to be influential and successful she must destroy any part of her being that suggests her weaker femininity. Yet, as Lady Macbeth revokes her inherent nature, the unnatural desire of her self-masculinization inevitably leads to her demise.

From the moment she reads the letter of her husband with news of the witches’ cryptic prophecy declaring him to be the future king, Lady Macbeth becomes consumed by the goal to successfully bring it to reality. There is no room for a conscience in her mind or regard for anything outside of the plan.  She has a firm understanding of her husband’s personality and recognizes his weakness within: humanity. Deliberating with herself, she thinks of Macbeth and his potential in regard to what could come to pass: “Yet do I fear thy nature, / It is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness / To catch the nearest way” (Shakespeare 1.5.16-18). He has great ambition but tends to carry out his deeds “highly” and “holily,” without “playing false.” In her belief, to have a conscience is to fail. With wickedness is the only possible method to carry out the deed, for that is the only state of being Lady Macbeth truly and comfortably carries within her.  She resolutely asserts the importance of not straying from the purpose and seeks to counteract her husband’s shortcomings. Confident in her abilities, she hurries him home so she can guarantee the success: “That I may pour my spirits in thine ear, / And chastise with the valor of my tongue \ All that impedes thee from the golden round” (1.5. 26-28). From the moment Macbeth returns, she takes control of the situation in the superior position, directing the affairs and formulating the plan to murder King Duncan who will be visiting their castle. In doing so, she shifts the balance of masculine dominance and power to her favor.

The chilling revocation of Lady Macbeth’s female being gives further insight into her conflict of identity. With fervent passion, she invokes the spirits to eliminate her gender and anything of her that could attribute to weakness and failure for the approaching deed, replacing it with malice and cruelty. As Janet Adelman writes in her essay on “Fantasies of Maternal Power,” “[Lady Macbeth] imagines an attack on the reproductive passages of her body, on what makes her specifically female” (Adelman 111). The thickening of her blood and end to her menstrual cycle symbolize the halt of empathy associated with women and any forthcoming sweet nature that could possibly distract her from the task.  She calls the evil spirits to her breasts to take her milk for poison. Some scholars interpret this as the exchange of milk for poison, but others suggest it could signify the demons nursing at her breasts and finding already within them the poison (112). Extracting the representation of the ultimate feminine form of nurturance and replacing it with a deadly fluid takes away more than what makes her a woman. It takes away her very soul, leaving behind a frightening monster.

The dominating fearlessness of Lady Macbeth’s resolve to prove herself an equal in the world of men brings about a resolute inner strength that builds up and overflows onto her influence over other people, particularly her husband. Professor Bradley calls it an “inflexibility of will, which appears to hold imagination, feeling, and conscience completely in check” (Bradley 366). When Macbeth admits he is having second thoughts about murdering Duncan, she erupts and proceeds to question his very masculinity. In the militaristic society, threats of cowardice are a serious insult, particularly to Macbeth who was already admired for his prowess in battle.  Carrying out the murder and thus ensuring the crown becomes the only way she can accept him as a true man. “When you durst do it, then you were a man; / And to be more than what you were, you would / Be so much more the man” (Shakespeare 1.7.49-51). Her devotion to the deed evolves into obsession.

Lady Macbeth further denies her feminine nature by relating in horrific detail how she would even be able to kill her own child if she did not live up to what she had promised as he had. “I would, while it was smiling in my face, / Have pluck’d my nipple from his boneless gums, / And dash’d the brains out, had I so sworn as you / Have done to this” (1.7.56-59). Her choice of language is masculine in nature rather than the soft, supportive tones that would be deemed more acceptable of a woman as she continues with the persuasion. Rarely would a wife tell her husband to “screw [his] courage to the sticking place” (1.7.60). Robert Munro suggests, “She knew his strength and weaknesses, his hopes and fears, and with a skill that is almost demoniac, and too horrible to conceive as existing in a woman… she played upon his nature with as much ease as if she was fingering the strings of her native harp” (Munro 31). Surprised by her power and resolution, Macbeth marvels at her attitude and praises her dominance. Through the personal appeals, her force of will, and his admiration for her, she succeeds in convincing him to kill Duncan.

As time passes, the reader sees a slight shift in Lady Macbeth’s character. In Act Two, Scene two, she is emboldened by liquor also used to incapacitate the king’s chamberlains while the murder is carried out. A brief moment of doubt falls upon her as she wonders whether Macbeth could bring himself to do it, and she says, “Had he not resembled / My father as he slept, I had done’t” (2.2.12-13). The mention of her father is a glimpse of her humanity otherwise not shown. She does have a conscience and familial bond, even if those aspects are hidden deeply away.

When Macbeth returns from the chamber after the murders, her ruthless leadership and strength once again take charge in compensation for his anxious guilt. She asserts, “These deeds must not be thought / After these ways; so, it will make us mad” (2.2.30-31). It is counterproductive for worry about what has been done to overshadow their new lives as rulers. As the blood is washed away from their hands, she assures the washing away of their guilt. Bradley comments on Lady Macbeth’s choice to bury her humanity stating, “We find no trace of pity for the kind old king; no consciousness of the treachery and baseness of the murder; no sense of the value of the lives of the wretched men on whom the quiet is to be laid; no shrinking even from the condemnation or hatred of the world” (Bradley 368). However, these feelings buried deep within her psyche do not have the ability to be hidden forever.

The emergence of Lady Macbeth in Act Three as queen continues the steady deterioration of her once fiery and merciless character. Gaining the throne did not bring the fulfillment she expected, especially at its price. Listlessness fills her as she sighs, “Nought’s had, all’s spent, \ Where our desire is got without content; / ‘Tis safer to be that which we destroy / Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy” (3.2.4-7). Macbeth has spiraled out of control, consumed with paranoia and delegating more murders to ensure the security of his status as king. His wife feels distanced when he no longer seeks her for advice, instead choosing to keep alone with his maddening thoughts. He brushes her aside, telling her it is not necessary for her to know all of his plans despite her desire to be involved. This makes it particularly difficult when he sees the vision of Banquo’s ghost at the feast and Lady Macbeth as the hostess must quickly rise and account for his delusional exclamations. Her once commanding presence is now reduced to a wife fruitlessly struggling to provide relief for a husband sinking deeper into destruction.

Without explanation, Lady Macbeth disappears from mention and does not re-appear until the final act. The woman that emerges is a shell, tormented by the guilt that finally plunges her into madness. Munro believes it is caused by her brooding too long over the singular idea of gaining and keeping power as well as “being thrown too much on her own company” (Munro 32). Much to the concern of doctors, she would wander the corridors, holding a candle and wringing her hands in an attempt to wash away the imaginary blood from her ill-fated crime. Her unconscious verbal confession comes forth as a testament to the futility of burying such a crime. In the end, the torment consumes her to the point where the only way to escape is to take her own life. The fall of Lady Macbeth is a chilling example of how suppressing one’s true nature will inevitably lead to ruin.

Works Cited

Adelman, Janet. “’Born of Woman’: Fantasies of Maternal Power in Macbeth.” Shakespearean Tragedy and Gender. Eds. Shirley Nelson Garner and Madelon Sprengnether. Bloomington and Indianapolis: IndianaUniversity Press, 1996. 104-134.

Bradley, Andrew C. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth. London: Macmillan and Co., 1952.

Munro, Robert. “Lady Macbeth: A Psychological Sketch.” The Journal of Speculative Philosophy. 21.1 (1887), 30-36. 17 April 2012 <http://www.jstor.org/stable/25668126&gt;.

Shakespeare, William. “The Tragedy of Macbeth.” The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd Ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997. 1360-1387.

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