10 Tragedies; 10 Dangers

Titus Andronicus; the Dangers of Revenge.

Romeo and Juliet; the Dangers of Forbidden Love.

Julius Caesar; the Dangers of Persuasion.

Hamlet; the Dangers of Doubt.

Othello; the Dangers of Jealousy.

Macbeth; the Dangers of Superstition.

King Lear; the Dangers of Wrath.

Antony and Cleopatra; the Dangers of Lust.

Coriolanus; the Dangers of Pride.

Timon of Athens; the Dangers of Money.

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Macbeth: an Embellished History! Part 1

If someone were to ask you if you knew the story of Macbeth, you might think someone was insulting your intelligence, but the real story has been obscured by the riveting rendition by the Bard. Historically Macbeth’s wife actually had a reasonable claim to the throne as her grandfather had been King. Her grandfather, King Kenneth III, was killed by King Duncan’s grandfather in battle, and the Moray’s {Macbeth’s family line} had an inveterate rivalry with the Scottish Kings. Historically, King Duncan was not killed during an overnight sojourn with Macbeth but at the Battle of Pitgaveny. Shakespeare may have borrowed the idea of a lavish banquet coupled with an impending act of treachery from a legend regarding a golden apple and the Scottish King Kenneth II. It goes something like this: a highborn woman’s son had been sentenced to death by this King Kenneth the second; and because her son had justly deserved this punishment, the King didn’t suspect she would seek retaliation on him. But this was a malicious and vindictive woman who had in fact helped her son commit the murder which he was being sentenced for; moreover, the King didn’t suspect any retribution on the mother’s part was because the crime was actually committed against this woman’s own father. After the King carries out this sentence on her son, she then invites this King to visit her own dwelling for an extremely lavish banquet [perhaps flattering him for his Virtuous Justice]. Knowing the King’s taste for magnificence, after the end of this great feast, she leads him to an adjoining room glazed in copper, with flowers, marvelous imported furniture, rich tapestries interwoven with gold, and also a majestic bronze statue of the very King himself holding a glimmering gem-laden golden apple. They stood in front of the statue admiring all of its intricate detail until she told him that the golden apple was a gift for him. She walks away at this point pretending to admire a tapestry in the corner; and he, brimming with joy and gloating over his lavish gift, takes the glimmering apple into his hand…and BOOM! It sets off a hidden contraption she had built into the statue, imparting multiple lethal wounds all over his body. Her retribution for her son is satisfied. Shakespeare chooses to make the Macbeths’ motive for murder ambition rather than revenge, yet by incorporating the device of offering hospitality as an accomplice to one’s odious intentions, he emphasizes the theme of deception, a recurring theme in the tragedies. After Macbeth’s death in 1057, it was actually his wife’s son Lulach {his stepson} that inherited the crown, but because he was ambushed shortly thereafter by Malcolm, who was then coronated and reigned for over thirty years, Shakespeare chose to excise that detail. Although Shakespeare paints Macbeth’s reign as brief and full of strife, his time as King was primarily stable, and the lengthy seventeen year reign he enjoyed should not be abridged out of his life’s story. Reserved for Kings held in high regard, he was buried in the anointed ground of Iona.

Socrates, Mark Antony and Brutus 

444 “I shall prove indeed that I am not a clever speaker in any way at all–unless, indeed, by a clever speaker they mean a man who speaks the truth.”–Socrates

Mark Antony: “I am no orator…I only speak right on. I tell you that which you yourselves do know.” [truth]

Every man has his own truth. As intellectual beings that is the paradoxical nature of the meaning of truth. Reason, as a rule, is the fundamental path on how we attain our truth. But every man has a different perception of the world. How do we attain the Truth as opposed to a truth allied to a man’s partialities? Perception is where truth meets roadblocks, and the only way to avoid those roadblocks are to look at things without bias. Well that, for many reasons isn’t possible, yet if we aim to not differentiate between things we are merely shrouded in ignorance. So it has to be that we must look at things from every perspective and cross-reference our observations; it seems a more reasonable route to obtaining what we are looking for; yet our inherently fallible nature prevents us from seeing Truth absolute. That’s why there’s no such thing as error, only lessons in humanity:

there’s a divinity that shapes our ends; rough-hew them how we will.

Foremost we must learn to forgive ourselves.

to err is human. forgive; Divine.


 

Another Mistake of Macbeth’s

In Macbeth one of the recurring themes is the relationship between what is perceived and what is real. Macbeth is duped into believing he can get away with murder. Macbeth doesn’t kill the King over any animosity towards him, but rather because of mounting pressure heaped on him by his wife, Lady Macbeth. She relentlessly goads her husband to act, chastising his manhood. Macbeth can’t handle having his manhood called into question by the woman who shares his bed. Consequently this pride of his vexes him much. He’s in limbo; either backing out [impugning his valor] or having his conscience tormented into a state of fear and paranoia. Shakespeare penned the maxim, “conscience does make cowards of us all.” Although Hamlet was written four years prior, Macbeth got that memo a day late and a dollar short. Remembering back to when Macbeth ponders, “if chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me without my stir,” here he actually makes a very intuitive revelation that could of saved him; but not long after this, he writes home with regal aspirations without realizing that such a promise was made to someone whose modus operandi dangerously lingers, “to catch the nearest way.” Lady Macbeth is an ultimate distorter of reality to Macbeth. She corrupts everything that is noble in him. She is unlike her husband who “would’st thou holily.” She makes Macbeth perceive that killing the meek and virtuous King Duncan is a good idea. Shakespeare was teaching the lesson that even if you are able to carry out the perfect crime, you cannot preserve a perfect conscience after the act. Macbeth laments how his mind has become “full of scorpions” and Lady Macbeth ends up abandoning her husband in suicide. Macbeth’s kingship was at no point secure, and the weird sisters had even indicated that after Macbeth’s reign no issue of his would ever rule Scotland; a point that Macbeth should have certainly considered much more thoroughly beforehand. Macbeth realizes too late indeed that, “to be thus is nothing,” and he became both: thus [King] and then nothing.