Macbeth’s Impatience and The Witches Goading

Macbeth is a man who wants something he cannot properly have.

If he was ever to become King legitimately, (had he refrained from his crime), maybe his “grapes would have ripened.” But as it stood in this story, they turned out to be as sour as his reign.

If grapes can stand as a metaphor for attaining the crown, the mischievous witches were dangling sour grapes in front of a starving foxe’s face to mislead him into thinking there was a satisfying snack in store; unfortunately the fox couldn’t distinguish between ripe and unripe ones; still jumping for them, he ate them and was shown that they were nasty, sour & unsatisfying.

As he was distracted trying to swallow these gross grapes which struggled to go down his throat, he fell into a trap and eventually starved.

Figuratively speaking, this is what happened to Macbeth; what Macbeth saw looked like tasty fruit; it just didn’t turn out to be. He might have become a great king and certainly had hope of that, but it wasn’t his time yet. Macbeth embraced enthusiastically his future as King but ultimately failed to acknowledge the fact that he was abundantly lost in delusion and in a state of utter “unripeness.”

After falling for the witches deceitful promises, Macbeth embraces the idea of attaining something he cannot properly have. He was tricked into procuring his own downfall through the stimulation of ambition for something out of his reach; The Weird Sisters knew his credulity for matters superstitious as a “foregone conclusion,” & from this he wasn’t level-headed enough to eschew it.

Naive and subsequently evil; just plain evil.

Advertisements

Thoughts Vs. Action in Hamlet’s Character

The idea that thought prompts action is pretty simplistic and universal, but it hinges on the assumption that your thoughts are aligned with your psyche.

When thoughts and inclinations collide we oft take the most comfortable route neglecting what the consequences are and make a less than optimal decision.

In order to execute perfect [biblical] revenge, there has to be the paradigm of An Eye For An Eye; A Tooth For A Tooth in operative motion.

Hamlets thoughts concerning retaliation require an element of self-righteous equivocation in order to coalesce into Action.

When a simple & plain man thinks, he uses his reason and understands & acknowledges the consequences of his behavior:

Hamlet is the opposite; he doesn’t give weight to consequences. He lusts for revenge in his mind but little in action.

When he stabs through the arras, he, {apparently}, does so without knowing whom was behind it; perhaps to diminish the chances of a [possible] Treason charge, {if it were King Claudius hiding behind that curtain}; or perhaps to prevent an escape by [the] surmised spy & eavesdropper.

Whatever the case may be, what Hamlet fails to realize:

even if it turned out to be a man other than The King behind the arras, that man’s son would want to avenge that murder just as much as he wants to avenge his fathers.

This rashness of Hamlet’s was his downfall.

Hamlet had the intention of killing The King, yet failed to understand the inherent complexities of stabbing through a concealed barrier; consequently, Laertes gets his revenge.

As Horatio says when all is said and done:

Purposes Mistook Fallen On The Inventors’ Heads.

Macbeth And Time

The word ‘time’ is used frequently in The Tragedy of Macbeth, and everything about timing seems to disfavor our title character.

He suspects that time is not on his side, “time thou anticipat’st my dread exploits.” Macbeth’s perspective is initially scewed after becoming Thane of Cawdor when told first-hand The Weïrd SistersProphecy.

Macbeth’s expectations become unrealistically ingrained because of his precarious timing.

The hint of accession to The Thane of Cawdor materializing immediately after The Witches‘ foreboding, made him accustomed to instant gratification in matters most dangerous; gaining the throne. The Insidious Sisters knew if they could gain his trust, they could cause him to act without discretion.

Macbeth ends up putting his faith in The Witches, sealing his own fate.

He shows how easily we can jump wrongly to a big conclusion when just a modicum of manipulation is excercised; especially when we are at our most vulnerable.

Wisdom from the Fool

“I marvel what kin thou and thy daughters are. They’ll have me whipped for speaking true, thou’lt have me whipped for lying, and sometimes I am whipped for holding my peace.”

The fool illuminates the truth here that with some people we are always the bad guy:

Saying the truth; they consider it not our place to speak.

Lying; we’re a lowlife.

Saying nothing; we’re somehow a co-conspirator as guilty as the culprit!

Before making the decision to argue, we needs must ask whether we will be made wrong no matter what, and considering that observation; avoidance may prove best; putting pride and blame aside helps work towards a lasting solution.

The fool notices how people have an insatiable desire to always be right; however being right doesn’t prove beneficial, unless it leads to reconciliation; and the rub of all this is, that, when someone actually is in the right, they tend to flout this with an egotistical scorn engendering hate and resentment. This in turn sabatoges any chance of moving forward; heating animosity and spite which can only be relieved with humility, understanding, forgiveness & love.

How Hamlet Defines What it Means to be Human Part. 2

Shakespeare’s contemporary Montaigne writes, in his essay, “Of The Inconsistency Of Our Actions,” that, “Whoever will look narrowly into his own bosom will hardly find himself twice in the same condition. I give to my soul sometimes one face and sometimes another, according to the side I turn her to. If I speak variously of myself, it is because I consider myself variously; all the contraries are there to be found in one corner or another; after one fashion or another: bashful, insolent; chaste, lustful; prating, silent; laborious, delicate; ingenious, heavy; melancholic, pleasant, lying, true; knowing, ignorant; liberal, covetous, and prodigal: I find all this in myself, more or less, according as I turn myself about; and whoever will sift him to the bottom, will find in himself, and even in his own judgement, this volubility and discordance.” These contraries are most prevalent in our title character throughout Shakespeare’s monumental tragedy. So much so, in fact, that more is written on Hamlet than almost any other subject in existence.

We witness Hamlet’s melancholic side when he says of his mourning black attire, “I have that indeed which passes show, these but the trappings and the suits of woe.”

We see his creative side when he contrives a scheme to expose the king’s treachery, boldly resolving, “The play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.”

We see his charming and affable side when he greets the players come to town, jovially remarking, “You are welcomemasters; welcome, allI am glad to see thee wellWelcome, good friends.”

His abusive side is made evident through Ophelia’s confiding to her father that Hamlet, “took me by the wrists and held me hard.”

His conflictive nature is apparent when he denies loving Ophelia, scolding her and claiming, “not I, I never gave you aught,” then later professes, “I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers could not with all their quantity of love make up my sum.”

We see a satirical side to Hamlet with Polonius in the “words, words, words” scene, when he conjures the sarcastic response, “Yourself, sir, shall grow old as I am, if like a crab you could go backward.”

We also see a gentle and kind side to Hamlet. In his private conversation with his loyal friend Horatio; he eloquently confides his admiration, “Give me that man that is not passion’s slave, and I will wear him in my heart’s core, ay, in my heart of hearts, as I do THEE.”

We even see his cruel side; as in the closet scene with Gertrude. He rails at her with a hateful ferocity that vexes her so deeply, she desperately pleads to the son that she so dearly loves, “O speak to me no more; these words like daggers enter in my ears. No more, sweet Hamlet.”

We are as varied within ourselves as the snowflakes that in winter fall. Hamlet is a man of contraries, and so are all of us; some more than others. He exemplifies the multi-faceted nature of humankind, showing our inherently dynamic essence.

We know what we are but not what we may be.”

Hamlet and Ourselves

Melancholy possesses Hamlet in a way that makes us feel he must have been very close with his father; although he doesn’t mention any specifics regarding their time together, he does give us a glimpse into how hard this loss hits him:

“I have that within which passes show, these but the trappings and the suits of woe.”

Hamlet is telling us that what he feels is something beyond what can be demonstrated. Perhaps he is bitter because he never got to say a final goodbye, or maybe he is struck by the thought of never seeing his father’s living face again:

“I shall not look upon his like again.”

Whatever it is, the young Hamlet we meet in this play is a much different one than the one we might have met in Wittenberg.

Hamlet shuts down; he gives up school, [forgoes] “all customs of exercises,”& becomes a murderer.

If by chance Hamlet were to survive the action of the play and be tried for the murder of Claudius and Polonius, his defense would be laughable.

This play serves as a cautionary tale that when we suffer “outrageous fortune” we need to pause and consider our next course of action, before we become a version of ourselves that we don’t recognize.

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.

Love’s Labour’s Won, not lost after all? You decide.

It has been generally accepted that Love’s Labour’s Won is The Bard’s lost comedy. Although I acknowledge this theory as a reasonable possibilty, I do not believe it to be the case. Love’s Labour’s Won was first mentioned by the minister Francis Meres in his Palladis Tamia pamphlet published in 1598, subtitled: Wits Treasury. He lists twelve plays in total, five of which, for relevance sake, I will name; listed in this order they are: The Comedy Of Errors, Love’s Labours Lost, Love’s Labour’s Won, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Merchant Of Venice. The only play out of these five unfamiliar to Shakespeare’s canon is Love’s Labour’s Won. If we look at the plot of its companion, Love’s Labour’s Lost, we understand how its title is appropriate; at its conclusion, all of the gentlemen’s efforts, including The King Of Navarre, to woo and win their ladies do in fact fail, and their Labour has been Lost

Concerning the supposed lost play, my opinion, which is shared by others, including Gregory Dolan of the RSC, is that Love’s Labour’s Won & Much Ado About Nothing are the same play. In 2:1 of Much Ado, carefully scan what Don PedroThe Prince Of Arragon declares to his companions. He says, “I will in the interim undertake one of Hercules Labours, which is, to bring Signior Benedick and Lady Beatrice into a mountain of affection the one with the other.” Not only is the actual word Labours used but it’s used in the context of pursuing the goal of causing two people to fall in Love; which in the end, if we read Much Ado, we find out ends up being Won. Add to that the fact that the most famous part of the Hercules Legend, especially in Shakespeare’s time, was the triumph of his twelve Grueling Labour’s; which to draw another parallel, the Love between Benedick and Lady Beatrice isn’t achieved with ease, but with persistent effort.

The quarto copy of Much Ado, printed in 1600, mentions on the title page to have been acted many times before. If we take this into consideration and compare it to other quartos such as King Lear, published in 1608 and generally accepted to have been written in 1605, we get a three year window, putting a likely composition date for the potential LLW as 1597. LLL first recorded performance was at Court on Christmas in 1597 for Queen Elizabeth. The two comedies likely being written together, the “sequel” being performed subsequently forthwith, is reasonable evidence that Francis Meres would have been acquainted enough with the play we know as Much Ado in time to list it in his Wits Treasury when published in 1598 and catalogued with the Stationer’s Register September 7th.

It’s also important to point out that The Merchant Of Venice [mentioned among the five plays I named as listed in the Palladis Tamia] was published in quarto the same year as Much Ado [1600], making it reasonable to deduce that Much Ado was extant in performance around the same time as Merchant; taking this liklihood into account, because both Merchant and LLW are specified on the same list and there is no mentioning of a Much Ado About Nothing leaves the possibility that Meres’ reference to LLW was the play we know as Much Ado.

Given the tremendous success of Much Ado, as well as its popularity and critical acclaim, it seems inconceivable Meres would excise the play from his list of The Bard’s best, leaving us to deduce that he did in fact include it in his list but recorded it under an alternate title.

It’s important to note that this wouldn’t be the only time an alternate title would be used for one of Shakespeare’s plays. Henry VIII was also known as All Is True, Twelfth Night as What You Will, not to mention that the quarto of King Henry VI Part II, published in 1594, was titled without even mentioning King Henry, being labeled as The First Part Of The Contention.

Now I want to call your attention to The First Folio of 1623; if we suppose that The Much Ado About Nothing we know today is, in fact, Love’s Labour’s Won, and if we take the five plays in the Palladis Tamia that I initially mentioned, beginning with The Comedy Of Errors and ending with The Merchant Of Venice, The SAME FIVE plays are grouped ALL TOGETHER in The FF of 1623; almost in the Exact Same OrderErrors is first on page 85, then Much Ado/LLW on page 101, then LLL on page 122, then Midsummer on page 145, and then finally Merchant on page 163. If Much Ado/LLW was printed successive to LLL instead of Errors, the order would be identical. If we consider LLL and LLW two plays written together, primarily to complement their contrasting conclusions, and we don’t dwell on which one is sequel to the other, then these five, for all practical purposes, are printed in the same order found in Francis Meres’ Palladis Tamia.

Lost play? OR… Have we had it all along?! What do Y’ALL think?! Maybe sleep on it? Anyways, that’s all I have for now. Thanks for reading, and REMEMBER TO MAKE IT A BARDTASTIC DAY!