Lady Macbeth’s Poison

In Shakespeare’s Tragedy Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is the strongest force of evil. Although Macbeth carries out the regicide and subsequent bloodshed, we are reminded of his reluctance when he asserts, “If chance will have me King, why chance may crown me without my stir.”

Macbeth possessed grandiose delusions yet harbored little organic intent of committing acts of Treason to achieve it.

It was Lady Macbeth that coalesced Macbeth’s imagination into a harrowing and damning reality.

Macbeth would have proved most royal [just like Hamlet would have] had Certain Things Gone Differently, [but that’s a debate of Fate Vs. Self-Will].

Lady Macbeth manipulates Macbeth to the hilt. She ridicules his lack of masculinity [after coming back bravely from battle with heaps of honors: go figure].

Lady Macbeth makes the utterly shocking mind-boggling comment how she would dash the brains out of her own child before she would act as emasculated as she deemed Macbeth to be in showing hesitation with the murder of King Duncan: {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}.

Henceforth, we get a sense that this woman harbors a malevolent and dangerously determined sense of ambition all her own. Lady Macbeth corrupts “The noblest [{not} Roman] of them all.”

Think back to the outset; when the sergeant lauds Macbeth’s bravery in battle: “Brave Macbeth, well he deserves that name.” Macbeth was doing great; everything was peachy, but two major things went awry:

One; meeting the, “weird sisters.”

Two; writing his infamous & prophetic letter to Lady Macbeth which consequently fed her gormandized thirst for the crown.

The “weird sisters” were certainly a legitimate force of evil, but Macbeth had the sense to put regicide into perspective; even after his mind roams to regal aspirations he concedes, “I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent.”

He even sternly commands Lady Macbeth that he has decided not to go through with the bloody deed. e.g. We will proceed no further in this business.

He wants to enjoy his new title that he rightfully earned, basking in his new honors; but Lady Macbeth is resolute in her wickedness to pollute his mind with her plethoras of perniciousness.

Macbeth knows no way to defend against Lady Macbeth’s derision and mockery. She knows how Macbeth’s mind operates “to the ‘T’” and she knows exactly which buttons to push; he is utterly helpless against her stinging upbraidings and falls victim to her cunningly persuasive rhetoric {who dares receive it other as we shall make our griefs and clamour roar upon his death}.

Lady Macbeth knows her power over him full well and shakes his resolve like the consummate temptress she is {just as Eve tempted Adam and caused the fall of man}.

She is the Serpent hidden under Macbeth’s very nose, and once bitten; there is no antidote.

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Coriolanus


“We had rather be the oppressor than the oppressed.”—William Hazlitt

A pot of boiling water will only boil for so long until it spills over. People only withstand being abused for so long until they take a stand. “There’s no more to be said but he [Coriolanus] is banish’d, as enemy to the people and his country. It shall be so.”

Coriolanus was a brilliant warrior and defended his country brilliantly, yet he had no respect for the common people. He had much pride in himself and to an extent rightly so; but Coriolanus took it too far.

He saw the people as weak fickle minds and not as citizens of the country he loved and fought for; Rome. He didn’t understand or appreciate the value of offering even the slightest sense of cordiality; this is what engendered his strife. He failed to realize that:

Pride is an ugly canker that eats up all the rosy joys of victory.

Brutus and Sicinius, two tribunes who were fed up with Coriolanus’ pride, incite Coriolanus into a tirade which ultimately results in his banishment; a cautionary tale in regards to the importance of the virtue temperance.

In reflective solitude, Coriolanus offers the poignant remark, “I shall be loved when I am lacked.” A sentiment that we all hope rings true when we make our final departure.

Although Coriolanus isn’t humble in any sense of the word, I do admire that Coriolanus is genuine with us. He doesn’t disguise how he truly feels; he puts his philosophy out there for each to discern, and that takes courage.

He was not a tyrant trying to make others his pawns; he fought bravely on the front lines and defended his country successfully at Corioli; earning the magnanimous title of Coriolanus. He may have talked the talk but he had the battle scars and accolades to back it up, yet he was cocky and fell victim to pride.

The tribunes knew Coriolanus’ and the peoples’ disposition to the letter; exactly which buttons to push, and they manipulate the way to their objective with a masterly prowess all their own.

It is the tribunes’ politics of manipulating the already frustrated commonalty for their own partisan agenda that makes Coriolanus’ world so ripe for tragedy.

Rome would have been in a world of hurt if a mediocre soldier, that, [contrarily to Coriolanus], flattered the people, replaced our tragic hero.

Part of the tragedy of this play lies in that even after Coriolanus is banished and afterwards defects to the Volsces, he ultimately presents a strong case for redemption by signing an official Truce, preventing the ruin & destruction of his native homeland, saving the very people that turned their back on him.

Coriolanus is murdered as Aufidius deemed this [Truce] humiliating to his army and all that he stood for.

Why is Coriolanus our tragic hero?

The people of Rome turned their back on Coriolanus, but he, in the end, refused to turn his back on them.

Homo-Erotic Desire In “The Two Gentleman of Verona”

Critic Harold Bloom shows much frustration that, “Everything is amiss in the Two Gentlemen,” and that, “Shakespeare could not of cared less,” [about this comedy]. I attribute this sentiment not to Shakespeare’s writing but to Bloom’s superficial interpretation of it.

The most colossal mistakes of interpretation come at the end of the play; two lines which baffle most critics; spoken by Valentine to Proteus:

“And that my love may appear plain and free, all that was mine in Silvia I give thee.”

Most take this to mean Valentine is offering his lover Silvia to Proteus. Looking at the lines closer, while keeping Shakespeare’s typical bawdy undertones in mind, Valentine isn’t offering Silvia to Proteus; he’s offering himself to Proteus!

After all, wouldn’t he consider his mentula something that certainly was [his]…which was “INSilvia, that he could “GIVE” to Proteus. And what would make Julia swoon more than her Proteus perhaps looking into Valentine’s eyes, sharing a moment of homo-erotic desire!

Notwithstanding, some critics also have a problem with a line that Proteus later says:

“What is in Silvia ‘s face, but I may spy more fresh in Julia’s, with a constant eye?”

Bloom refers to this as, “Proteus’ Pragmatism,” drawing a shallow conclusion that Proteus feels like, “Any woman will do as well as another.” This is the exact opposite of Proteus’ meaning.

Proteus [finally] sees that beauty is amplified by faithfulness and mitigated in its absence, expressing this in a kind of epiphany, insinuating a metamorphosis from ficklety to loyalty.

Childishness and Foolishness in King Lear

When we look at the play King Lear, it includes much childishness and foolishness. The two terms at first glance seem to be the same thing, and although they are similar, they are not the same. Childishness is concerned with relying on a maternal figure; a lack of independence coupled with a self-conciousness towards mistakes when consequences appear. Foolishness {as defined by dictionary.com} is, “lacking forethought or [lacking] caution.”

At the outset, King Lear acts with a consummate foolishness by disinheriting the only daughter who truly loves him and leaving the rest to the odious pair hight Goneril and Regan. Cordelia acts foolishly when she refuses to tell her father how much she truly loves him. It loses her share of the kingdom and sends the whole land into havoc giving her malevolent sisters free reign against their most venerable father. 

As the play wears on we see King Lear consumed by a destructive kind of childishness. He has lost his independence and seems to be searching for some kind of consolement for his mistake against his young and True daughter Cordelia; this has consequently left him out in the cold raging against a terrible tempest of the elements. The fool in a certain sense takes on a maternal role to Lear (offering his guidance and support along the old man’s heartbreaking journey) [ironically it is almost certain that the role of Cordelia was doubled by the Fool]. Just like a mother, the Fool is never afraid to tell it like it is. He never leaves Lear’s side till his mysterious departure at the end of Act Three.

Although Lear’s initial mistake was indeed foolishness, yet his downfall is indeed prompted by utmost childishness. When Lear is reunited with Cordelia at the end of Act Four, King Lear speaks like a helpless child, “You must bear with me; pray you now, forget and forgive: I am…foolish.” He pleads in the name of forgiveness & second chances [a basic principle of teaching our children] for he realizes that he has her so much wrong:

“For, as I am a man, I think this lady

To be my child, Cordelia.”

consequently Cordelia in turn speaks, just like a mother, with tenderest consolation:

“And so I am; I am.”

King Lear shows what can happen when we live so long; our minds can make children out of old men.

As F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote:

I think, right there and then, she realized none of us is perfect forever

{Cordelia}

Character Analysis! Proteus from “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”

In the Two Gentlemen of Verona, Proteus proves true to his namesake. Mythologically, he is the god of changeability, being likened to water which can easily change its shape. Initially Proteus is smitten with Julia, then, after visiting Milan, he becomes infatuated with Silvia, which makes me wonder whether if he were to travel more during his time abroad, would he forget about her too? Proteus seems confused and doesn’t understand why his strong feelings for Julia have changed so much so fast. He reasons: one nail by strength drives out another so the remembrance of my former love is by a newer object quite forgotten. 

Proteus’ grasp on the complexities of love appears painfully primitive, yet corresponds with his naiveté of youth & immaturity. When he says that eating love, inhabits in the finest wits of all, I can’t help but think of the obvious vulgarity that could be interpreted.

Proteus is exploring not only love but sexuality as well. The latter takes a predominance in the priorities of youth.

If I was going to explain to Proteus why his feelings for Julia have faded into a shade of lack-lustre hueI might mention something to the effect of…when you’re in different locales, there’s one obvious thing that’s painfully impossible to perform; need I say more.

Sonnet no.116 teaches us to stay the course, Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the edge of doom. In other words, true love is not Protean in nature.

We witness his cruel betrayal of his best friend, Valentine, as he exposes his and Sylvia’s plot of eloping; disclosing their escape to her stern and disciplinary father.

According to Proteus, winning Silvia outweighs losing Valentine; romantic love at the expense of friendship is a sacrifice that he is willing to make. This tells us a lot about Proteus’ character & maturity; Aiming at Silvia as a sweeter friend. Quid pro quo, this for that.

What Proteus finally realizes is that the disloyalty he showed {to both his best friend and Julia back home} was an unattractive quality which would repel any desirable mate. Also, when showing interest in someone, to assume that that person will without fail return those same sentiments back, seems to me to suggest either extreme credulity or superfluous vanity. Silvia’s disgust at his incessant and uninvited pursuits, incites him to threaten to woo her like a soldier. Thankfully Valentine steps forward and prevents this from happening.

Nevertheless, the sophomoric solutions to Proteus’ seemingly never-ending obstacles he creates for himself throughout this crazy adventure leaves me feeling confident that Proteus has much to learn:

about the world; about himself.

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The Speech That Sums It All Up In “The Two Noble Kinsmen”

If the epilogue to the Tempest is Shakespeare’s official farewell to the theatre, then the last speech of TTNK (not including the epilogue strongly presumed to be authored by Fletcher) is Shakespeare’s ultimate farewell of farewells; it is likely that, other than his will, it is the last thing he wrote. It is a speech that ranks as one of the most momentous in the canon as it summarizes one of the most profound and ultimate truths life:  the inherennt uncertainty & vicissitudinousness of fortune. It is render’d in poetic terms unmatch’d by any:

[5.4 lines 123-136] A day or two

Let us look sadly, and give grace unto

The funeral of Arcite, in whose end

The visages of bridegrooms we’ll put on

And smile with Palamon; for whom an hour,

But one hour since, I was as dearly sorry

As glad of Arcite; and am now as glad

As for him sorry. O you heavenly charmers,

What things you make of us! For what we lack,

We laugh, for what we have, are sorry; still

Are children in some kind. Let us be thankful

For that which is, and with you, leave dispute

That are above our question. Let’s go off,

And bear us like the time.

I think it’s heartwarming to note that the last speech Shakespeare ever wrote leaves us with the Bard’s impression of what it means to be truly grateful for our lives. Shakespeare certainly realized that he had lived an incredible life and here two years before his death, he promulgates his gratitude: “Let us be thankful for that which is, and,…leave dispute that are above our question.”

What a beautiful paradigm for us to live by as we navigate through this crazy adventure we call life; continuing to discover and re-discover what it means to be human. We thank you so very much, William Shakespeare, Sweet Swan of Avon!

Hamlet is a Complex Character; jeeze looeeze

When you peel the layers of Hamlet’s character, you find flashes of genius intertwined with indifference, madness, and ruinous rashness. His advice to the players is dead on. The moment where he confides in his close friend Horatio, give me that man that is not passions slave and I will wear him in my heart’s core, ay, in my heart of heart, as I do thee gives us wonderful insight into the virtues of friendship and temperance. He sheds light on how we as humans are led by our passions which very often lead us down dangerous paths. Hamlet asserts, there’s a divinity that shapes our ends; rough-hew them how we will. God guiding our destiny, with us having an equal share of power, and us mortals oft acting carelessly with monumental decisions. This carelessness we [often unconsciously] perform can often make us feel powerless and indifferent to our own existence. Hamlet feels crippled by the lack of influence & control he has on his own life. He loses all his mirth and refers to Denmark as a prison; akin to loathing, as opposed to embracing the vicissitudes of life, he is much too complacent to change. Such a tragically stubborn soul is Hamlet. His mind is infatuated with revenge; revenge for his father’s murder. He is in love with the idea of killing King Claudius, but not actually killing him. He makes excuses at every turn; even when having the perfect opportunity; e.g. Claudius on his knees praying. Hamlet was not resolute. Hamlet promises to the Ghost, “thy commandment all alone shall live within the book and volume of my brain unmix’d with baser matter,” yet this conflicts with his very own paradigm that, “conscience doth make cowards of us all.”

Hamlet can’t prove to anyone that Claudius killed his father, yet Hamlet still vexes the King’s conscience to such a fever-pitch that the King feels like he has no choice but to kill Hamlet off by his own devices. But, even when he gets back from being held captive at sea, he still delays; and delays; and then delays some more…

It’s not till Hamlet realizes that he’s going to die from the poisoned foil, and that it’s now or never that he then does what we all thought he could never do; act. Hamlet’s madness was fueled by nervous energy incited as a byproduct of being privy to the real truth of his father’s murder. He couldn’t act normally knowing what he knew. It weighed on his mind to the point of paralyzation. He over-thought or didn’t think at all but rarely a happy medium.

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.

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.