6/03/2008

Pop-culture woman of the week - Lady Macbeth

Name: Lady Macbeth
Appearance: Macbeth (written circa 1603-1606)
Creator: William Shakespeare
Weapon/ability: Ambition
Race: Scottish nobles
Age: Adult

Lady Macbeth is one of the central characters of the play about the political struggle in Scotland in the Middle Ages. In short the story is about Macbeth who starts out as a rather noble man, but who is prophisied to commit regicide. This is much due to the ambitions of his wife, lady Macbeth. She can see no reason for her husband to hold back and urges him on to do what he can to get rid of those who stand between him and the Scottish throne.

After she has urged her husband to kill the Scottish king to himself take the throne he has lost most of his more humane traits and does no longer need his wife to tell him to do the dirty work necessary to keep holding on to the throne.

The play is a tragedy and to so utterly disregard common sense and moral means that you will pay your price for it. In the case of lady Macbeth this turns into something close to madness, she starts to walk in her sleep and imagines that she can see blood on her hands, the blood of innocent victims and no matter how hard she tries to wash it off it cannot be done. She even starts blaming herself for acts committed by her husband alone since she feel responsible for turning him into what he now is. At the end of the play she commits suicide (though it is not clear how).

The play was in all probability written as a tribute to James I of England at his ascension to the throne, which would explain the glorification of the ancestors of said king.

The painting shows Lady Macbeth taking the crown to place on her head, as she was portrayed by the English actress Ellen Terry and was painted by John Singer Sargent in 1889.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lady Macbeth is of course an excellent choice for the week – as the perfect impersonation of a guilt-ridden sleepwalker she stands alone. But also note the opera by Verdi, where the part (for dramatic/lyrical soprano) is difficult enough to require several days of lowering the voice (the "tessitura") in order to reach the dramatic range required. Perhaps a reason why Macbeth is rarely performed.
Chloe

DameBoudicca said...

Thanks for that bit of information - interesting and I had no idea of it!