Indeed, the Caesarean birth represents, I would argue, a conquest over the maternal body which otherwise threatens to consume the precious offspring. In so doing, it likewise comes to represent the preservation of the patrilineage itself. The issue of matricide has special significance in Macbeth, a play which resolves patrilineal crisis through the at times violent deaths of mothers.
Indeed, the fate of mothers in general seems problematic within a play struggling with the issue of patrilineal survival. Duncans wife is long dead, consigning the care of her sons to a father and king who, as Janet Adelman has noted, becomes the source of all nurturance, planting the children to his throne and making them grow , Macduff, of course, owes his life to the surgeon who literally rips him from his mothers suffocating grasp, to borrow again from Adelman. It is he, not Macbeth, who leads a charmd life 5. Macduff s mother is not, of course, the only maternal figure killed off to protect a threatened line.
Lady Macduff, Macduff s sad, abandoned wife, is also killed within the play to motivate Macduff into taking the kind of action necessary to defeat the murderous Macbeth: to breathe new life, if you will, into a dying Scotland.
Upon learning of his wife and childrens violent murders, Macduff initially registers a stunned, immobilized disbelief:. All my pretty ones? Did you say all? O hell-kite! What, all my pretty chickens and their dam At one fell swoop? While it is true that Macduff abandons his wife and children to seek support for Scotland, their deaths constitute a necessary incitement to action.
Only when Malcolm reminds this grieving husband and father that he must dispute it [their deaths] as a man 4. Then there is, of course, Lady Macbeth.
In many respects her violent death at the conclusion of an equally violent reign of terror constitutes justice. That she who is the author of such social and political strife should perish at her own blood-stained, now suicidal hands seems appropriate given her involvement in Duncans death as well as in Macbeths cataclysmic fall from grace. That these sullied hands render Lady Macbeth incapable of redemption appears appropriate given her own calculated brutality against family and state.
In many respects the death of this infanticidal mother helps bring about the re-unification of Duncans scattered progeny, enabling, in turn, the fulfillment of the witches prophecy that heirs of the ill-fated Banquo will be kings. As such, Lady Macbeths death preserves life even as her own slips away. Punishment for those convicted of infanticide in early modern England was most often accomplished through hanging.
Yet whether a convicted mother faced this dire sentence depended upon her demeanor during the trial. Marilyn Francus notes that early modern women who presented narratives of female weaknesses, ignorance, fallibility, and repentant virtue were acquitted [. Conversely,the rebellious infanticidal mother.
Indeed, confessions of guilt tacit or otherwise yielded control to an early modern patriarchy anxious about mothers roles in the transmission of patrilineage. That Lady Macbeth dies unrepentant, unable either to wash clean the murderous hands that helped secure Macbeths unlawful succession nor to yield the agency which enabled her crime speaks to a guilt which cannot be absolved. Her solitary, anti-climactic death, unmourned either by Macbeth or his society, becomes apt punishment for the havoc Lady Macbeths infanticidal fantasy wreaks upon the social and political order.
Janet Adelman has observed that the play that begins by unleashing the terrible threat of destructive maternal power [. The demonized maternal agency which enables the murder of patrilineage is by plays end supplanted by a revitalized, if altered political authority. Malcolm succeeds to his fathers usurped throne as the descendents of Banquos line eye their future patrilineal succession. Indeed, its not only the fear of being shamed before the community that led so many early modern men to steer clear of the cuckolds horns, but that they must ultimately call as their own anything their wives brought forth.
While such mandatory name identification was a means by which to reduce the poor roll, it also conceivably resulted in a form of empowerment for mothers. For a good discussion of early modern childbirth, see Cressy Married women, as Jankowski has noted, were less likely to be prosecuted for infanticide than were unmarried women, the rationale being that because there was no need to disguise pregnancy, there would be less reason to murder newborn infants While unmarried mothers of the lower class constituted a threat to the economic well-being of the community, those of the middle and upper classes threatened patrilineage.
In her discussion of Shakespeares Juliet from Measure for Measure, Korda notes that she violates the cultural trust in having thrown away the jewel of her patrimony , Warnicke suggests that Henry considered a miscarriage or stillbirth an ill omen for his kingdom as well as for his dynasty Knights provocatively titled essay does not deal with the issue of Lady Macbeths maternal history, it does raise intriguing questions about absences within the text.
The specter of patrilineage and its impact on Macbeths succession scheme, I would argue, constitutes one of the more interesting absent presences within the text.
There are reports of early modern mothers surviving Caesarean sections. As BlumenfeldKosinki has noted, however, midwives were also expected to perform this procedure if they believed that the fetus could still be alive , 2. Works Cited Abrams, M. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: Norton. Adelman, Janet. Marjorie Garber. Selected Papers from the English Institute, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Stephanie Chamberlain. New York: Routledge. Aughterson, Kate, ed. Renaissance Woman: Constructions of Femininity in England. London: Routledge. The book of matrimony. London: Aughterson. Blake, William. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. New York: Abrams. Blumenfeld-Kosinski, Renate. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Burnett, Mark Thornton. The fiend-like Queen: Rewriting Lady Macbeth. Parergon Callaghan, Dympna. In Reconsidering the Renaissance, ed. Mario A. Di Cesare. Cleaver, Robert, and John Dod. A Godly Form of Household Government. STC Clinton, Elizabeth. The Countess of Lincolns Nursery.
Cockburn, J. London: Stationary Office Books. Cressy, David. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Travesties and Transgressions in Tudor and Stuart England. Di Cesare, Mario A. Reconsidering the Renaissance. Dolan, Frances E. Naomi J. Miller and Naomi Yavheh. Aldershot: Ashgate. William Shakespeare. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Erickson,Amy Louise. Women and Property in Early Modern England.
Fletcher, Anthony. Gender, Sex, and Subordination in England New Haven:Yale University Press.
Francus, Marilyn. EighteenthCentury Life Fraser, Antonia. New York:Vintage Books. Frye, Susan. Maternal Textualities. Miller, and Naomi Yavneh. Garber, Marjorie. Coming of Age in Shakespeare. Cannibals,Witches, and Divorce: Estranging the Renaissance. Of Domesticall Duties. Greenblatt, Stephen, ed.
Guillemeau, Jacques. Child-birth or, the happy delivery of women. Hooke, Christopher. The Childbirth. Ingram, Martin. Church Courts, Sex and Marriage in England, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Jankowski,Theodora A. Women in Power in the Early Modern Drama. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press. Kahn, Copplia. Mans Estate: Masculine Identity in Shakespeare. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Klein, Joan Larsen. Lady Macbeth Infirm of Purpose.
British Literature – Easy Peasy All-in-One High School
Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Chicago: University of Illinois Press. Knight, L. New York: George W. Korda, Natasha. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Laslett, Peter. Revised first ed. London: Methuen. Leigh, Dorothy. The Mothers Blessing. Marcus, Leah S. Miller, Naomi J. Newman, Karen. Fashioning Femininity and English Renaissance Drama.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Newstead, Christopher. An apology for women: or womens defence. Kate Aughterson. Paster, Gail Kern. Roeslin, Eucharius. Stephanie Chamberlain Marriage in England, , ed. Joan Larsen Klein. Stephen Greenblatt.
Macbeth - The ghost of Banquo - focus on language and stagecraft
The Tempest. Trace the gradual decay in the natures of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Are they aware of what will happen once the open the door to one evil act? The role of the imagination dominates the play. What does he mean? Recall what we said about the imagination when discussing Burton's view in Anatomy of Melancholy. See also A.
Bradley's commentary in Shakespearean Tragedy. Both works are on line ,. For Burton : click here and a search engine will locate the number of references to imagination in the text Locate passages that you think describe Macbeth: for example:. And although [imagination] be a subordinate faculty to reason and should be ruled by it, yet in many men, through inward or outward distemperments, defect of organ, which are unapt or otherwise contaminated, it is likewise unapt, or hindered, or hurt.
This we see verified in sleepers, which by reason of humors and concourse of vapours troubling this fantasy, imagine many times absurd and prodigious things, and in such are as troubled with incubus, or witch-ridden as we call it Be able to demonstrate how the play is mimetic to the ideas expressed in the Ren aissance background packets to include:. Read what he says, and correlate. Can you think of examples that prove Boom correct. Anatomy of Melancholy : Of the Force of the Imagination, page Additionally, SAT prep will be included as part of this course.
Writing assignments will include Responses to Literature journal entries for each work read, a literary and narrative essay of words in length, a research paper of pages, and a final literary analysis paper of pages. Students will have unit tests at the end of each unit. The final exam will not be cumulative. Refer to this often as you work through the course.
You will have vocabulary quizzes throughout the course and vocabulary words will appear on your unit tests. You will be identifying the significance of terms over the course of several related lessons. Copy the following terms into your vocabulary notebook: wyrd , comitatus , scops , mead-hall , lord , thane.