Sunday, November 14, 2010

Been A While

Been busy as all hell, and at some point I'll go into it... not now, though. Big test tomorrow in Art History, and have recently realized I'm a Rubinist. SCREW YOU POUSSIN.

Here is the paper on Macbeth I'm handing in tomorrow, I happen to be very pleased with it.

Sons and Fathers

Macbeth is the story of greed, fate and human frailty; it’s the story of kings, whether their right be divine or otherwise, but more than anything, Macbeth is the story of parents. There are only two childless members of King Duncan’s court, as we are presented with it, and those are Macbeth and Ross. Ross, whose main job seems to be reporting the death or flight of various family members, and Macbeth whose wife definitely alludes to having had a baby at some point.

Macbeth, a childless father, can only be slain by Macduff who is now equally childless and more than that, according to the witches’ pedantic wording, was not born. Macbeth’s child was born but didn’t live, Macduff lives but was not born.

The all entwining theme of Macbeth seems to be Life; the ability to either take it or give it, both rights traditionally God’s office alone, are central. Macbeth has tried and failed to give life, but is ever so talented at taking it. Denied fatherhood Macbeth is driven nonetheless to demand the place of an Alpha, replacing the ecstasy of fatherhood (despite its many noble qualities parenthood is first and foremost complete control of another human) with the power of a sovereign.

It is a cliché that Children Are the Future and it has become a cliché because it is a basic and inescapable truth. Macbeth’s to-morrows are bleak because for him there awaits nothing but death at the end of the metaphorical day; no noble lineage of kings, or lineage of any kind. The ultimate death is that of the self, and the only way to fight that death is through offspring – I will never die now that I’ve left some of myself behind, there will always be some of me alive.

The continued allusions to fatherhood are prevalent throughout the play, most touchingly Lady Macbeth’s confession that “Had he not resembled My father as he slept, I had done't.” (2.2.16-17). Lady Macduff’s fascinating discussion with her son just before their death was eerie to say the least but hinged most on Lady Macduff’s repeating ‘how wilt thou do for a father?’ highlighting once again the important relationship of parent and child, specifically father and son. The Siwards come to mind as well; Old Siward’s seemingly callous reaction to his son’s death is, when viewed in the proper allegorical light, a symbol of honor and content with the result of one’s life.

Macbeth feeds his need for a son by killing the sons of others. The fact that Macbeth was written only a few years after the death of Hamnet Shakespeare could very well be irrelevant, but it bears mentioning.