Macbeth: annotated bibliography Essay
Bell, Millicent. “Macbeth and Dismemberment.” Raritan Vol. 25 Issue 3 (2006): p13-29. This
article explores and digs deeply into Macbeth’s character, his motivations for the series of horrible acts of murders he had committed, independent of any supernatural force or influence that might have moved him to action. His real, deep self is revealed and the author emphasizes “how the injunction in Macbeth between some shadowy essential self and his acts emerges most profoundly as a symbolic condition of dismemberment” (19). He illustrates how the physical dismemberments illustrated throughout the story as Macbeth progresses with his evil deeds reflect Macbeth’s refusal to acknowledge his deepest desires and, ultimately, the evils that he had already done and the dismember of the self form Macbeth himself. The author also takes note of the presence of blood throughout the story and explains that Shakespeare uses this to “figure the persistence of consequence, the eternal persistence of what had been thought done when it was done” (29). Dismemberment, according to the author, is also expressed in the very structure of the story.
Chamberlain, Stephanie. “Fantasizing Infanticide: Lady Macbeth and the Murdering Mother in
Early Modern England.” College Literature Vol. 32 Issue 3 (2005): p72-91. This article talks about the role of mothers in the fear of the public over infanticide. The purpose of the article is to examine the cultural fears and anxieties infanticide produced within an early modern England which was protective of patrilineal rights. It begins with a discourse on infanticide as mentioned in Macbeth and other literary works. Lady Macbeth is made to be the symbol of the woman who defied this tradition. The crime of infanticide is a crime against not only humanity but as against lineage as well. The rate of infanticide has never clearly been established but the passage of the law against infanticide suggests that such was a problem in early England. There was a cultural anxiety about the dangers of women’s roles in patrilineal transmission. The causes are deeply rooted on the pressures of early modern English society for women to protect patrinlineal rights and prevent maternal agency. This caused many to commit infanticide as numerous accounts have shown and even gender confusion as the women were loathe to accept the burdens and responsibilities of motherhood given the pressures that existed in early modern English society. Patriarchal identity in the early modern period was conditioned upon the perpetuation of the patrilineal line. Without an heir to continue the family name, lineal identity would be lost. The issue of matricide also 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.
Delaney, Bill. “Shakespeare’s Macbeth.” Explicator Vol. 63 Issue 1 (2004): p209-211. The
author focuses on Shakespeare’s metaphor for sleep as “the death of each day’s life” (209) in Macbeth’s story. He analyzes the genius of Shakespeare in using simple words in conveying such a powerful meaning and how he expresses words that “everyone knows but no one has ever tried to express” (211) Such words, according to him, are more notable than other metaphors Shakespeare has used in the past in regarding life as “passing seasons” (209). He explains how Sonnet #73, although teeming with melancholy, gives humans eternal optimism and hope because each day is regarded as a lifetime, how sleep becomes their death, and how awakening to a new day represents a new life. The author also notes how King Duncan’s good day became his last day on earth. Finally, he describes how Macbeth is robbed of the many lifetimes, the many chances to be reborn that each human has. He is doomed not to sleep, according to the author, the moment he “murdered the innocent sleep” (211). He laments the fate of “poor” (211) Macbeth as “surely one of the saddest concepts to be found anywhere in literature” (211).
Hunt, Maurice. “Reformation/counter-reformation Macbeth.” English Studies Vol. 86 Issue 5
(2005): p379-398. This article reexamines the religious issues surrounding Macbeth, particularly its seemingly anti-Catholic elements and traits which correspond to Protestant Reformation, on the other hand. The author explains the presence of “equivocation” in one of the story’s passages which refers to Father Garnet, a Catholic priest condemned by the Protestants as a traitor. According to the author, the story is “full of equivocal, reversible, backward-and-forward realities” (381) which characterizes the anti-Catholic persecutions prevalent during the time of King James I of England. Another Protestant feature of the story is the suggestion that the main character is a “reprobate.” Other anti-Catholic elements in the story were also discussed by the author. It is concluded in the end that Macbeth possesses a deep religious structure.
Kranz, David L. “The Sounds of Supernatural Soliciting in Macbeth.” Studies in Philology
Vol. 100 Issue 3 (2003): p346. Kranz gives a detailed analysis and account of the Weird Sisters’ role in Macbeth’s actions and words throughout the story. The soliloquies and thoughts of the characters and the words employed by Shakespeare, were given meaning in a detailed manner by the author. He focuses on the “repetitive poetry” present throughout the story and emphasizes the intentional use of such repetitive poetry in identifying with the witches and understanding their nature, in illustrating the effect of supernatural forces upon Macbeth and the other characters, and how the verses actually reflect the actions and words of the characters. The repetitive verbal patterns, the author notes, is not a simple illustration of style by Shakespeare. They, according to him, “represent, in such a manner that divine will always remains a mystery, the existence of a supernatural order in which possible but indeterminate providential designs work through demonic and human actors” (382) and that “there are furious sounds that signify something, a vision paradoxically diabolical and divine” (383). The article also gives a background on the use of witchcraft in other earlier literatures which might have influenced Shakespeare in his characterization of the Weird Sisters.