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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: March ::
Q: "a naked new-born babe"
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 126.  Thursday, 4 March 1993.
 
From:           Ronald Dwelle <
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Date:           Thursday, 04 Mar 93 09:26:52 EST
Subject:        [Q: "naked new-born babe"
 
I'm teaching Macbeth (for the first time in years) and stumbling a bit
on some of the language. For example:
 
          I,vii, 16-25.
 
Macbeth is in soliloqy, describing Duncan's meekness and other virtues,
which will "plead against his taking off...."
 
Then the lines:
 
          And pity, like a naked new-born babe
          Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubin horsed
          Upon the sightless couriers of the air,
          Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye
          That tears shall drown the wind.
 
I can find no gloss and can make little sense of the simile.
 
Can someone interpret (or direct me)?
 
Thanks
 
[I cannot resist this one: start with Cleanth Brooks's "The Naked Babe and
the Cloak of Manliness," the second chapter in *The Well Wrought Urn*. --hmc]
 

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