Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 142. Saturday, 6 March 1993.
Date: Saturday, 6 Mar 93 13:12:19 EST
Subject: 4.0137 More Rs: "a naked new-born babe"
Comment: Re: SHK 4.0137 More Rs: "a naked new-born babe"
The idea of the newborn babe in connection with Duncans's murder is
further intriguing if we look at Lady Macbeth's words to her husband which
follow upon this:
I have given suck, and know
How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me:
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums,
And dashed his brains out, had I so sworn as you
Have done to this.
She is trying to prick his courage, but it almost seems a response to
Macbeth's comment of the newborn babe (before she entered): Duncan becomes
the babe that she would kill if she had so sworn, coalescing perhaps with
Macbeth's previous metaphor.
(Lady Macbeth's lines, if I remember correctly from K. Muir's "Sources..",
have echoes of a translation of Medea).