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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: July ::
Re: Macbett
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1724  Tuesday, 10 July 2001

[1]     From:   Richard Spacek <
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        Date:   Monday, 09 Jul 2001 08:26:01 -0300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1713 Macbett

[2]     From:   Karen Peterson-Kranz <
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        Date:   Monday, 9 Jul 2001 09:50:15 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1713 Macbett


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Spacek <
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Date:           Monday, 09 Jul 2001 08:26:01 -0300
Subject: 12.1713 Macbett
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1713 Macbett

Marcia Eppich raises an interesting point.

>When writing a paper about Macbeth, I had contended that in Macbeth that
>Lady Macbeth was, herself, a great witch, but my thesis advisor dismissed
>this idea as somewhat childish, since women of nobility would not have
>been accused of witchcraft during the Renaissance.

Rank is not necessarily a disqualification for participation in black
magic.  Dame Eleanor, wife of Humphrey Duke of Gloucester, was convicted
of traffic with witches in _2 Henry VI_.

A sort of naughty persons, lewdly bent,
Under the countenance and confederacy
Of Lady Eleanor, the Protector's wife,
The ringleader and head of all this rout,
Have practis'd dangerously against your state,
Dealing with witches and with conjurers,
Whom we have apprehended in the fact,
Raising up wicked spirits from under ground,
Demanding of King Henry's life and death
And other of your Highness' Privy Council,
As more at large your Grace shall understand.
(_2 Henry VI_ 2.1)

Eleanor actually appears aloft during the raising of the damned
spirit-no witch, perhaps, but a ringleader of sorcery.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Peterson-Kranz <
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Date:           Monday, 9 Jul 2001 09:50:15 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 12.1713 Macbett
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1713 Macbett

On Friday Marcia wrote,

> When
> writing a paper about Macbeth, I had contended that
> in Macbeth that Lady
> Macbeth was, herself, a great witch, but my thesis
> advisor dismissed
> this idea as somewhat childish, since women of
> nobility would not have
> been accused of witchcraft during the Renaissance.

This aroused my curiosity, and set me off on some rather disconnected
questions and thoughts, for which I beg the list's tolerance in advance.

The witch-like qualities of Lady Macbeth would seem to me to be an
interesting avenue to pursue, regardless of whether there were any
corresponding historical incidents of noble witches.  Also, would the
period to search for noble witches be the Renaissance or the time frame
of the play itself?

The similarities between the evil queen of Snow White and Lady Macbeth
also seems intriguing.  There certainly have been noblewomen (in both
literature and history) who have been classified as "evil," or of doing
"evil" deeds.  Is there an element of social class in distinguishing
between "evil" and "witchcraft"?  For that matter, are the witches of
"Macbeth" in fact "evil"?

I don't know...I'm wondering if Marcia or anyone else has any further
thoughts on any of this.

Cheers,
Karen

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