By William Shakespeare
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Additional resources for Macbeth (Bloom's Shakespeare Through the Ages)
I must have better counselors. Lady Macb: What, your witches? Curse on your messengers of hell! Their breath Infected first my breast. See me no more. As king your crown sits heavy on your head. But heavier on my heart. I have had too much Of kings already. ] See, the ghost again! Macb: Now she relapses. Lady Macb [To Macbeth] Speak to him if thou canst. [To the Ghost] Thou lookst upon me, and showst thy wounded breast. Show it the murderer! ] Music and Song. [Spirits within] Hecate, Hecate, Hecate, oh come away!
Hover through the fog and filthy air. These final lines of the witches’ first ritual, chanted at the very beginning of Macbeth, introduce key themes of the play: first, the problem of how to interpret conflicting statements; and second, the infectiousness of evil. ” As this line demonstrates, chiasmus can be used to create an inconclusive statement, which casts doubt on its own meaning and raises anxiety in the listener or reader. Indeed, a multitude of messages throughout the play are received with anxiety and uncertainty; prophecy, letters, facial expressions, gestures—all are endlessly questioned.
For the host, it was the distinction of having provided the feast for important people, who then owed him a degree of loyalty. The rules of hospitality thus preserved the status quo for the privileged class in Jacobean England. And the need to preserve class distinction really was compelling, as a series of proclamations issued during the reigns of Elizabeth, James, and Charles (1590s through late 1630s) helps to show. These laws forbade the gentry to live in or about the city except when Parliament was in session, and they mandated the landholders’ return to the country during times of harvest failure to stabilize rural relationships and thereby avoid the problems created by an absentee nobility.