Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Innocent England

Oh what a pity, Oh! Don't you agree
that figs aren't found in the land of the free.

Fig trees don't grow in my native land;
there's never a fig-leaf near at hand
when you want one; so I did without;
and that is all the row's about.
Virginal, pure policemen came
and hid their faces for very shame,

While they carried the shameless things away
to gaol, to be hid from the light of the day.

By D.H.Lawrence (of the infamous "Lady Chatterley's Lover")

The reason why I'm posting this poem is because I loved the satirical attack on the prudishness of the British society in the 1920s - easily applicable to our society even today, eh? Incidentally this poem was written when the Police siezed 13 of Lawrence's paintings because they were deemed too scandalous, depicting as they did, scenes of human nudity...

Here are two of those paintings :

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Scenes from Macbeth

Having given the plot line of the play, I thought I'd also toss in the 2 most famous scenes of the play - the witches prophecy and the scene in which Lady Macbeth tries to wash off blood from the wall - a sign of her guilt. She is haunted by this and eventually dies of insanity....I've marked the most famous lines in bold - these are most oft quoted even in contemporary parlance.

ACT 1. SCENE III. A heath near Forres.
Thunder. Enter the three Witches
First Witch
Where hast thou been, sister?

Second Witch
Killing swine.

Third Witch
Sister, where thou?

First Witch
A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her lap,
And munch'd, and munch'd, and munch'd:--
'Give me,' quoth I:
'Aroint thee, witch!' the rump-fed ronyon cries.
Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o' the Tiger:
But in a sieve I'll thither sail,
And, like a rat without a tail,
I'll do, I'll do, and I'll do.

Second Witch
I'll give thee a wind.

First Witch
Thou'rt kind.

Third Witch
And I another.

First Witch
I myself have all the other,
And the very ports they blow,
All the quarters that they know
I' the shipman's card.
I will drain him dry as hay:
Sleep shall neither night nor day
Hang upon his pent-house lid;
He shall live a man forbid:
Weary se'nnights nine times nine
Shall he dwindle, peak and pine:
Though his bark cannot be lost,
Yet it shall be tempest-tost.
Look what I have.

Second Witch
Show me, show me.

First Witch
Here I have a pilot's thumb,
Wreck'd as homeward he did come.

Drum within

Third Witch
A drum, a drum!
Macbeth doth come.

The weird sisters, hand in hand,
Posters of the sea and land,
Thus do go about, about:
Thrice to thine and thrice to mine
And thrice again, to make up nine.
Peace! the charm's wound up.


So foul and fair a day I have not seen.

How far is't call'd to Forres? What are these
So wither'd and so wild in their attire,
That look not like the inhabitants o' the earth,
And yet are on't? Live you? or are you aught
That man may question? You seem to understand me,
By each at once her chappy finger laying
Upon her skinny lips: you should be women,
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret
That you are so.

Speak, if you can: what are you?

First Witch
All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Glamis!

Second Witch
All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!

Third Witch
All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!

Good sir, why do you start; and seem to fear
Things that do sound so fair? I' the name of truth,
Are ye fantastical, or that indeed
Which outwardly ye show? My noble partner
You greet with present grace and great prediction
Of noble having and of royal hope,
That he seems rapt withal: to me you speak not.
If you can look into the seeds of time,
And say which grain will grow and which will not,
Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear
Your favours nor your hate.

First Witch

Second Witch

Third Witch

First Witch
Lesser than Macbeth, and greater.

Second Witch
Not so happy, yet much happier.

Third Witch
Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none:
So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!

First Witch
Banquo and Macbeth, all hail!

Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more:
By Sinel's death I know I am thane of Glamis;
But how of Cawdor? the thane of Cawdor lives,
A prosperous gentleman; and to be king
Stands not within the prospect of belief,
No more than to be Cawdor. Say from whence
You owe this strange intelligence? or why
Upon this blasted heath you stop our way
With such prophetic greeting? Speak, I charge you.

Witches vanish

The earth hath bubbles, as the water has,
And these are of them. Whither are they vanish'd?

Into the air; and what seem'd corporal melted
As breath into the wind. Would they had stay'd!

Were such things here as we do speak about?
Or have we eaten on the insane root
That takes the reason prisoner?

Your children shall be kings.

You shall be king.

And thane of Cawdor too: went it not so?

To the selfsame tune and words. Who's here?

ACT 5. SCENE I. Dunsinane. Ante-room in the castle.

Enter a Doctor of Physic and a Waiting-Gentlewoman

I have two nights watched with you, but can perceive
no truth in your report. When was it she last walked?

Since his majesty went into the field, I have seen
her rise from her bed, throw her night-gown upon
her, unlock her closet, take forth paper, fold it,
write upon't, read it, afterwards seal it, and again
return to bed; yet all this while in a most fast sleep.

A great perturbation in nature, to receive at once
the benefit of sleep, and do the effects of
watching! In this slumbery agitation, besides her
walking and other actual performances, what, at any
time, have you heard her say?

That, sir, which I will not report after her.

You may to me: and 'tis most meet you should.

Neither to you nor any one; having no witness to
confirm my speech.

Enter LADY MACBETH, with a taper

Lo you, here she comes! This is her very guise;
and, upon my life, fast asleep. Observe her; stand close.

How came she by that light?

Why, it stood by her: she has light by her
continually; 'tis her command.

You see, her eyes are open.

Ay, but their sense is shut.

What is it she does now? Look, how she rubs her hands.

It is an accustomed action with her, to seem thus
washing her hands: I have known her continue in
this a quarter of an hour.

Yet here's a spot.

Hark! she speaks: I will set down what comes from
her, to satisfy my remembrance the more strongly.

Out, damned spot! out, I say!--One: two: why,
then, 'tis time to do't.--Hell is murky!--Fie, my
lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we
fear who knows it, when none can call our power to
account?--Yet who would have thought the old man
to have had so much blood in him.

Do you mark that?

The thane of Fife had a wife: where is she now?--
What, will these hands ne'er be clean?--No more o'
that, my lord, no more o' that: you mar all with
this starting.

Go to, go to; you have known what you should not.

She has spoke what she should not, I am sure of
that: heaven knows what she has known.

Here's the smell of the blood still: all the
perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little
hand. Oh, oh, oh!

What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely charged.

I would not have such a heart in my bosom for the
dignity of the whole body.

Well, well, well,--

Pray God it be, sir.

This disease is beyond my practise: yet I have known
those which have walked in their sleep who have died
holily in their beds.

Wash your hands, put on your nightgown; look not so
pale.--I tell you yet again, Banquo's buried; he
cannot come out on's grave.

Even so?

To bed, to bed! there's knocking at the gate:
come, come, come, come, give me your hand. What's
done cannot be undone.--To bed, to bed, to bed!


Will she go now to bed?


Foul whisperings are abroad: unnatural deeds
Do breed unnatural troubles: infected minds
To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets:
More needs she the divine than the physician.
God, God forgive us all! Look after her;
Remove from her the means of all annoyance,
And still keep eyes upon her. So, good night:
My mind she has mated, and amazed my sight.
I think, but dare not speak.

Good night, good doctor.


Macbeth - Shakespeare

Act 1: The play takes place in Scotland. Duncan, the king of Scotland, is at war with the king of Norway, and as the play opens, he learns of Macbeth's bravery in battle against a Scot who sided with Norway. At the same time, he hears of the treachery of the Thane of Cawdor, who was arrested. Duncan decides to give the title of Thane of Cawdor to Macbeth.

Macbeth and Banquo, traveling home from the battle, meet three witches, who predict that Macbeth will be Thane of Cawdor and king of Scotland, and that Banquo will be the father of kings. The witches disappear, and Macbeth and Banquo meet up with two nobles who inform them of Macbeth's new title. Hearing this, Macbeth begins to contemplate murdering Duncan in order to realize the witches' second prophecy.

Macbeth and Banquo meet up with Duncan, who tells them he is going to pay Macbeth a visit at his home at Inverness. Macbeth rides ahead to prepare his household. Meanwhile, Lady Macbeth receives a letter from Macbeth informing her of the witches' prophesy and Macbeth's subsequent new title. A servant appears and tells her of Duncan's approach. Energized, she invokes supernatural powers to strip her of her feminine softness and prepare her to murder Duncan. When Macbeth arrives at Inverness, Lady Macbeth tells him that she will take care of all the details of Duncan's murder.

Duncan arrives at Inverness, and Lady Macbeth greets him. Macbeth fails to appear, and Lady Macbeth goes to find him. He is in his room, contemplating the weighty and evil step of killing Duncan. Lady Macbeth taunts him, telling him he will only be a man when he kills Duncan, and that she herself has less softness in her character than he does. She then tells him her plan for the murder, and Macbeth accepts it: they will kill him while his drunken bodyguards sleep, then plant incriminating evidence on the bodyguards.

Act 2: Macbeth has a vision of a bloody dagger floating before him and leading him to Duncan's room. When he hears Lady Macbeth ring the bell to signal the completion of her preparations, Macbeth follows through with his part of the plan and leaves for Duncan's room.

Lady Macbeth waits for Macbeth to finish killing Duncan. Macbeth enters, still carrying the bloody daggers. Lady Macbeth again chastises him for his weak-mindedness and plants them on the bodyguards herself. As she does so, Macbeth imagines that he hears a voice saying "Macbeth will sleep no more." Lady Macbeth returns and assures Macbeth that "a little water clears us of this deed."

At the gate the porter pretends that he is guarding the door to hell. The thanes knock at the gate, and Macduff discovers Duncan's body when he goes in to wake him up. Macbeth kills the two bodyguards, supposedly in a fit of grief and rage, when they are discovered with the bloody daggers. Duncan's sons Malcolm and Donalbain, fearing that their lives are in danger, flee to England and Ireland; their flight brings them under suspicion of conspiring in Duncan's death, and Macbeth is crowned king of Scotland.

Act 3: Macbeth hires two murderers to kill Banquo and his son Fleance in an attempt to thwart the witches' prophesy that Banquo will father kings. Lady Macbeth does not know of his plans, and he will not tell her. A third murderer joins the other two on the heath, and the three men kill Banquo. Fleance, however, escapes.

Macbeth throws a feast on the same night that Banquo is murdered, and Banquo's ghost appears to him, sending him into a frenzy of terror. Lady Macbeth attempts to cover up for his odd behavior, but the party ends up dissolving as the thanes begin to question Macbeth's sanity. Macbeth decides that he must revisit the witches to hear more of the future.

Meanwhile, Macbeth's thanes begin to turn from him, and Macduff meets Malcolm in England to prepare an army to march on Scotland.

Act 4: The witches show Macbeth three apparitions that tell Macbeth to fear no man born of woman, and warn him that he will only fall when Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane castle. Macbeth takes this as a prophecy that he is infallible. When he asks the witches if their prophesy about Banquo will come true, they show him a procession of eight kings, all of whom look like Banquo, the last holding a mirror to signify the reign of James I, the Stuart king for whom Shakespeare wrote this play.

Malcolm tests Macduff's loyalty by confessing to multiple sins and ambitions. When Macduff proves loyal to him, the two plan the strategy they will use in attacking Macbeth. Meanwhile, Macbeth murders Macduff's wife, whom he has deserted, along with all his children.

Act 5: Lady Macbeth sleepwalks and reveals her guilt to a watching doctor as she dreams that she cannot wash the stain of blood from her hands. Macbeth is too preoccupied with battle preparations to pay much attention to her dreams, and is angry when the doctor says he cannot cure her. As the castle is attacked, Lady Macbeth dies (perhaps by her own hand). When Macbeth hears of her death, he comments that she should have died at a different time, and muses on the meaninglessness of life. However, he reassures himself by remembering the witches' predictions that he will only fall when two seemingly impossible things occur.

Meanwhile, the English army has reached Birnam Wood, and in order to disguise their numbers, Malcolm instructs each man to cut a branch from a tree and hold it in front of him as they march on Dunsinane. Witnessing this, Macbeth's servant reports that he has seen something impossible ­ Birnam Wood seems to be moving toward the castle. Macbeth is shaken but goes out to fight nonetheless. During the battle outside the castle walls, Macbeth kills Young Siward, the English general's brave son. Macduff then challenges Macbeth. As they fight, Macduff reveals that he was not "born of woman" but was "untimely ripped" from his mother's womb. Macbeth is stunned but refuses to yield to Macduff. Macduff kills him and cuts off his head. Malcolm is proclaimed the new king of Scotland.