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  • Lady Macbeth's Tale

    Lady Macbeth’s rapid trajectory from dominatrix to hysteric poses the question: just what was her problem? Her hounding of her husband to commit murder appears to be predicated on skewed notions of masculinity. Thus she taunts Macbeth to prove he is a man through an act of regicide. In fact, her greatest vitriol is reserved for what she perceives as her husband’s lack of manliness. But why is she so consumed with scorn when Macbeth hesitates to murder their kinsman and guest, King Duncan? Of course, Shakespeare leaves us in no doubt as to her ambition. But surely her demasculating jibes have a far murkier motivation? However, the swift pace of the play means that the ‘back story’ of the main characters happens offstage. And we are left to hazard breathless guesses at the sexual dynamics of their marriage. Intrigued by what Shakespeare left out – the source of Lady Macbeth’s personal demons – I followed my own quest to find the answer in writing Lady Macbeth’s Tale. Right from the start, I sensed that those vituperative interrogations of her husband’s masculinity could only have sprung from a primal sense of disappointment. Disappointment in men! And it is this profound rage against the first man in her life who had let her down which drives Lady M, not that much vaunted ambition. A disappointed daddy’s girl! Looking to the one man who could save her from the turmoil of eleventh century power politics, in which she finds herself a pawn, she discovers only weakness. Her royal father abandons her to fate in a warring kingdom. Yet still she hasn’t learned the lesson that a man can’t save her. And so like many a heroine – or should I say anti-heroine? – who would follow her over the next five hundred years of so of fiction, Lady Macbeth’s problem was that all along she longed for a hero – not a husband!