Gil Harris's Essay 'The Smell Of Macbeth'

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“Did the Shakespearian stage stink?” (Harris 465). Critic Jonathan Gil Harris’s critical essay, “The Smell of ‘Macbeth,’” answers the latter question and many others pertaining to the smell the stage of Macbeth would have had. The Critic confirms that the stage did truly have a strong, profound odor because stage production required explosives and other odor releasing props to make the play realistic. However, the odors were not just for realism, the odors add depth to the play because a specific odor will bring back a memory associated with the smell. After the Critic explains the physiological response triggered by smells, he connects it back to Macbeth, literary works, and political events of the period to show the relation between smell and memory. Therefore, smells did …show more content…
First off, when the Critic writes about the physiological response of smell, he cites sources of information in order to support the assertions he makes. Likewise, the Critic analyzes the relationship between memory and smell by using an example “from Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus” that explains that the “bad” smell of sulfur evokes a “bad” memory of the Devil because the connotation of a smell will evoke a memory of similar connotation (477). I find this evidence proper to make the connection between memories and smell because it serves as the perfect focal point to see the physiology between memory and smell. Finally, to support the effect of smell in Macbeth, the Critic cites an excerpt from Macbeth and then goes onto make his assertions. However, the great part about Critic Harris is that even after he makes a new point based on the evidence provided from the Macbeth quote, he cites yet another source to provide even more support for the points he makes. Hence, the Critic is not short when it comes to providing evidence for his

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