September 20, 2013
Translating Shakespeare into Modern English
In the play Macbeth, the first introduction to Lady Macbeth in Act 1 scene 5 provides the reader with a great deal of insight into her character. After her speech, we know that Lady Macbeth is ambitious; however she’s also ruthless and possesses a dark soul. Lady Macbeth craves a power only attainable through manipulation because of societal gender roles of the era. Lady Macbeth is a very dynamic, yet daunting, female character in this play and ultimately molds the viewpoint of Macbeth.
“The raven himself is hoarse that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan Under my battlements. Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood, Stop up th’access and passage to remorse, that no compunctions visitings of nature shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between Th’effect and it. Come to my woman’s breasts, and take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers, wherever in your sightless substances you wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night, and pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, that my keen knife see not the wound it makes, Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark to cry ‘Hold, hold!’ (Shakespeare, 1.5.37-52).”
The messenger is out of breath, he hurried here to tell me that the King Duncan will be coming tonight. He will come to my battlefield, since I plan to kill him. Come witches, I summon you to make me a man, make me strong so that I may kill the King Duncan. Help me stay strong throughout my blood stream and clog my veins so that I feel no sympathy. Stop my conscious-stricken feelings so that I can accomplish this evil plan. Make my breasts vindictive and turn them into bile and spitefulness, you preachers of assassination. You are inconspicuous, just waiting to accomplish evil. May a dark night fall on us now and cover us in murky clouds so that nobody, not even...
Cited: Shakespeare, William, Stephen Greenblatt, Walter Cohen, Jean E. Howard, Katharine Eisaman Maus, and Andrew Gurr. The Norton Shakespeare: Essential Plays, the Sonnets. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2009. Print.
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