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ENG220Y1 Lecture Notes - Banquo, Sleepwalking, Phlegm

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Elizabeth Harvey

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Monday, November 14, 2011
Lady Macbeth and problem of gender
1.5 repeat events in form of letter, taking reported experience into own mind and body
language used by Macbeth “more than mortal knowledge” -> she believes
immortal, supernatural, but packed in word are ideas like link between life and
death, space in between, liminal space, doorway
breath affects others, invisible connector, because others breathe same air
“weird sisters”
inanimate & animate
brings Macbeth as kind of airy substance, summoning his ghost in language,
address him directly
nature of experience depends on circumstances and person’s perspective
contrast between Lady Macbeth and Macbeth
1.3 Banquo
you should be aware, and yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so...
hide thee hither that i may pour my spirits in thine ear... metaphysical and doth to
human physiology
4 humors
black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, blood
conversion of blood into milk during pregnancy, providing to child when born
1.5 Lady Macbeth
come, you spirits... come to my woman’s breasts and take my milk.... you wait on
nature’s mischief..
sleepwalking, visions, ghosts
apostrophes and conversions intimately related to gender construction
physiology producing mind and character in early modern period
desire to undo that physiology, unsex herself and change qualities of compassion
and tenderness
sign of life force, vehicle of spirits
signifier of death/murder
“What bloody man is that? (1.2)
voice of blood as call for revenge “Blood will have blood” (3.4)
murder begets murder
external sign of guilt “Here’s the smell of blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will
not sweeten this little hand” (5.1)
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