In Defense of Lady Macbeth

Photo from
Photo from

All too often scholars and thespians cast Lady Macbeth as a power-hungry, domineering witch who, through acts of coercion, forces her husband to carry out regicide. However, a more careful reading of the Scottish play reveals the Macbeths to be as much partners in crime as they are in marriage.

Though Lady M does encourage her husband to kill the king, she does so not to fulfill her own selfish desires but rather to help her husband realize his own ambition.  After reading a letter from Macbeth recounting his intriguing encounter with the witches, Lady M laments, “Glamis thou art and Cawdor and shalt be what thou art promised. Yet, I do fear thy nature is too full o’th’ milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way” (1.4.16).

Acknowledging Macbeth’s desire to ascend through the ranks, Lady M fears that her husband lacks the courage to act upon his ambitions in such a way that would make attaining them easy. She goes on to state, “Thou wouldst be great, art not without ambition but without the illness should attend it” (1.4.19).

Continue reading

Discuss: Autumn Reading List

Maybe if we all start blogging about autumn books the weather will get cooler. What do you think?

The change of seasons is a time in which blogs and other bookish sites like to talk about books that are suited to that particular season. There are “beach reads” for the summer and cozy reads for the winter. Some people have yearly reading traditions in which they read certain books at certain times of the year. Even though I’ve been trying to read more new books rather than moving backward to re-read my favorites, I do have a few of these traditions. I don’t really have a reading tradition for autumn, but perhaps I can start one this year!

The Melville House blog recently posted about seven books that are on their autumn reading list. I think they’ve included some great books here, such as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (have not actually read, but it seems like a good spooky read for Halloween), Macbeth (definitely has that macabre touch for autumn), and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I was sort of surprised to see a Harry Potter book on this list, but I think they chose the right one for autumn. Maybe it’s just the coloring of the US edition’s cover, but the fourth book in the series definitely gives me an autumnal vibe — despite the fact that I vividly remembering reading it for the first time in the summer.

Personally, I would add a few more books to this list. Frankenstein would be a great book to read as Halloween approaches. Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen, also has a slightly macabre and gothic feel to it. Autumn also makes me nostalgic for that back-to-school feeling, so I might like to re-read a few of my grade school and junior high favorites at this time of year.

What is on your autumn reading list? Share in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan