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revenants

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jun 07, 2003

After reading several accounts of a not-yet-released mega-bestseller called Living History, I am reminded of an earlier political marriage:

Macbeth is excitable and imaginative, and his imagination alternately stimulates and enfeebles him. The facts in their clear-cut outline disappear in the dim atmosphere of surmise, desire, fear, hope, which the spirit of Macbeth effuses around the fact. But his wife sees things in the clearest and most definite outline. Her delicate frame is filled with high-strung nervous energy. With her to perceive is forthwith to decide, to decide is to act. Having resolved upon her end, a practical logic convinces her that the means are implied and determined. ... Lady Macbeth gains, for the time, sufficient strength by throwing herself passionately into a single purpose, and by resolutely repressing all that is inconsistent with that purpose. Into the service of evil she carries some of the intensity and energy of asceticism--she cuts off from herself her better nature, she yields to no weak paltering with conscience.

from Edward Dowden's Shakspere (1876)

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