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Catalog of the Shakespeare Art Collection  --  Multi-Color Graphics on Shakespearean Themes

"MACBETH"
Description of Lino-cut 4 colors 10" x 14"
by Hannah Tompkins

 

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Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are shown in a fearful huddle, plotting the murder of Duncan. To conceal their guilt of this conspiracy with pretended innocence, Macbeth advises:
"False face must hide what the false heart doth know."
So their faces are partly hidden by masks of deceptive virtue.

After the act, the horror of the violence has so disordered Macbeth that he utters in distraction:
"O, full of scorpions is my mind."
And scorpions are shown, literally, filling the crown of his head.

Power ambition is designated by the double-headed serpent emerging from beneath a jeweled crown. Serpents also make up the design on the brocade sleeve of Lady Macbeth. In her hand she holds the fatal, bloody dagger.

To the right behind the serpent is a candle.
In the ambush murder of Banquo, the mysterious third murderer shouts:
"Who did strike out the light?"
It is also such a light that Lady Macbeth carries constantly in her sleep-walking madness. Allegorical references to both candles and serpents are mentioned in the play.

In the arched doorway (right rear) lurks the enigmatic third murderer. The twin windows (center back) disclose a tree and turret tower: symbolizing Castle Dunsinane and Birnam Wood.


Copyright © 1990 Hannah Tompkins. All rights reserved.

 

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