MsGeek.Org v2.0

The ongoing saga of a woman in the process of reinvention.
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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Math remains a total freaking pain in my ass. I'm serious. English 103 is going fine, Biology 3 is meh but it's going to at least be passable, but Math 114 is really giving me fits. And it's the one course that can prevent me from getting my AA. It won't prevent me from "graduating"...going through the motions at Monarch Stadium, the cap and gown, the whole damn thing. It won't prevent me from matriculating to Woodbury University...they have assured me that "if you don't pass Math 114 at Valley you'll be able to get up to speed in classes at Woodbury." However, the piece of paper that basically is my confirmation that I have achieved closure with the LA Community College District, and finished what I started in Fall 1980, would elude me.

It shouldn't mean anything. But it does.

I am hoping that I'll be able to pull this out like I did with Math 112 and Math 113. I am hoping I can devote enough time to it and enough mental energy to, if not "get it," at least make a good enough appearance of it to get a C.

Anyway, enough rumination about that. Since Dr. Roth gave yet another true/false quiz about The Scottish Play, I think I might mention a few of my thoughts about it here.

Shakespeare was a fucking misogynist. Period. Dr. Roth suggested I give a look at some of the women he wrote about in his comedies for a different view, but when you take the female characters in Hamlet and Macbeth they either fit into two molds: bitches or victims.

You wonder if Lady Macbeth was Shakespeare's take on Queen Elizabeth I. The play was written by Shakespeare as an offering to the court of King James I, the son of Mary, Queen of Scots and hence someone with mixed feelings, to say the least, about the Queen who ordered his mother's execution.

In a way, Macbeth was alright before his wife started getting ambitious. He was not the sharpest tool in the drawer, but he was a strong fighter and had won a second Thaneship after a crucial battle. He was of noble blood but not of royal blood, and probably if he had left things well enough alone he would have been a trusted aide to King Duncan and his son Prince Malcolm. In short, he had it made.

However, like it is with a lot of men, his he-man image contrasted with a big problem in reality: he was impotent. Nowadays it only takes a little blue pill to fix that problem; in Medieval Scotland, one couldn't fix things so easily. Lady Macbeth could twist her hubby's insecurities around to allow her to get the power she desired. Of course, she couldn't just get her power herself...this was Medieval Scotland, as I mentioned before.

As a Neo-Pagan, it is downright offensive to me how Shakespeare took sacred archetypes from the pre-Christian past of the British Isles and Greece and twisted them. Hekate was not a goddess of evil, but a night goddess and a presider over women's mysteries. Perhaps she, like Artemis/Diana, was added to the Greek pantheon as acknowledgement of having been worshipped for millenia before the ascendancy of the Greeks in that part of the world. However, in Macbeth Hekate is evil personified...Satan in drag.

Even more offensive are the Three Weird Sisters. The pre-Christian Irish Goddess Brigid was seen as tri-fold in nature, and her father, The Dagda, the father of the Tuatha De Danaan, forged her cauldron. This magic cauldron could produce the elixir of immortality or feed a great army, and if one gazed within one could see the future. The Cauldron of The Dagda became Christianized as the Holy Grail. There are other Triple Goddesses and trinities of Goddesses in mythologies throughout the world, and of course, Greco-Roman mythology had the Fates, which Shakespeare specifically modeled his Weird Sisters on. But he twisted them into horrible caricatures. What's bubbling in their cauldron is Hell-broth, not the elixir of life or nourishment for a multitude. They play Macbeth like a violin, telling him exactly what he wants to hear. Want to compensate for your failings? Wanna be King? Sure, you'll be the King.

Anyway, just as I suggested Hamlet could have disappeared and gone on to a new life in Britain the last time I visited a Shakespeare play in these pages, I think if Macbeth could have been content with the titles he had and the trusted position he had in King Duncan's court, he would have been fine. As before, however, there would have been no story in that, would there?

The real historical figure of King Macbeth of the North Highland Clans bears little resemblance to the bloody, sulphurous Usurper-King of Shakespeare's play. He is not viewed kindly by history: he was a bit of a Quisling who threw in his lot with the Norwegians, and killed King Duncan and became King of Scots in battle, not by "most sacreligious murder." He lived and reigned a good long time (at least by the standards of the time) and was killed by King Duncan's son Malcolm at an advanced age. The BBC website says the battle took place in a stone wonders if the battle was some sort of pre-Christian rite that had survived to that day.

I need to point out that studying these two plays in detail was quite interesting, and since we were examining the moral implications of these two plays I got a chance to take a good look at them that way. I can't say I related to or agreed with the course of things in the plays, or to the point of view Shakespeare took. One day when I can sit down and read for pleasure, I might just revisit the Shakespeare comedies to see what Dr. Roth was saying about how perhaps The Bard wasn't a total misogynist, and whether I agreed with my prof or not on that score.

With that, I must sup. Cheerio.