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By Gay Smith (auth.)
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Additional info for Lady Macbeth in America: From the Stage to the White House
The threat posed by daunting, emasculating women in [Shakespeare’s] great tragedies is thus symptomatic of a larger disorder. ”5 Debate over traditional interpretations continues as well, not only as to whether Shakespeare intended one interpretation over another, but also as to whether speculation regarding a playwright’s intentions has merit. The play in performance provides arbitration. Many of Shakespeare’s plays study leaders’ succession to power. Macbeth dramatizes a contest between rival monarchs and rival cultures somewhat parallel to what the playwright was witnessing in his own lifetime.
Sheridan, renowned teacher of oratory and elocution, considered Woffington one of the best Lady Macbeths of her From Shakespeare’s Stage to America’s 35 day. However, when in 1749 Woffington made her first appearance as Lady Macbeth, a command performance in London for the Prince and Princess of Wales, she played opposite the “old school” actor, James Quin, who may have retained the familiar Davenant script. 40 After the Irish beauty’s death in 1760, Sheridan played Macbeth opposite Mrs. Pritchard at Drury Lane Theatre in 1761, and there, under Garrick’s management, the text would have been Garrick’s.
Reflecting on George Washington after his death, Adams summed up his former boss as “more an actor than a leader, brilliant at striking poses ‘in a strain of Shakespearean . . ’ ”4 Displaying little stage presence or dramatic flare himself, Adams was more expressive in his copious and didactic writing. Studious and perfectionist, he found Washington’s spelling appalling. And the fact that America’s first president relied on others to write his speeches Adams judged a stain on the image of Washington as “father of the country,” a title John—and Abigail—felt Adams deserved.
Lady Macbeth in America: From the Stage to the White House by Gay Smith (auth.)