‘Out, damned spot! out, I say!—One: two: why,
then, ’tis time to do’t.—Hell is murky!—Fie, my
lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we
fear who knows it, when none can call our power to
account?—Yet who would have thought the old man
to have had so much blood in him.’
SparkNotes Character Profile of Lady Macbeth:
Lady Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most famous and frightening female characters. When we first see her, she is already plotting Duncan’s murder, and she is stronger, more ruthless, and more ambitious than her husband. She seems fully aware of this and knows that she will have to push Macbeth into committing murder. At one point, she wishes that she were not a woman so that she could do it herself. This theme of the relationship between gender and power is key to Lady Macbeth’s character: her husband implies that she is a masculine soul inhabiting a female body, which seems to link masculinity to ambition and violence.
These crafty women use female methods of achieving power—that is, manipulation—to further their supposedly male ambitions. Women, the play implies, can be as ambitious and cruel as men, yet social constraints deny them the means to pursue these ambitions on their own.
Lady Macbeth manipulates her husband with remarkable effectiveness, overriding all his objections; when he hesitates to murder, she repeatedly questions his manhood until he feels that he must commit murder to prove himself. Lady Macbeth’s remarkable strength of will persists through the murder.
Herodias – Wiki:
- Daughter of Aristobulus IV and his wife Berenice.
- Full sister to Herod V (king of Chalkis), Herod Agrippa (king of Judea), Aristobulus Minor, and Mariamne III (wife of Crown Prince Antipater and, after his execution by Herod the Great, she was possibly the first wife of Herod Archelaus, principal heir of Herod the Great and ethnarch of Judea).
Herod the Great executed his sons, Alexander and Aristobulus IV, in 7 B.C., and engaged Herodias to Herod II (born – ca. 27B.C.; died – 33A.D.), her half-uncle. The marriage was opposed by Antipater II, Herod the Great’s eldest son, and so Herod demoted Herod II to second in line to the throne. Antipater’s execution in 4 B.C. for plotting to poison his father left Herod II as first in line, but his mother’s knowledge of the poison plot, and failure to stop it, led to his being dropped from this position in Herod I’s will just days before he died.
The Gospel of Mark states that Herodias was married to Philip, therefore some scholars have argued his name was Herod Philip (not to be confused with Philip the Tetrarch, whom some writers call Herod Philip II). Many scholars dispute this, however, and believe it was an error, a theory supported by the fact that the Gospel of Luke drops the name Philip. Because he was the grandson of the high priest Simon Boethus he is sometimes described as Herod Boethus, but there is no evidence he was called by that name.
There was one daughter from this marriage, Salome. Herodias later divorced Herod II, although it is unclear when they were divorced. According to the historian Josephus:
Herodias took upon her to confound the laws of our country, and divorced herself from her husband while he was alive, and was married to Herod Antipas
In the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, Herodias plays a major role in John the Baptist’s execution, using her daughter’s dance before Antipas and his party guests to ask for the head of the Baptist as a reward. According to the Gospel of Mark, Antipas did not want to put John the Baptist to death, for Antipas liked to listen to John the Baptist preach (Mark 6:20). Furthermore, Antipas may have feared that if John the Baptist were to be put to death, his followers would riot. The Gospel of Matthew amplifies the role of Herod by omitting these details.
Euphrosyne Doukaina Kamatera – Niketas Choniates 12th C Byzantine writer:
The Emperor’s (Alexios III Angelos) wife was very manly in spirit and boasted of a natural sophist tongue, eloquent and honeyed. Most adept at prognosticating the future, she knew how to manage the present according to her own will and pleasure, and in everything else she was monstrous evil.
I do not speak of the embellishments, and the squandering of the Empire’s substance in luxury, and the fact that, thanks to her happy nature, she was able to prevail over her husband to alter established conventions. and devise new ones (these things, however, have no place in the history, and if they are improper for women, this is also true of Empresses.) By dishonouring the veil of modesty, she was hooted and whistled at and became a reproach to her husband.
Because the Empress had overstepped the bounds and held in contempt the conventions of former Roman Empresses, the Empire was divided into two dominions. It was not the Emperor alone who issued commands as he chose; she gave orders with equal authority and often nullified the Emperor’s decrees, altering them to her liking.
P.S. This reminds me of Lady Macbeth telling her husband to grow a pair…..
“…Yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way.”