Impossible grief: motivation and intention in Macbeth
This paper considers the issues of identification and motivation in Shakespeare's Macbeth. Proceeding from the proposal that the play allows for a remarkable level of audience identification for the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, considering their heinous acts, reasons for this level of identification are explored. Two events referred to in the text of Macbeth, but preceding the time of the play, are identified as potentially significant motivating factors in the couple's actions: Macbeth's recent experience of intense battle, and the couple's apparent past loss of a child. Supporting textual evidence is presented in addition to third party research into the effects of close combat and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the psychological effects on parents of losing a child. Various staging and design implications, opportunities, and ideas that result from these proposals are explored with direct reference to the author's production of Macbeth in Toronto's High Park.