"What We Feel, and What Doth us Befall": A Study of Letter Motif in Macbeth 

Document Type: Research Paper


Assistant Professor Isfahan University, Isfahan


The present essay is an attempt to scrutinize Macbeth's letter to Lady Macbeth formalistically with much care and seek hints which may lead us back and forth to understand what befell before and after the composition and emission of the letter. The letter seems to help us plunge into Macbeth's consciousness, and of course later to that of Lady Macbeth; it is a transparent aid to perceive the hidden purpose and ambition of Macbeth, about which so much ink has been spilled to clarify it. The diction, the tone of the writer of the letter, and the later response of the addressee to the letter all are issues which this short letter contains and makes it a device in the hands of this great master of speech and drama to dramatize human nature. Thus, the letter transcends its simple function as a written message and turns it into an influential dramatic device which unfolds much about the two central characters: one who knows bounds towards crime with open eyes mesmerized by the glitter of crown; the other, on the other hand, also mystified by the temptation of the "golden round," is blind to the consequences of her menacing instinctive impulses.