5 Macabre Macbeth Moments (to Motivate a Morbid Mood for the Impending Month)

Five of my favorite spooky quotes from William’s Shakespeare’s “Tragedy of Macbeth” are below paired with complementary modern and classical artworks. I hope they get you in the Halloween spirit!

Some of Shakespeare’s Original Sources & Other Highly Recommended Reading:

  1. The British Library: Collections- “Daemonologie” by King James I of England
  2. The Holinshed Project: Digital Images of the Holinshed Chronicles
  3. eBook of “Witch Hunts in Europe & America: An Encyclopedia”
  4. eBook of “The Compleat History of Magick, Sorcery, & Witchcraft” from Cornell University’s Witchcraft Collection
  5. Folger Shakespeare Library: Digital Images of the First Folio


Henry Fuseli
Macbeth Consulting the Vision of the Armed Head 1793–4
Oil on canvas, 1630 x 1300 mm



Daniel Gardner
The Three Witches from Macbeth 1775
Gouche and Chalk, 37 in. x 31 1/8 in




Luis Ricardo Falero
Vision of Faust 1878
Oil on canvas, 145.415 cm x 117.475 cm


My Sources:

Hall, Chris. “Shakespeare Book Covers.” Behance. Accessed September 27, 2016. https://www.behance.net/gallery/Shakespeare-Book-Covers/10953207. (image 4)
Shakespeare, William, Stephen Greenblatt, Walter Cohen, Jean E. Howard, Katharine Eisaman Maus, and Andrew Gurr. The Norton Shakespeare. New York: W.W. Norton, 1997.
“Snow White and the Huntsman News, Videos, Reviews and Gossip – Gizmodo.” Gizmodo. Accessed September 29, 2016. http://gizmodo.com/tag/snow-white-and-the-huntsman. (image 3)

Book Breakdown: Inside Outlander

A breakdown of the first chapter of Dragonfly in Amber, the second novel in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. Includes characters, themes, history, vocabulary, and silly asides. Also, an astute analysis answering serious questions like, ‘Where the hell is Jamie?’ and ‘Aren’t Druids from Planet Druidia??’

New Characters

Brianna Randall: daughter of James Fraser and Claire Beauchamp/Randall/Fraser. However, Brianna believes she is the daughter of Claire and Frank Randall

Roger Wakefield: Ok, so technically he was in the first book of the series, but I’ll recap. He is an orphan taken in by the Reverend Reginald Wakefield. Now a historian and young professor at the University of Oxford in England, he appears as a love interest for Brianna Randall. As a historian, he may also be a helpful aid to Claire in finding details about the deaths at Culloden.



The first chapter describes the physical space of Reverend Wakefield’s home as overflowing with relics and documents of the past. Shelves, tables, even the garage, overflow with history, including information on Roger’s parents. As Claire begins the daunting task of searching for details of Jamie’s death, Roger starts the similarly overwhelming task of clearing out and organizing the Reverend’s collection. Both characters must sift through the chaotic clutter of the past to discover the fate of their deceased loved ones. Not a literal time-travel this time, but a journey into the past all the same.


Battle of Culloden: a battle between the Jacobite rebel army and the British army (many of whom were Scottish). The British side was led by the Duke of Cumberland, son of the current king, King George II. The battle itself lasted a little over an hour, but over 1,000 Jacobites were killed during the battle and its aftermath. Charles Stuart, for whom the Jacobites fought, fled the scene when he realized he was defeated. While the men who fought for him were left for slaughter, the “Bonnie Prince” managed to escape and lived out the rest of his days in France.

Education Scotland- Battle of Culloden (highly recommended for historical documents like the one below)



(picture courtesy of UK National Archives at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/jacobite-1745/)

The Blitz: an eight-month series of bombings over London (and other cities) by Germany during WWII. The name comes from the German word for “lightning,” a title popularized by the British press during the war.

Wikipedia- The Blitz

Jacobite Risings: So, very long story short- the dethroned, catholic House of Stuart wanted to regain their power and depose the German House of Hanover currently on the throne of Britain. The risings started with James Stuart (aka “The Great Pretender”) in 1715 and continued with his son, Charles Stuart (aka “Bonnie Prince Charlie”) in 1745. The rising ended after the Stuart defeat at the Battle of Culloden.

For the long story, visit UK National Archives- Jacobite Risings.


Bronzino:  (description of Brianna and Claire in comparison toBronzino “Bronzino paintings.”) An Italian painter of the 16th century famous for his extraordinarily realistic portraits of the Medici family of Florence.

Charles Stuart: aka “Bonnie Prince Charlie” the son of James Stuart. the son of deposed King James Stuart II of England (VII of Scotland).

James Stuart: aka “the Old Pretender,” son of the deposed King James Stuart II of England (VII of Scotland).

The Druids: an educated or professional member of the Celtic people, often religious leaders, the group is now associated with Pagan rituals and stone circles like Stonehenge.


Fort William– a small town near Inverness, Scotland home to the famous fort. The Jacobites attempted to capture the fort in a siege from March 20th to April 3 of 1746.

Wikipedia-Fort William- Highland History

Inverness: a city in the Scottish highlands, considered to be the capital of
the highland area.

Wikipedia- Inverness

Loch Ness: a 20-mile long lake near Inverness, Scotland. Famous for the mythical “Loch Ness Monster” said to hide within its depths.

Loch Ness


Thoughts and questions while reading:


“Why is Roger whining about the Reverend’s house? It. Sounds… AWESOME.”



“Ok, seriously, I’m 4 pages in. Where is Jamie??”

Jamie Fraser 1



Aren’t Druids from the planet Druidia?




Antimacassar: “a cover to protect the back or arms of furniture.”

Merriam Webster Dictionary



Chignon: “is a popular type of hairstyle. The word ‘chignon’ comes from the French phrase ‘chignon du cou,’ which means nape of the neck…Chignons are generally achieved by pinning the hair into a knot at the nape of the neck or at the back of the head, but there are many different variations of the style.”

Wikipedia- Chignon










Flatbed Lorry: fancy British speak for a truck with a flatbed in back to carry large, heavy objects.

flatbed lorry

Gaberlunzie: “a medieval Scots words for a licensed beggar.”

Wikipedia- Gaberlunzie

Manse: “a clergy house inhabited by, or formerly inhabited by, a minister, usually used in the context of Presbyterian, Methodist, United Church, and other traditions.”

Wikipedia- Manse


Morris Minor:  (Roger’s car) “The Morris Minor is a British car that debuted at the Earls Court Motor Show, London, on 20 September 1948.”

Wikipedia- Morris Minor

Morris Minor

Oxfam: UK version of Goodwill.

Oxfam- About Page

Plimsoll Shoe: “a type of athletic shoe with a canvas upper and rubber sole developed as beachwear in the 1830s.”

Wikipedia- Plimsoll Shoe

Snuff Mull: “a snuff box used to hold pulverized tobacco, it consists of a small container with a hinged metal lid… From a Scottish dialect word for ‘mill,’ where the snuff would have been ground to a powder, mulls came in a variety of shapes, the most common being fashioned from a ram’s horn.”

Snuff Mill- silvercollectionit.com

Snuff Mull


*All pictures from Flickr.com

“Antimacassar.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 31 July 2016.

“Chignon.” Wikipedia. Accessed July 31, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chignon_(hairstyle).

“Flatbed Lorry.” Wiktionary. Accessed August 2, 2016. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/flatbed_lorry.

“Fort William.” Wikipedia. Accessed August 2, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_William,_Highland#History.

“Gaberlunzie.” Wikipedia. Accessed July 31, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaberlunzie.

“History of Oxfam | Oxfam GB.” Oxfam GB. Accessed July 31, 2016. http://www.oxfam.org.uk/what-we-do/about-us/history-of-oxfam.

“Inverness.” Wikipedia. Accessed August 2, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverness.

“Jacobite Rising of 1945.” The National Archives. Accessed August 02, 2016. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/jacobite-1745/.

“Manse.” Wikipedia. Accessed July 31, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manse.
“Morris Minor.” Wikipedia. Accessed July 31, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morris_Minor.
“SNUFF MULL.” SNUFF MULL. Accessed July 31, 2016. http://www.silvercollection.it/dictionarysnuffmull.html.
“The Blitz.” Wikipedia. Accessed August 2, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blitz.

Puritan Pastimes

The most powerful and influential government in New England was that of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the (now) Boston area. King Charles I issued a charter specifying that the power to make laws and elect a governor with no less than eighteen assistants would be in the hands of the General Court. This would ensure that at least a portion of the general population had a say in yearly elections.

But these Puritans had other ideas. Before they even left England, 13 men formed the Massachusetts Bay Company and appointed leaders and assistants among themselves. They then decided to allow voting only among themselves. They tried to deny the General Court the power to vote, but failed when some folks asked for a peek at the King’s charter. But instead, they decreed that only church members could vote. Church membership was decided by members of the Company who severely tested their applicants.

Although there was progress made in the way of greater representation, from 1630-1684, a small group of men had the majority of the power over the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Puritans’ main motivation to leave England was due to religious persecution and oppression. You would think having been the victims of intolerance they would be more tolerant themselves. But that’s not how the Puritans rolled. Nope, instead they became some of the most preachy, persecuting, and powerful people in our country’s past. (Which is really saying something.)

While I read up on these Colonial times, I decided to put together a top ten list of sad and startling discoveries regarding the daily life of the Puritan people in the Massachusetts Bay Colony:

1. Sleepy Sinners Smacked Down

First of all, it was illegal not to attend church. Citizens could be fined or imprisoned if they did not attend. You couldn’t snooze through the service either. Folks would congregate in the town meetinghouse and “policeman” patrolled the aisles to awake any sleepy sinners. They were kind enough to merely tickle the women’s faces with a feather on the end of long rod, but the men got a quick smack on the head with either the rod or a ball attached to the rod. No rest for the wicked.

2. Tattle-telling Terrorism

The supervision didn’t end after the service though. The Puritans banned work and recreation for the full day of the Sabbath. You were to meditate on your inevitable torments in hell, not cook, or clean, or go for a walk. Citizens would report on their neighbor’s slip-ups. When Captain Kemble of Boston returned from a three-year voyage in 1656, he had the nerve to kiss his wife in public! On the Sabbath! He was placed in the stocks for two hours as punishment.

Lovemaking between husbands and wives on the Sabbath was considered a most serious sin. Clergymen at the time believed children were born on the same day of the week they were conceived. Born on Sunday? Your parents must have got busy on a Sunday. Some clergymen would refuse to baptize children born on Sunday. One renowned Reverend Israel Loring of Sudbury, Massachusetts enforced such a policy until his own wife gave birth to twins on a Sunday. His policy changed after that.

3. Cancel Christmas

Puritans disapproved of the celebrating of Holy days and Saints days including St. Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Christmas. The Massachusetts Bay Company even devoted a few paragraphs to their “General Laws & Liberties” regarding the celebration of Christmas. Anyone caught feasting or merrymaking would be fined five shillings.

4. Orthodox Overreactions

Women were reported for crimes of “Exorbitancy of the Tongue, in Railing and Scolding” i.e. nagging their husbands. Consequences included wearing a gag in her mouth for a week, standing for hours on a public stool, or having her head dunked repeatedly in water.

Swearing citizens would be arrested and forced to wear cleft sticks in their tongues. Thieves would be beaten, branded with the letter ‘T,’ or in some cases, sold as slaves. When law-abiding citizens, with non-Puritan religious pasts, voiced complaints regarding having to pay taxes without the right to vote, they would be fined, whipped, have their ears cut off, and/or banished from the colony.

On the upside, this led to the foundation of colonies like Rhode Island, which established religious freedom and separated church from state.

5. Capital Crimes

As laid out by the laws of the Massachusetts Bay Colony,  capital crimes calling for the death penalty included: adultery, sodomy, bestiality, idolatry, witchcraft, blasphemy, poisoning, false witness, kidnapping, rebellion or conspiracy, hitting or cursing your parents, rebelliousness in sons, rape, rape of a child, and nonappearance in a capital crime. Although the death penalty was rarely applied for minor crimes such as adultery or cursing, the threat was always present.

6. Fining the Fornicators

The most popular crime of the time was fornication, often between an engaged couple. Sometimes friendly neighbors or loved ones would report the fornication years after the couple had been married. But they were still subject to punishments including whippings and fines. In 1632, Nicholas Frost was accused of theft and fornication and his punishment was a severe whipping, a brand with a hot iron, a fine, and banishment.

7. Divine Distinctions & Divisions

Marriage or occupation outside of the social class in which you were born was not tolerated. In the Puritan view, God decided to place you in a certain class and social station when you were born. If you attempted to marry or find an occupation outside of that class, you were questioning and disobeying God.

8. Forbidden Fun

Puritans viewed the arts and anything employing creativity or imagination as promoting idleness and immorality. They outlawed theater and dancing, banned books, and even forbid organ music during church. In 1670, they outlawed the mere possession of cards or dice. Even poetry was considered taboo. If it wasn’t a sermon, it was a sin.

9. Witchy Women

In response to being caught red-handed playing or dancing, children would claim they had been bewitched by other citizens in the community. This led to the famous Salem witchcraft trials, where at least twenty were executed and hundreds imprisoned. The physically and mentally ill were popular targets, as well as the disabled.

Some had the decency to step forward to apologize and repent after the hysteria had died down, but of course, that did little to help those already dead.

10. Shiny Souls for Sale!

By 1776, there were roughly 16,000 black slaves in New England. Less than an eighth of families owned slaves, but around 160 of the more powerful and wealthy families, including many clergymen and governors (like John Hancock), participated in and promoted slavery.

In the 1620s, roughly 75,000 Native Americans lived in New England. By the 1680s, only 20,000 remained. Most had died from disease, war with the European settlers, or alcohol. New England settlers confined the Native Americans who remained to reservations or sold them into slavery or servitude.

Many people opposed slavery on religious and moral grounds and by 1790, slavery was outlawed in New England. Despite the change in law, black citizens were treated as inferiors and struggled in an economy where businesses still banned black workers and favored white laborers. Although some found success, many remained domestic servants who faced the same discrimination as when they were slaves.

Johnson, Claudia Durst. Daily Life in Colonial New England. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002.
Featured Image:
Rogers, Alexander Zane. “Puritan Valentine’s Day Cards.” CollegeHumor. 2013. Accessed July 24, 2016. http://www.collegehumor.com/post/6870031/puritan-valentines-day-cards.