The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
Today, we were reading over Act II Scene 2 in which Macbeth emerges out of Duncan's chamber. He speaks of sleep, "the death of each day's life," and the cry that calls an end to that sleep.
This talk of sleep reminded me of this print, a testament to the fears of the Enlightenment. The monsters of irrationality and anxiety prey upon man's mind while Reason sleeps. Bats, cats, and owls descend upon the figure, a haunting force upon his psyche. We've talked about maybe adding the witches into this scene, who taunt and confuse Macbeth with Lady Macbeth's lines. I think it would a really interesting moment, his madness and fear is drawn out by these phantoms and monsters. Plus this group already has an impulse towards the masochistic.
But then again:
"...the sleeping and the dead
Are but as pictures: 'tis the eye of childhood
That fears the painted devil..."
(Lady Macbeth, Act II Scene 2)
Here's another one by Goya that I'm reminded of. Cannibalism becomes a theme. It's called Saturn Devouring his Son. Click for a larger version...if you dare...
Posted by Emily