For my Shakespeare class in college, we had to write a creative paper on every single play we read. Whether it was desigining and selling a poster to a “creative publishing team” or re writing an act in modern English we had to cover everything. So, since I’m so swamped with wedding stuff and work, here’s something to tide you over…
“The What If Game”
Iago and Lady Macbeth have long been argued as two of Shakespeare’s most villainous characters. And the old cliche says “Birds of a feather flock together”. What would happen if Emilia and Macbeth didn’t exist…and Iago and Lady Macbeth were in the same Shakespearean play. And what if…they were married?
Scene: A courtyard of the household of Iago and Lady Macbeth.
Lady Macbeth: Fie, where is Iago, that wretched man.
Nay, not even a man, but wretch.
For he skulks about with his two faces.
His two countenances ever smiling
and seething one behind the other.
This wretch, ne’er fighting as a man,
but dawdling as a child, with his oily tongue
clouding the minds of men and others
to snake them in his will.
No, not a man, a wretch with no
straightforward action. He plays
on others to forward his moves and
moves forward as a coward, the
general’s lapdog. A mutt who aims
to lick the hand as it plots to bite the
hindquarters. The general’s fool
dancing a measure of deceit.
A sound is heard within
Ah! The snake returns to this hole.
Ay me, my father one ensnared
and fallen in the soothsayer’s traps.
Here I despair, in the snake’s lair.
The manipulator’s maid, subject to
the one who will never outright speak
his mind. Nay, simply drop the seeds
and water, and sprout and reap the deeds.
But hush, I’ll meet his match, and
switch my visage. For a man’s mind eased
is a man’s plans appeased.
Iago: Ah, my heart, dear lady, thy face is like
a gentle moonbeam that drapes the floors of heaven.
Thy voice the songs which when intoned
inspire the very wood nymphs to leave post and dance.
You are the sweet and gentle breeze which
receives my heart – faint with pain from the dreary
company of men. Love, fill my ears with light
woman talk to ease my burdened mind.
Lady Macbeth: Light woman talk? Would’st be too much
for thy slight mind, sir. For a man’s mind is strong,
and his spine an oak. But you yet play the sport.
If life dependent on it, you wouldst not stand and
take the jab yourself. You nimbly slip the knife
to true men’s hands instead of its rightful sheath.
You are not the noble, yet a tool. not the ensign,
yet still the fool.
Iago: Ah, still you prattle on?
Lady Macbeth: Aye, I continue! For still the general lives,
and still you give him your sweet counsel. Why not
carry your calling and slip the proper poison.
A poison not from tongue, but of nightshade,
of hemlock, of mandrake. Tis action of this
a right man does make.
Iago: What know you of making men’s souls? A
proper woman may form their flesh, yet not their
spirits. And counsel? How speak you of counsel
to me? A woman knows nothing of this.
This poison, lady. Wouldst that you were the
remover to remove it from your mind.
As mutts and men, you are yet the yapping lapdog.
So charmed with it’s own yelps that it sees not
the muzzle in which it’s caught.
Lady Macbeth: If charmed be me, then harmed be you!
For you forsake your very nature as a man.
You don the coxcomb and slay lady wisdom
with pierced jests. No more, she’ll hear –
from idiot chatter she needs a rest.
Exit Lady Macbeth
Iago: Marry, that woman is a wretch.
Oh, that I could send her back in a package.
For though she is sweet in stature and
ribboned as a gift, her contents revealed are
stronger than Pandora’s box. A mutt?
A fool? Nay, lady disdain. Your feathery
mind too easily swayed. As a hare you
frolic where the easiest inclination send you.
You oft pursue the fox unconsidered!
What know you of my plans? You say
proceed, thou spineless canary! But dost not
e’en the canary plot towards freedom?
Fie, woman, fie! I scheme and dream
and capture less blame than such
forward action as you consider.
I? Not a fool. Thou? Lady wisdom?
Nay. Wouldst suit thee best, madam,
to sit and knit. To spin coxcomb for thine
own head, in place of silly plans for me
to sigh my way through your measure of prattling.
Ay, that I could sent thee back to thy father.
And punish him for all he placed upon me.