Macbeth and the Unconscious


Macbeth confessed, “My dull brain is wracked by things forgotten.” Thus, he admitted that he was haunted by things his brain had “forgotten” which is to say his “dull brain” had not really “forgotten” them. In other words, he was beset by his unconscious.

Such is the human lot. We cannot escape the haunt of our unconscious depths, those unseemly fears, anxieties, and beastly impulses which civilization does not permit. And they have this unearthly way of slipping out when we are least expecting it. For example, I can’t help but speculate what led Michelle Bachman to select the term “deep penetration” recently in reference to her perceived infiltration of our government by Muslim extremists. Or, perhaps I’m just a dirty old man!

And the unconscious has a collective as well as an individual dimension. For example, note the present conservative emphasis on drawing boundaries between “us and them”, most obviously in their emphasis of building a fence to keep the Mexicans out. Yes, I do think they over emphasize boundaries. But, I readily acknowledge that we liberals are too prone to not set boundaries readily enough, that we are too quick to trot out the Bill Clinton “I feel your pain” and attempt to do too much to assuage the public ills.



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