Lady Macbeth in America: From the Stage to the White House

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Lady Macbeth has haunted American history since the conflicts of Shakespeare s England spilled over into New England s real witch hunts. To reveal how Lady Macbeth entered American politics as an icon for the First Lady, this investigation focuses on the prominent actresses in the role, how they performed, and their effect on audiences anxious about the country s First Lady and her influence over the President - especially at times of war. Smith ably shows how the various Lady Macbeths have both reflected and shaped the image their contemporaries have of the ambitious political wife, producing parallels that converge dramatically in twentieth-century witch hunts.