Historically Speaking

Making sense of it all!

Posts Tagged ‘Lady MacBeth’

Milk Of Human Kindness

Posted by Admin on June 10, 2010

The first published version of this phrase appears in William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth written sometime between 1603 and 1607.  In Act 1, Scene 5 when Lady Macbeth complains that her husband isn’t ruthless enough with his rivals.

LADY MACBETH
Yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness.

Lady Macbeth belittles her husband’s courage and manhood, countering his arguments about sparing Scottish King Duncan’s life until Macbeth finally relents and agrees with her that they should kill their overnight guest.  Of course, from that point on, Macbeth needs no encouragement from his lady to continue with his plans to secure the throne for himself.

There’s a fair bit of discussion about the milk of human kindness in the Old Testament of the Bible however, contrary to popular belief, the phrase itself never appears.

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Sorry Sight

Posted by Admin on May 14, 2010

Finally, we have come across a phrase written by Shakespeare for which he and he alone can take credit!   In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth written in 1605, the phrase “sorry sight” makes its first appearance — not once, but twice — in Act 2, Scene 2.

MACBETH:
Hark! Who lies i’ the second chamber?

LADY MACBETH:
Donalbain.

MACBETH:
This is a sorry sight.
[Looking on his hands]

LADY MACBETH:
A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.

Sometimes finding the origins of a phrase, cliché, expression or word is as easy to find as a needle in a haystack.   Sometimes it’s easy as pie!

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