Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Something wicked this way comes.

In Shakespeare's play (act IV, scene 1), it is the increasingly monstrous Macbeth himself who is identified as wicked, when he goes in search of the three midnight hags, whose ambiguous prophecies were calculated to induce even more wickedness on Macbeth's part.

A lot of wicked keeps coming our way these days - from the terrifying Eric Greitens' campaign video to the disgusting and dangerous death threats sent to Congressman Adam Kinzinger and his wife and their infant child. The explicit references in the Kinzinger threat - to the "hurt" done to "God fearing families" and the threat to send the three of them to hell - highlight how religion has been thoroughly weaponized (here literally weaponized) by increasingly unscrupulous Christians, whose Hobbesian lust for power after power has replaced the Beatitudes and the Commandments in an apocalyptically deformed kingdom. 

So much wicked has come our way that it increasingly loses its capacity to shock. 

Macbeth's "witches" were no mere bystanders, however, let alone innocent bystanders. Macbeth's personal responsibility and guilt for his own actions notwithstanding, it was the "witches" who, in a manifestly evil manner, enabled and empowered Macbeth's dramatic descent into criminality. Power-oriented religious people who have during this troubled time demonized Democrats and sacralized Republicans resemble in this respect those three midnight hags, who happily told Macbeth what would support his pursuit of power regardless of wider world consequences.

(Image: Macbeth visits the Weird Sisters; title page by John Gilbert for an edition of Shakespeare's works, 1858–60.

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