What in God's name is my husband up to? By Jenna K. (Year 11)
Jenna K. wrote this empathetic piece from Lady Macbeth’s perspective in response to our study of the play at GCSE. She brilliantly captures the paranoia and despair that descends upon Lady Macbeth and her husband in the second half of the play and the disintegration of their relationship.
What in God’s name is my husband up to?
At night when sleep escapes me, which is increasingly often as of late, I wile away the dark hours pondering who Macbeth’s curse is going to befall next. Whether this is out of fear or morbid curiosity, I am not yet sure. It is as a game of chess; I was once his queen, now merely an observer, and leaving a scattering of pawns in his wake, Macbeth seems to be winning.
I once told my husband that his face was like a book, left open for any lucky passerby who may wish to read it. Now, it is as if this book is written in invisible ink. We barely utter a word to each other anymore. At banquets, we are seated at opposite ends of the mahogany table. We sleep in separate chambers. I feel myself shrink away from his touch. We pass each other in the candle lit hallways, scarcely locking eyes. So much so, I caught wind of the gentlewomen’s whispers. I told them if they were going to question the love that the king and queen share, they could leave. So they did. What’s three less beating hearts at Inverness?
The newfound distance between my husband and I has given way to hours upon hours of never-ending solitude. Oftentimes I see not another soul, not even myself – I ordered each mirror in the castle to be destroyed some time ago. When your own face becomes unrecognisable - the pain has etched itself in far too deep - there is no going back. When you have done what I have done, there is no going back.
When sleep finally does overcome me, I have a peculiar recurring dream. I am in a white night gown, candle in hand, treading barefoot through the halls. The corridor stretches endlessly in front of me. Each door is bolted shut, except for one. From it, warm candlelight spills onto the floor. There is a set of spiraling stairs that lead up and up and up to the castle battlements. When I reach them, the moonlight is enchanting - I’m lucky, she hums me a lullaby. The wind whips through my hair and the rain leaves it in sopping wet locks. Something pulls me to the edge and just as I peer over the precipice, that’s when I wake up. I take a shaky breath of relief that it was all in my head. Although I do wonder why I keep waking to the door ajar...
Every passing day is a cycle of grief. I mourn the lives we have lost. I mourn the love we have lost. My heart is just as hollow as these cold stone walls. Demons, it seems, are the puppet masters of my thoughts. A churning cauldron of loathing, destruction, turmoil, agony. As much as I pray and plead and beg each night, the knots in my stomach never seem to untangle themselves. I can’t so much as eat. Scotland’s queen is constantly running from her own mind.
There is so much death in the past that it’s starting to seep into the present. It is never far from my mind, like a shadow that lingers after dusk. It is a cobweb that sticks to you and draws you in further, the more you struggle. I’m not sure how much longer I can put up a fight.
It is as if Macbeth and I stand on two halves of the globe, with a perilous gorge growing between us. It is only a matter of time before one of us falls off the edge.
Return to English in Senior School and Sixth Form - Magnolian 2021