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The Politics of ParodyA Literary History of Caricature, 1760-1830$
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David Francis Taylor

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300223750

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300223750.001.0001

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Macbeth as Political Comedy

Macbeth as Political Comedy

(p.101) 4. Macbeth as Political Comedy
The Politics of Parody

David Francis Taylor

Yale University Press

This chapter looks at William Shakespeare's Macbeth as a source for graphic satire. Given both its resonant depiction of regicide, atrocity, and criminality, and its sensational conjoining of the political and the fantastical, it is to be expected that Macbeth was a recurrent source for the period's graphic satirists. Between 1754 and 1835, at least sixty-two political prints cite the play in some manner: thirty-seven do so in extended or elaborate ways, and many others engage with it by means of brief but often complex intertextual gestures of the kind exemplified in Isaac Cruikshank's The Near in Blood, The Nearer Bloody (1793). The chapter then considers the largest and most prominent cluster of Macbeth prints, that is, parodies of the weird sisters. The weird sisters have long been the subject of scholarly fascination, but when looked at through the political and parodic lens of graphic satire, their history and status seems suddenly less familiar.

Keywords:   William Shakespeare, Macbeth, graphic satire, regicide, graphic satirists, political prints, Isaac Cruikshank, weird sisters, parodies

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