In "Macbeth" Act 1.5, is there an error in this translation: "You are not without ambition, only without The drive should usually goes with it"?

Expert Answers
sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Not at all.  It may sound a little awkward, but it is grammatically and textual correct.  It might be better to say "without the drive that usually goes with it", but that would eliminate the auxiliary verb "should" which is an important qualifier in the statement.  Here is the original line:

Art not without ambition, but without
The illness should attend it.

Lady Macbeth is saying that drive, or action, should usually go with ambition.  Unfortunately, she claims that this is not the case with Macbeth.  Although he should have this drive, he doesn't.  He only has the ambition itself.  In other words, he might want to be king, but he doesn't have the motivation to move along his ambition.  She will have to do it for him.  This leads to her next soliloquy in which she will call upon the "spirits" to "unsex her."  She wants to eliminate her femininity so that she can supply the drive that Macbeth is lacking.

chrbruun | Student

I tend to agree with clonholdt. I don´t recall any passage in Shakespeare where an auxiliary verb is followed by a finite verb. The translation seems to me to be grammatically and textually incorrect.

1. ...only without the drive that usually goes with it
2. ...only without the drive should usually go with it

are to my mind two correct alternatives. 

Read the study guide:

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question