What would be a comparison between The Glass Mengaerie, Mad Shadows, and Macbeth?

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The most obvious connection in themes among these three works is that all of them deal with severely dysfunctional families. Beyond this, they have little in common. The Glass Menagerie is a gentle, wistful "memory play" centering mostly on a young woman, Laura, sheltered and trapped by a domineering mother...

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The most obvious connection in themes among these three works is that all of them deal with severely dysfunctional families. Beyond this, they have little in common. The Glass Menagerie is a gentle, wistful "memory play" centering mostly on a young woman, Laura, sheltered and trapped by a domineering mother and living in a household where her brother has his own problems. Mad Shadows has a family with more than a passing resemblance to the Wingfields, with a domineering mother and two grown dysfunctional children living in the house with her. However, the gender roles of the children are reversed in that here, it is the son, Patrice, who is the delicate sheltered one and the daughter, Louise, is relatively functional but resentful of the overall situation, given that she isn't the favored child. Unlike The Glass Menagerie, Mad Shadows takes more than one violent turn as the family comes apart. It also has a male intruder into the family, Lanz, perhaps similar in function to the Gentleman Caller in Williams's play, but courting the mother, Louise, instead of the daughter.

The one specific element, apart from a dysfunctional family dynamic, I see as a point of comparison between these works and Macbeth is the presence of a domineering female figure. However, since the Macbeths have no children, the other factors we might use to draw parallels, or even distinctions, are lacking. Lady Macbeth's invocation to be "unsexed," and while it may not be absolutely unique among dramatic or fictional characters, it does not seem to have much of an analogue with the behavior of Amanda Wingfield or of Louise in Mad Shadows. In The Glass Menagerie and in Mad Shadows, the problems of the children, rooted in the mother's behavior, are at the forefront of the story. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, however, embark on their career of murder for themselves, though the killing of Banquo is done to insure the lack of succession to the throne of his family, since Banquo does have a child.

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I think that a really interesting point of intersection for all three works is how there is emotional dysfunctionality in the life of each work's protagonists.  I think that Macbeth demonstrates this emotionally dysfunctional state in his relationship with Lady Macbeth.  At the outset, he lacks any firm grounding to be able to have his voice validated with his wife.  She goads him into doing something that he is clearly not comfortable doing.  The fact that she wants it more than him and does just about everything to get him to do her bidding speaks to an emotional disconnect between husband and wife.  Afterwards, when she shows sign of regret and remorse, he is more driven than ever.  As his voice was invalidated by her, her voice is reciprocally invalidated by him.  When she dies, this emotional dysfunction is evident in his "Out, out brief candle" soliloquy.  There is little in way of emotional warmth between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, contributing to a definite emotional dyfunctionality between them.

For Williams' Wingfield family, it is really difficult to find any firm emotional footing.  Tom is emotionally alienated from his role in the family.  The only real emotional connection that he possesses is anger towards Amanda, and a sense of loss towards Laura.  His emotionally dysfunctional state can be seen at the end/ beginning, for even when he has left the family, there is still some intrinsic emotional barrier preventing his happiness.  Amanda's emotional disconnect is seen in her love of the past, a nostalgia that blinds her to the emotional nuances in the present.  Laura might be the most emotionally secure of the family, but she is constantly seen as feeble by her mother, and passively seen as that by her brother.  The ending, in which she is blowing out her own birthday candles away from everyone else, might be the only emotionally normal sentiment in a family where there is nothing but emotional disconnect.

Few would argue that there is emotional dysfunction in Isabelle- Marie's family.  The "love" that exists in this setting is one predicated upon only beauty.  With Isabelle- Marie not being beautiful, she becomes the victim of her mother's neglect.  Jealous of the attention Patrice receives because of his beauty helps to motivate her in doing the worst of acts in scarring him.  Patrice himself is part of this emotionally disconnected world in the way he craves his mother's attention.  In his killing her love and then finding himself neglected by her when he is no longer beautiful, his placement in an asylum is almost understood.  For her part, Louise cannot be considered to an emotionally nurturing mother.  Her being burned by her daughter, who then kills herself leaving her own daughter to wander alone might be the strongest statement of emotional dysfunctionality in the family's configuration.

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