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

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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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The Glass Menagerie

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