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The Backstory of Lady Macbeth

Updated on June 14, 2019
Laila Hashem profile image

In a psychology course, I studied the effects of different parental attachments on infants, which I used to explain people's 'odd' behavior.

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As the rain dripped down the outside of her window, thirteen-year-old Gruoch quietly sobbed for the third day in a row inside her bedroom. She was careful as to not wake up her dreadful mother. Gruoch could almost hear her mother criticizing her ‘weakness’, repeating those four fateful words: ‘what’s done is done’, and demanding she stop crying.

Her mother had been as such ever since her father was brutally murdered. Grouch watched, shocked, as her mother was transformed from a gentle, sensitive, empathetic woman, to a harsh, emotionless, cold-hearted monster, who let nothing stand in the way of what she referred to as ‘greatness’. The transformation was almost magical. For a woman who was known as the town flower to suddenly become such a horrid snake. Gruoch often wondered if her mother’s past was but an act, and her new character is her true self. She claimed to be taking over her late husband’s role, but Gruoch’s father was nowhere near that cruel.

Her father was a calm, gentle, kind man, who was known and loved by the entire town. Gruoch’s mother, however, did not see those qualities as good ones. On the contrary, for weeks after her father’s death, Gruoch heard nothing from her mother but “he was weak, not feared, and trusting. Death was God’s punishment for your father not fulfilling the true job of a man.” When Gruoch asked what the true job of a man is, her mother simply laughed and said “to grab his desires by the tail and never let go”, then she would sullenly say “If he had, maybe we would have a better life, but, no, he let fear and morality block his path, so I had to take matters into my own hands”.

While their social class did not change much after her father’s death, Gruoch’s mother did her best to keep them at their current status, which was, indeed, low. Gruoch slowly inched her way towards the window, from which she watched the lighted castle of the thane of Glamis, which, to her, almost seemed to radiate the rain away from its walls. Gruoch gazed at her own cold, dark room and could not help but envy those whom she sees walk out of the castle in their luxurious clothes,. At that time, her tears dried out and faded away, taking with them the hope to one day live in such a glamorous place, whatever the cost.

At that moment, Gruoch heard her mother knocking, a sound she absolutely despised. Her mother opened the door, asking “Gruoch, why do you keep lighting these candles after I blow them out?”.

Her voice was horse and loud, even though her daughter was roughly three meters away from her. Gruoch sighed, hesitated, then proceeded to blow out the candles one by one, until she arrived at the last, unable to blow it out.

“Mother”, she said, “I do not like the dark. It reminds me of how I found father that horrible day. I am afraid if I blow out this candle I will see nothing but father, perfectly still, on that bed.”

It was true; Gruoch was the one who found her father. She was still haunted by the memory of it. It was midnight and she had had a nightmare, so she went into his room for comfort as she always used to do, but this time It was different; he did not invite her to sleep next to him like he always used to; he was completely silent. She went over to him to ask for comfort, but upon touching the side of his bed, she felt a sticky, dense liquid, and screamed, which prompted her mother to come into the room. Gruoch then ran away crying, and entered the nearest bathroom, where she washed the blood away from her hands, not quite convinced when it was all gone. “Out, damned spot!” she cried repeatedly until her mother found her hours later. Ever since that moment, Gruoch had been unable to sleep or even lay awake in the dark.

Gruoch’s mother responded, snapping her out of her painful recollection, “On the contrary, my darling. Darkness does not bring forth your fears; it is where you can see your dreams. In the darkness, your view is your mind. Reality cannot see you and you cannot grasp reality.”

“Oh mother, how I wish to leave this poverty and become engulfed in luxury and wrapped in the robes of royalty.”

“Well, darling, those dreams would’ve become reality if it hadn’t been for your father. I have never spoken these words to you, but your father could’ve been a lead soldier in the army. His partner, Beneq, achieved what he could not, and your father could’ve gotten rid of his competition and taken his rightful place in the army, but he was too much of a coward to do so, and he lost his only opportunity for greatness.” She took a deep breath before saying “Kindness, my darling. Kindness will stand in your way and you must get rid of it to reach your greatest ambitions.”

Gruoch shook her head and turned her back to her mother as she said “You’re wrong, mother. Father’s kindness was a gift, not a curse, nor an obstacle and I would be honored to marry a man of similar qualities.”

Her mother smiled, and laughed slightly, sparking Gruoch’s confusion. She understood why her daughter felt this way. She, herself, had felt the same about her own mother, but it is easy to judge when not put in the same position. “You’ll understand when you grow up, Gruoch.” She said, “and stop sulking about your father. What’s done is done! Now, blow out that damned candle.”

Gruoch did as she was told, silently resenting her mother’s ways and promising herself never to be as such. As her mother slowly shut her door and darkness took over, the only the light that reached her room was that radiating from the castle. Gruoch stared out the window again, imagining herself as the Queen of Scotland and vowing that she would one day reach that castle and look down upon the people in this poor village.

© 2019 Laila Hashem

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