Out, Damned Spot!

Interesting article from last week in the NY Times about a study published on the psychological need to clean after even contemplating shameful acts. It's being called "the Macbeth effect" after Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare's tragedy, whose guilt in urging the murder of the King manifests itself in a stain that cannot be erased.
The study was co-written by a graduate student at Northwestern and several studies involved students broken into groups where one group asked to recall unethical things they have done, and the other encouraged to remember good deeds. At the end of the test, both groups were offered a pencil or an antiseptic wipe for their troubles and the group asked to reflect on negative actions were twice as likely to accept the antiseptic wipe.
Unable to sit down with the Bard to discuss this theory, the NY Times went on to chat with Liev Schreiber, who played Macbeth this summer for Shakespeare in the Park. Schreiber commented that people lined up to use the showers, which is unusual given that everyone usually opts to wait and shower in their own homes.
An updated version of the Scottish play, Scotland, PA, features the McBeths vying for a fast food kingdom in the 70s. I thought Maura Tierney's Pat McBeth, constantly rubbing salves into a burn on her hand, was particularly good.

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