So Lady Macbeth was Pontius Pilate?

Spotted this article on 5 Cliches That Mean More Than You Think and figured maybe there’d be some Shakespeare in it.  I was right, but not in the way I thought!

Cliche #2 is “I wash my hands of it,” something that, the notes tell me, is known as the ‘Macbeth Effect‘. Really? Shakespeare gets to call dibs on ritually cleansing yourself morally as well as physically? Because I’m pretty sure that Lady M was beaten to the kitchen sink by Pontius Pilate when he sent Jesus to his fate.

I get that there’s a difference in the guilt thing. Pilate washed his hands of it and that was that, he never thought of it again.  Lady M, well, we know what happened to her. But I’m questioning the assumption that everybody who says “I wash my hands of it” really means “I will try to wash my hands of it because of the moral stain I feel that will never quite go away.” I think it’s quite possible to wash your hands of something and never look back.

Then again, on the “think outside the box” cliche…

Study participants came up with fewer creative answers when they were literally sitting inside a cardboard box than the people who were seated next to the box.

I think that maybe this is a very silly study that I shouldn’t taking so seriously.

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3 thoughts on “So Lady Macbeth was Pontius Pilate?

  1. You're right, it is a silly study.
    Only 30 subjects were involved, not sure what ethnic/cultural biases there may have been. If they were Canadians from Toronto, I'll bet they behaved differently than, say, Americans in Huston, or Mexicans in Guadalajara.
    Then there is the replication issue, So far, I haven't seen any studies where they came out with similar results.
    My favorite study was the one where they determined Lady Macbeth had OCD.
    http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/were-only-human/damned-spot-guilt-scrubbing-and-more-guilt.html

  2. You're right, it is a silly study.
    Only 30 subjects were involved, not sure what ethnic/cultural biases there may have been. If they were Canadians from Toronto, I'll bet they behaved differently than, say, Americans in Huston, or Mexicans in Guadalajara.
    Then there is the replication issue, So far, I haven't seen any studies where they came out with similar results.
    My favorite study was the one where they determined Lady Macbeth had OCD.
    http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/were-only-human/damned-spot-guilt-scrubbing-and-more-guilt.html

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