Saturday, October 28, 2006

Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk - holiday post II

Talk about tragedy against the backdrop of an emotive landscape and it’s hard to beat the image of convicts crossing the Volga in a ferry in violent water.

Highlights from the second half of the book -chapters 9 – 15

* Having killed the husband and the father-in-law things look good but all of a sudden another heir with a right to half the estate emerges a young boy that moves in with his aunt to wait until he is old enough to enjoy his share of the business

* Katerina decides to dispose of the barrier to their happiness and one night when she is left alone in charge she gives the nod to Sergei and they kill the boy by holding a pillow over his face

* They are seen because people in the village are keen to see what the lovers get up to and someone sees them killing the boy and a mob break into the house and after he is taken to the Police Station Sergei confesses and gets them to dig up the husband

* Katerina gives up the baby from the relationship and only lives for the moment when they will set off on their trek to Siberia but two other women convicts get Sergei’s attention and in the end he starts to taunt her and shows a cruelty that is designed to hurt her presumably because he blames her for his misfortunes

* As they cross the Volga on a ferry Katerina is continually taunted and in a moment she drags the other woman to the depths and despite attempts to save her makes sure that the woman who took Sergei’s heart dies

Powerful stuff and it reminded me of something I learnt studying Macbeth at school, which is that once you have killed once it leads to more and it is always easier the second, third and fourth times around.

Will post a review tomorrow.

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