This blog started out as Michael Doherty's Personal Library, containing reviews of books that normally don't get reviewed: basically porn and cult books. It was all just a bit of fun, you understand. But when I embarked on a three-year Shakespeare study, Shakespeare basically took over, which is a good thing.
Thursday, February 22, 2018
Shakespeare Reference in Darker Than Amber
John MacDonald’s Darker
Than Amber, a volume in his Travis McGee detective series, contains an interesting
reference to Macbeth, a reference that
is used several times in one chapter (chapter nine). The book is written in the
first person from the perspective of Travis McGee, who in this chapter is
pretending to be drunk in order to obtain some information, putting himself out
there as bait. MacDonald writes: “When he had put the drink down, he hovered. I
stared straight ahead until he began to turn away, and then said, ‘Tomorrow and
tomorrow and tomorrow’” (p. 97). “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” is of
course a line from Macbeth’s famous speech (one of my favorite speeches in all
of Shakespeare’s plays). MacDonald has McGee continue: “‘Tomorrow and tomorrow
and tomorrow. Words of one of the poets, Albert. I made a great deal of money
this month. A vulgar quantity’” (p. 98). He uses the phrase a few more times. “‘My
associates are eaten by envy. My dear wife will smile upon me. Tomorrow and
tomorrow and tomorrow, Albert. In one of those tomorrows, I shall pry loose
another plum from the tree of life. But will it be meaningful?’” (p. 98). I
particularly like the line’s use in that paragraph, as it plays a bit more with
the speech’s meaning. After all, the speech begins when Macbeth learns that his
wife has died. So McGee saying “My dear wife will smile upon me” has a bit of
humor to it. The speech ends with the line “Signifying nothing,” and so McGee’s
question about whether it will be meaningful is also a playful nod. And perhaps
McGee wouldn’t have added those playful touches if the server, Albert, had
caught the Macbeth reference when he
first uttered the line “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.” He plays again
with the word “meaning” a moment later: “‘That is what happens to evenings.
They all blur, merge, become meaningless. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.
Albert, I know you have understanding” (p. 98). Then, a little later, the tone
of the conversation changes, and Albert delivers a speech to McGee, ending it
with “You following me?” McGee responds, “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow”
(p. 101). Then, McGee says he hopes they can pursue these matters later.
MacDonald writes: “With an egg-sucking grin Albert said, ‘Tomorrow and tomorrow
and tomorrow, sir?’” (p. 101).