Introduction: Lady Macbeth in the White House PART I: ORIGINS From Shakespeare's Stage to Puritan Witch Hunts Professional Actors Arrive in America: Bringing New Script and School of Acting How Plays Inspired Washington (but Haunted the Adamses) A 'Harlot's' Progress to Performing Lady Macbeth PART II: REVOLUTION Socializing with (and Spying on) Ben Franklin in Paris Charlotte Melmoth and John Kemble in Ireland Abigail Adams in Paris and London, from Ducis's Lady Macbeth to Siddons's Fomenting National Pride and Riot in the Irish Theatre Celebrating the French Revolution with United Irishmen Irish Actress Becomes an American Citizen Alien and Sedition Acts: A 'Season of Witches' A 'Harlot's' Progress to Brooklyn PART III: CIVIL WAR America's Native Born Lady Macbeth Witches' 'Battle Cry of the Republic' in the Astor Place Riots Southern Abolitionist First Lady in the White House Performing Lady Macbeth for Charity: Cushman to John Wilkes Booth Lincoln as Macbeth and then Duncan; His 'Partner of Greatness' as Mad Sleepwalker PART IV: WORLD WARS 'The Serpent Within' and 'Innocent Flower': Sarah Bernhardt and Ellen Terry The Making of 'Mrs. President' in World War One G.I. Lady Macbeth and World War Two Witch Hunts Return The Evil Vampire
Lady Macbeth has haunted American history since the conflicts of Shakespeare s England spilled over into New England s real witch hunts. To reveal how Lady Macbeth entered American politics as an icon for the First Lady, this investigation focuses on the prominent actresses in the role, how they performed, and their effect on audiences anxious about the country s First Lady and her influence over the President - especially at times of war. Smith ably shows how the various Lady Macbeths have both reflected and shaped the image their contemporaries have of the ambitious political wife, producing parallels that converge dramatically in twentieth-century "witch hunts."