Here are the introductory paragraphs a fab article penned by Linda Hirschman for Slate magazine. Link to entire article at bottom of post.
Attacks on a “hysterical” Hillary Clinton have a long literary pedigree.
I wonder whether the SAT still includes those questions about which object does not fit into the larger group. Here’s mine:
1. Lucia di Lammermoor
2. Lady Macbeth
3. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton
4. Fraulein Bertha Pappenheim (“Anna O.”)
Lucia, the heroine of Sir Walter Scott’s novel The Bride of Lammermoor and, more recently, of Gaetano Donizetti’s eponymous opera, is forced to marry her brother’s ally rather than her true love, loses her mind, stabs the groom to death on their wedding night, and—after some impressive vocal pyrotechnics in her bloodstained wedding dress (the opera’s mad scene)—dies.
Lady Macbeth, of Shakespeare’s play and, more recently, Giuseppe Verdi’s opera, is married to an aristocratic, but not royal, husband; eggs him on to kill the king and various other superdelegates; loses her mind; and—after some impressive vocal pyrotechnics (the opera’s sleepwalking scene)—dies.
Bertha Pappenheim, the “Anna O.” of Sigmund Freud and Josef Breuer’s studies on hysteria, developed paralysis, lapses of consciousness, and hallucinations, but, after a so-called talking cure with Breuer, recovered sufficiently to die (operatically in form, if not in fact) of tuberculosis.
Then there is Sen. Hillary Clinton, whose husband’s antics probably would have driven Mother Theresa to homicidal ideation and who has been repudiated on an almost daily basis by people she has personally and politically supported for years. She travels from rally to rally, delivering boring, but worthy, addresses to the assembled multitudes and finds herself—against all odds, since the first recorded contest—approaching, if not securing, the nomination to run for the highest office in the United States.
And yet the media keep trying to paint her as a hysteric. Here’s the cover of this fortnight’s New Republic. Category mistake? From all those brilliant young Harvard guys at the New Republic?
Clearly, something else is afoot.