Lady Macbeth

Lady Macbeth


Susan King

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Father Anselm Character Analysis

A priest at Abernethy. Although he and Bodhe get along, he and Gruadh do not. Father Anselm is a conservative Catholic priest, and doesn’t believe women need an extensive education, even as he is tasked with educating Gruadh. Similarly, he disapproves of her learning how to use a sword, as, in his eyes, it is unladylike and goes against the church.

Father Anselm Quotes in Lady Macbeth

The Lady Macbeth quotes below are all either spoken by Father Anselm or refer to Father Anselm . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
History, Memory, and Storytelling  Theme Icon
Chapter 2 Quotes

Our priest baptized the child to protect her soul, and the midwives bathed her in warm milk and lifted her in their hands as they spoke charms against all manner of ills: fire, drowning, illness and injury, fairies, bewitchings, elf bolts, all conceivable harms. Bodhe named his new daughter Brigid to further protect her. Yet within days, Ailsa and tiny Brigid were buried together on a hill overlooking the sea, and I, who heard equally the catechism and the Celtic tales, wondered if their souls would travel to heaven or Tír na n’Óg, the paradise beyond Ireland in the misty realm, which our bard spoke about. […]

“Ailsa of Argyll is dead,” [Father Anselm] said bluntly, stopping, “and her soul needs our prayers, not trinkets, so that she may be forgiven by the grace of God. Perhaps she need only spend a little time in purgatory before her soul is purified of sin.”

“My mother will go straight to heaven on the strength of her character,” I said. “Though she might prefer Tír na n’Óg, where she would not be judged.”

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Father Anselm (speaker), Bodhe , Ailsa , Brigid
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:
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Father Anselm Character Timeline in Lady Macbeth

The timeline below shows where the character Father Anselm appears in Lady Macbeth. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Back in Fife, Bodhe has hired an Anglo-Saxon priest, Father Anselm . Gruadh suspects that Bodhe has begun to think “more closely about souls and their... (full context)
Chapter 2
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
...charms—crystals, Ailsa’s needles and embroidery, and a small doll for Brigid—to leave with the bodies. Father Anselm disapproves, and suggests that Ailsa may not go to heaven because “she practiced pagan arts... (full context)
Chapter 3
History, Memory, and Storytelling  Theme Icon
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon run a household. She and her friend Drostan learn reading, numbers, and history from Father Anselm . Father Anselm doesn’t think girls need a through education, but Bodhe insists it is... (full context)
Chapter 18 
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
Gruadh must take care of loose ends at Abernethy. She allows Father Anselm to stay, because although she never got along with him, Bodhe did. Father Anselm is... (full context)
Chapter 19 
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...that winter Elgin gets a new priest, who Gruadh likes more than she ever liked Father Anselm . He tells her that “your wish for vengeance is sinful” but “understandable,” and hopes... (full context)