UNSEAMING IN SHAKESPEARE. Professor Biberman gives the example of the word “unseamed” in Macbeth, in the phrase “he unseamed him from the nave to th’ chops.” This is the only appearance of the word “unseamed” in Shakespeare. We saw a very good performance of Macbeth over the weekend at Curtain Call, and the phrase struck me then. as it always does. I did not know what Professor Biberman adds: “Shakespeare’s audience was familiar with the notion that men are made of guts, OR SEAM [my emphasis].” “Nave to th’ chaps” was graphic enough.

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  1. Trent says:

    Seam still refers to the sewing seam. I discussed this with Professor Biberman himself. It was actually the use of the word baste from another writing of Shakespeare that led him to initially think that seam related to viscera. Actually, there is a second definition to the word baste. Which means to sew loosely. When applied to both MacBeth and TC, the sewing analogy is logical.

    TC is Troilus and Cressida, II, iii, 183 ff:

    Shall the proud lord, That bastes his arrogance with his own seam,
    And never suffers matter of the world
    Enter his thoughts, save such as do revolve
    And ruminate himself – shall he be worshipped
    Of that we hold an idol more than he?

  2. Pingback: SEAMS AND SEWING (COMMENT). | Pater Familias

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