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Yes, Billy strikes again!

Posted by Bruce Kahl on February 24, 2000

In Reply to: Maybe Shakespeare? posted by Mary on February 24, 2000

: I'm interested in knowing the origin for a phrase I read in a Robertson Davies book. He wrote of a character whose sloppily applied lipstick made her look as though "she had eaten of that insane fruit which takes the reason prisoner." It's such a wonderful phrase. Any idea where it's from? It sounds Shakespearean, but from which play?

Insane Root (The). Hemlock. It is said that those who eat hemlock can see subjective things as objects. Thus, when Banquo had encountered the witches, who vanished as mysteriously as they appeared, he said to Macbeth, "Were such things [really ] here, ... or have we eaten the insane root, that takes the reason prisoner," so that our eyes see things that are not. (Macbeth, i. 3.