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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: June ::
Rs: Re: Duncan
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 381.  Wednesday, 23 June 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Nina Walker <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 22 Jun 93 11:11:19 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0376  R: Another Re: Duncan
 
(2)     From:   Kay Stockholder <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 22 Jun 93 11:39:44 PDT
        Subj:   SHK 4.0376  R: Another Re: Duncan
 
(3)     From:   William Godshalk 
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        Date:   Tuesday, 22 Jun 1993 23:13:57 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0376  R: Another Re: Duncan
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nina Walker <
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Date:           Tuesday, 22 Jun 93 11:11:19 EDT
Subject: 4.0376  R: Another Re: Duncan
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0376  R: Another Re: Duncan
 
In answer to John Drakakis' query about what Banquo's threatening
thoughts "in repose" might be, let me offer a guess. "Vaulting
ambition"-- something we all may struggle with. Most of us tame those
demons (and Banquo is certainly more like most of us than Macbeth) but
who of us haven't given thought 'naturally' to achieving power through
some evil short cut?  We all have ambition and we all struggle with
'means and ends' questions. The stakes for Banquo, however, are pretty
high. God knows I'd certainly be tempted. Nonetheless, there's always a
Macbeth in the wings whose reason gives way to the temptation of
achieving power in one giant leap, always leaving behind the corpses of
those in the way -- literally or figuratively.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kay Stockholder <
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Date:           Tuesday, 22 Jun 93 11:39:44 PDT
Subject: R: Another Re: Duncan
Comment:        SHK 4.0376  R: Another Re: Duncan
 
Perhaps Macduff left his family behind so that Macbeth could kill them, and
thereby express the familial depths of destructiveness associated with
unwarranted aspiration.
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Godshalk 
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Date:           Tuesday, 22 Jun 1993 23:13:57 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 4.0376  R: Another Re: Duncan
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0376  R: Another Re: Duncan
 
I want to thank Dr. Drakakis for his diagnosis of my critical disease,
characteritis. He further hints that I have done some "unbridled chewing on the
insane root." (Well, call me horse!) Actually, it was juniper berries, I
confess.
 
Drakakis tells us that Malcolm "has done nothing evil himself." In fact, what
he means is that the audience does not see Malcolm doing an evil act - what
ever that might be. But then the audience does not SEE Macbeth kill Duncan,
though most members of the audience assume that he has. So, what Drakakis calls
"an important point" is really AN IMPORTANT ASSUMPTION. Any audience member is
free not to make that assumption. Why should I assume that Malcolm's confession
at the beginning of 4.3 is false, while his recantation (4.3.115ff, Oxford
text) is true? Sure, he's testing Macduff - agreed, but where does the truth
lie?
 
What have I written to convince Drakakis that I believe Macduff's "feelings"
(4.3.204-37) to be a complete sham? Even opportunists have feelings, perhaps
deep feelings, for ought I know. Witness Bolingbroke parting with Gaunt - or
Bolingbroke mourning over his dead cousin. Ah, the fruitful river of the eye,
the dejected haviour of the visage, together with all forms, moods, shows of
grief. Might a man play these actions? Might a man who "wants the natural
touch" (4.2.9) not sham a feeling that he does not have?
 
As for my speculations about the potential of multiple murderers of Duncan, I
admit that I was "playing" a la Thurber. But once you've drunk of the insane
juniper berry, you can hardly restrain yourself - or, so I've found.
 
Drakakis gives Banquo's "thoughts" (2.1.8) a merciful reading, and goes on,
apparently, to suggest that Banquo "represses" his knowledge of Macbeth during
"his waking hours." Nevertheless, Banquo is wide awake at the beginning of Act
3, where he voices his suspicions of Macbeth and his own ambitions. If he
suspects Macbeth of murder, why does he present himself as Macbeth's loyal
courtier? My answer is because he's been coopted by Macbeth (2.1.21-28).
Macbeth carefully makes his bid, and Banquo accepts it.
 
But what really interests me in Drakakis' response to my cynical meanderings
is: "Macduff's absence from his family is symptomatic of something much larger
in the play." From his present comments, I'm not sure what that something
larger is, but I would like to know.
 
Soberly yours, Bill Godshalk
 

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